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If you thought that pancakes were typically Dutch, then you’d be wrong. Pancakes actually originated in several different countries and cultures many years ago, albeit they were prepared using different ingredients than the pancakes we now know and love. These days you can enjoy pancakes almost anywhere in the world, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and tempting flavours. Yet for many, the Dutch pancake still remains the most delicious – you can read more about the history of Dutch pancakes and what makes them so special below.
Pancakes during the prehistoric age, Roman times and beyond
Historians suspect that pancakes were not invented by any one person or civilisation, but rather evolved independently in various countries. The first pancakes were not made from pancake batter at all – instead they were prepared from an intriguing mix of dried seeds, flowers, milk and eggs, which was then baked over hot stones. There is evidence that people were baking pancakes as long ago as prehistoric times, and the Romans were certainly extremely fond of this delicacy. Indeed, the Romans not only enjoyed sweet pancakes made from a batter of milk, eggs and flour, buckwheat, corn flour or potatoes and often containing added fruit and honey, but also a range of savoury pancakes made from cheese and meat. During the Middle Ages pancakes were increasingly eaten on special occasions, such as immediately before the start of Lent in the run up to Easter.
And it is thought that Dutch emigrants introduced their buckwheat pancake to America. Initially, this type of pancake was known as the “hoecake” in reference to the flat ladle on which it was baked, however this soon evolved to ‘pancake’. The pancake was not, however, entirely new to America – in fact the original inhabitants of the American continent had been baking their own version of the pancake, which was called the “nohekick” and made from cornmeal and other local ingredients, for centuries.
What makes the Dutch pancake so special?
Today you’ll find pancakes all over the world, from pfannkuchen in Germany, crêpes in France to okonomiyaki in Japan, yet most Dutch citizens and Dutch emigrants insist that their Dutch pancakes really are the best. Maybe it’s because of the specific ingredients, the way they’re prepared or the typical Dutch toppings, such as pouring syrup and icing sugar, that Dutch pancakes are served with. If you’re fortunate enough to live in the Netherlands, you can sample the most mouth-watering Dutch pancakes in traditional Dutch pancake restaurants. Alternatively you can have a go at preparing them yourself! You can shop online for all of the ingredients required to rustle up authentic Dutch pancakes in a jiffy, including pancake mix, pouring syrup and icing sugar, from Holland at Home. All that’s left for you to do is prepare your Dutch pancakes and enjoy!
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?