Where are pancakes from? People are typically proud of the fact that it comes from their homeland, and aggressive against any slant against what they know to be the truth, which they have known forever, for some reason. But the simple fact of the matter is that pancakes are from all over the place. Remember when they said that eventually a room of monkeys with typewriters would create Shakespeare? Well, pancakes came about as organic ideas all over the world, so in a list of the 5 tastiest, get ready to travel.
American Buttermilk Pancakes
This is the classic, as far as the United States is concerned. Buttermilk pancakes are every child’s favorite breakfast meal that their mothers prepare. Who knows how long buttermilk pancakes have been around, but for as long as that may be, they’ve been melting in mouths. Buttermilk pancakes are simple—flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, egg and milk. Nothing more. Sometimes moms throw in a dash of cinnamon to change things up. You can find good and bad buttermilk pancakes, but when you come across an old roadside diner somewhere in the American South, you’ll be sure that what has mounted your taste buds is among the best of cooked batters.
That’s right—the French version of the pancake is ‘crepe’. Crepes, like pancakes in Britain, are unleavened. This means that you can leave out the baking soda, up the liquid (milk or water), and turn up the heat. Crepes traditionally come from Celtic Brittany in the far northwestern corner of the country. Today, the crepe is not only a national French dish, but an international French dish as well. What’s great about crepes is that you can top them with anything. Not to be cliche, but my favorite has always been Nutella.
Don’t fret—most of us haven’t heard of this pancake. But once you try it, it’s not easy to forget. If you couldn’t pick up the linguistic hint in its name, Okonomiyaki is Japanese. It’s a pancake that originated in Osaka, and which unlike its Western cousins is not a sweet pancake. No—the Okonomiyaki is made of flour, yam, water, egg and cabbage. Cabbage and yam are of course the “strange” additions, but they’re also the reason that Okonomiyaki is not only distinct, but delectable. These pancakes are often served with seafood like shrimp and octopus; they’re called the “Japanese pizza”. One of the coolest things about the places where you find them in Japan is that often, these places are do-it- yourself establishments!
This writer is very biased, but the loveliness of the banana pancake cannot go un-praised. The banana pancake is a buttermilk pancake with a very ripe banana mashed into the batter. What this means for your tongue is magic. Banana pancakes are best served steaming, with melting squares of butter and maple syrup dripping from the sides.
The subcontinent is a culinary capital, and as such you can be sure to find a great variety of pancakes there as well. But the best pancakes are those of Southern India, the dosa can be called a crepe or a pancake depending on its thickness. It’s made of rice batter and black lentils, which easily makes it the most exotic pancake for Western palettes. The Indians eat dosa with chutney, pickles or the tamarind vegetable stew, sambar.
I could have dwelled on the glories of American pancakes, because they are many (blueberry pancakes, chocolate chip, little piggies in a blanket), but how fair would that be? The world is colorful and tasty, and these words ought to bring that fact into our imaginations!
Photograph Credits go out to