Pancake : A Global History, Hardback Book

Pancake : A Global History Hardback

Part of the Edible series

2 out of 5 (1 rating)


Round, thin and made of starchy batter cooked on a flat surface, the pancake is a food that goes by many names: crepes, 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.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Cookery / food & drink etc
  • ISBN: 9781861893925

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Not good. Thin history, lots of trivia and corny humor, strange editorial choices: brief but intriguing discussions of the initial social conservatism of pancake houses and of the racial and social implications of Aunt Jemima pancake mix, juxtaposed with the author's apparent consternation that Little Black Sambo was ever "deemed offensive" and a gratuitous photo of a bare-breasted woman by a cooking fire, captioned "A Native American woman cooking pancakes outdoors," with no further mention in the text. I didn't learn much about pancakes, and I didn't have much fun doing it.

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