Round, thin and made of starchy batter cooked on a flat surface, the pancake is a food that goes by many names: crêpes, flapjacks and okonomiyaki, to name just a few. This treat is a treasured food the world over, and now Ken Albala unearths the surprisingly rich history of pancakes and their sizzling goodness.
Pancake traverses over centuries and civilizations to examine the culinary and cultural importance of pancakes in human history. From the Russian blini to the Ethiopian injera, Albala reveals how pancakes have been a perennial source of sustenance from the Greek and Roman eras to the Middle Ages through to the present day. He explores how the pancake has gained symbolic currency in diverse societies as a comfort food, a portable victual for travellers, a celebratory dish and a breakfast meal. This book also features a number of delicious historic and modern recipes – tracing the first official pancake recipe to a sixteenth-century book.
Pancake is a witty and erudite history of a well-known food favourite.
‘Albala . . . is coming to occupy the position of one of America’s few great food historians’ – Robert Appelbaum, Clio
‘Albala perfectly marries [his] occupational penchant for facts with an innate literary style. His personal musings on the definition of the pancake often mirror a one-man, Socratic approach to problem-solving. Though the questions are posed internally, Albala is able to intelligently convey the results of his reflections to his audience, and the reader instantly becomes a willing party to the author’s pursuit of the elusive pancake.’ – Eats.com
‘In his erudite and witty book Pancake, Albala details the history of the pancake from the first appearance of the work pancake in English in the 15th century, up to the creation of modern-day institutions like IHOP’ – CBC News
Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific, California. He is the author of many books, including Cooking in Europe: 1250-1650 (2006), The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe (2007), and Beans: A History (2007).