Today’s food holiday is flat out delicious. September 26 is National Pancake Day!
We knew when embarking upon this pursuit that there were sure to be some challenges coming our way, commitments that might make completing the challenge tricky or difficult. You know, like camping trips and weddings and stuff. What I didn’t foresee was a three-day work symposium that would have me out of the house some 17 hours a day. Fortunately, the timing works out in my favor: the three food holidays we’re celebrating during this stretch – pancakes, chocolate milk, and beer – require little prep and are easy to consume on the go. Whew! Had roast leg of lamb or escargot or baked alaska landed somewhere in here, we’d be in trouble. (Tara and I also have a weekend trip to Denver planned in a month, but again, it looks like we’ll be able to handle those challenges easily from a few states away).
There is some debate over exactly when National Pancake Day lands. IHOP created its own National Pancake Day on February 5, advertising it heavily and offering free pancakes that day, but they went outside of the system and didn’t bother to get their day “officially” recognized, so we never believed that counted (February 5 was National Chocolate Fondue Day on our calendar). Pancakes are also popularly consumed on Shrove Tuesday, which is the day before Lent, a floating holiday every year. Not a big deal, since we knew we’d have the opportunity to celebrate pancakes later on in the year. Later on is now.
The ancient Greeks made the first pancakes, known as τηγανίτης. If that’s too tricky for you to pronounce, it’s simply the Greek word for “frying pan.” These “tagenites” were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk (yum!) and date back to at least the 5th century B.C. The word “pancake” first appeared in the 1400s. There are many regional variations of this flat breakfast dish including crepes, blinis, latkes, and Dutch babies. They were an important food source in Colonial America, where residents enjoyed “Indian cakes” and Johnnycakes. They are also known as hotcakes, griddle cakes, and flapjacks. Aunt Jemima introduced the first boxed pancake mix in 1889; its ease of use and convenience helped pancakes become a staple of American breakfasts in the 20th century.
To celebrate, Tara made pancakes this morning. What a perfect stack – they turned out to be some of the best I’ve ever had!