20 Flipping Fantastic Facts About Pancakes
“Griddle cakes, pancakes, hot cakes, flapjacks: Why are there four names for grilled batter and only one word for love?” — George Carlin
We could not agree more. There is just something so comforting and wholesome about pancakes. They are delightful when enjoyed plain or with chocolate chips, blueberries, or pumpkin spice. The possibilities are truly endless for these fluffy fried creations. Kulick’s Pancake Recipes gathered 20 facts about pancakes here to celebrate our favorite breakfast food.
Here are the 20 pancake facts served up on this infographic:
1. Otzi the Iceman was found with evidence of pancakes cooked over an open fire.
It is believed that a prehistoric form of pancake was found with Otzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old glacial mummy found in a cave in the Ötztal Alps. Traces of charcoal he had eaten along with einkorn wheat grains suggest that it was in the form of a pancake cooked over coals.
2. In the UK and much of the Commonwealth, pancakes are eaten on “Shrove Tuesday,” commonly known as “Pancake Day.”
It occurs the day before Ash Wednesday, or the beginning of Lent. It’s a popular tradition for church bells to ring, calling for people to feast before the solemn season of Lent and begin frying pancakes.
3. The ancient Greeks made pancakes called τηγανίτης (tēganitēs).
The word is derived from τάγηνον (tagēnon), which translates to “frying pan.” The earliest references to these pancakes date back to the 5th century B.C.E., in the poetic works of Cratinus and Magnes. The pancakes were made of wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk.
4. Pancakes in Africa are called injera.
They are a yeast-leavened flatbread with a slightly spongy texture traditionally made from teff flour. They are a national dish of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
5. The world’s largest pancake was 49 feet wide and 1 inch thick and weighed 3 tons (as much as an African elephant)!
It was made in Rochdale, England, in 1994 by the Co-operative Union Ltd. To qualify for the record, it had to be flipped, which was achieved by cranes.
6. The tallest stack of pancakes of all time was 3 feet 4 inches high and made from 213 pancakes.
It was made in 2016 by Center Parcs Sherwood Forest in Newark, England.
7. The most people to flip pancakes at the same time is 890.
The University of Sheffield in the UK organized a huge crowd of people to flip pancakes simultaneously in 2012. There were 930 participants, but 40 were disqualified because they either dropped their pancake or couldn’t get it to flip over within the allotted time.
8. The fastest marathon run while flipping a pancake was 3 hours, 2 minutes, 27 seconds.
Dominic “Mike” Cuzzacrea achieved the record on Oct. 24, 1999, in Buffalo, New York, during the Casino Niagara International Marathon. He flipped the pancake with a frying pan every 1.8 seconds.
9. The highest pancake toss of all time is 31 feet 1 inch.
The same man to achieve the pancake-flipping marathon achieved the highest pancake flip on Nov. 13, 2010, in Cheektowaga, New York.
10. The most pancakes made in an hour was 1,127.
Erica Price achieved the record on April 17, 2016, in Tecumseh, Kansas. Her father, Steve Hamilton, held the record in 2006 and 2009 and encouraged her to try to break it.
11. The Japanese have created a soufflé-style pancake that is fluffy, jiggly, and sweet.
The pancakes are described as having a soft, cotton candy-like interior with a crispy outside. They often take a lot of practice to achieve.
12. The French celebrate La Chandeleur on Feb. 2, a religious holiday that involves plenty of crêpes.
It’s tradition to hold a coin in one hand while flipping a crêpe with the other. If the crêpe is flipped successfully in one attempt, it’s a good omen for financial stability within the family for the year.
13. The world record for most pancakes eaten in one sitting is 113 in 8 minutes.
Competitive eater Matt Stonie achieved the record on Aug. 30, 2016.
14. In Sweden, you can order blödplatter, or pancakes made out of pork blood.
They are made from whipped blood, eggs, water or beer, and flour. Lingonberry jam is a popular topping.
15. Before baking soda was invented, chefs used snow to make their pancakes fluffy.
Small amounts of naturally occurring ammonia in fresh snow can act as a rising agent. You can try it yourself during the next snowfall!
16. Pancake flour was the first ready-mix food available for purchase.
Aunt Jemima’s pancake flour was invented in 1889 in St. Joseph, Missouri, making it the first ready-mix food available commercially. It was not popular at first.
17. The world’s most expensive pancake is served for $1,350 at Opus One in Manchester, England.
It’s made with lavish ingredients such as Scottish lobster, beluga caviar, truffles, and Dom Perignon Rosé hollandaise sauce.
18. When McDonald’s launched the McGriddle sandwich, which uses mini pancakes as a bun, their profits increased 12% that year.
19. The practice of pouring batter on a pan and frying it is common in almost every culture around the globe.
Koreans have kimchi-jeon, India has appam, Russia has oladyi, the Netherlands have pannenkoeken, Colombia and Venezuela have arepas, etc.
20. Pancakes did not always enjoy popularity and adoration.
In a 1935 issue of Vogue, it was said that “pancakes are frankly difficult and not worth eating at all unless they are of paper thinness and succulent tenderness.” How times have changed!
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This page was last updated by Bruce Kulick and Lisa Lane Kulick