Glancing at the calendar, I realized that this coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent in the Western Christian Church and you know what that means?! Tuesday is “Pancake Tuesday” in our house!
In Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia, pancakes are traditionally eaten on “Shrove Tuesday”, which is also known as “Pancake Day” and, particularly in Ireland and Scotland, as “Pancake Tuesday”. Shrove Tuesday is better known in the United States, France and other countries as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.
My mother was from Ireland, so we always had pancakes on Pancake Tuesday. She explained to us that, historically, pancakes were made on Shrove Tuesday so that the last of the eggs, milk and sugar could be used up before fasting began at the start of Lent.
As I got older, I was curious about the history of pancakes – you know, where did they come from? How long have they been around? Et cetera. Well, here is some pancake trivia:
_ Archaeological evidence suggests that pancakes are probably the earliest and most widespread cereal food eaten in prehistoric societies …
_ The Oxford English Dictionary records the word “flapjack” as being used as early as the beginning of the 17th Century, referring to a flat tart or pan-cake …
_ Shakespeare refers to pancakes in All’s Well That Ends Well which was written sometime between 1604 and 1605
_ The terms pancake and flapjack are often confused and today in the US are nearly synonymous: a flapjack is a small thin pancake, both are often served in a stack with maple syrup and butter, which is usually accompanied by bacon or sausage.
And then there are Hoe Cakes …
Originally, Native Americans cooked these on hot rocks in an open fire. They were commonly referred to as Ash Cakes. Later on, settlers from Europe adopted the recipe, cooking the cakes on the blades of their hoes in the fireplace. This is where they get the name, “Hoe Cakes”. The main ingredients in these tasty “pancakes” are cornmeal and buttermilk. Hoe Cakes can be used in place of pancakes with maple syrup or molasses, or they can be used as accompaniment to main meals, when you want a hot bread.
At Charred Oaks Inn B&B, located in Versailles, Kentucky near Lexington and Frankfort, breakfast is served daily from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. in our bright and cheerful dining room on fine china, with fresh flowers, candlelight, and soft music; delivered to your room or, weather permitting, outside on the terrace. Breakfast is made from scratch using the freshest and finest ingredients Kentucky has to offer. Our signature “pancake” dish is the Charred Oaks Inn Traditional Kentucky Hoe Cakes infused with a splash of good Kentucky bourbon. Click here for the recipe.