The Full English Exposé teaches you more about the English speaking world, so you can be confident you know what you are doing, and you don’t do or say the wrong thing, and don’t get egg on your face.
This edition of the podcast we’re helping make sure you don’t get egg on your face, with the Full English Exposé, all about Pancakes.
These are not thin, flimsy, sugar-dusted triangles like the French ‘crepes’. Nope, across the Anglosphere, we like our pancakes thicker. In England we make them just a bit thicker, out of a ‘batter’ of flour, milk and eggs, and they’re big; each one taking up the whole frying pan (or, you can buy them here).
Americans and Canadians need a much thicker batter for their pancakes. The ingredients are similar, but they also add baking powder to make them puff up. If you don’t want to bother making the mixture yourself, you can just add water to a packet mixture from a supermarket (or, you can buy them, ready-made, here). Either way, the result is that their pancakes are small, and fat, with several cooking in a pan at the same time.
You might think turning the pancake over to cook the other side is simple, and safely done with a spatula…but it does not have to be. In England, the daring don’t just ‘turn’ their pancakes, they ‘toss’ them: throw them right out of the pan so they flip over before being caught. We like doing this so much that we do races where we run up a track, flipping pancakes as we go. Obviously, we don’t do this for all our races (it’s not an Olympic sport or anything), we reserve pancake races for pancake day, ‘Shrove Tuesday’ (Mardi Gras), which falls in February or March, and is our national day for celebrating this simple creation and which, for many Christians, marks the start of ‘Lent’ – a period of fasting.
I’ve not come across people racing with Scotch pancakes, which I presume are hard to toss as they’re small and fat, but then it doesn’t matter if you can’t race with them as they’re already very special. You don’t need to put much on them, just a dab of butter – nothing more, as they’re already quite tasty.
The English ones don’t taste of much, so we add a topping. Traditionally lemon and sugar is popular, as is a big dollop of golden syrup, or you can go posh and have melted chocolate. North American pancakes have the most exciting toppings: blueberries, or any soft fruit, with maple syrup is traditional, but I’ve seen them drizzled in caramel sauce, and even chocolate chips and cream. Another perk of American pancakes is that they can be savoury, from something lighter like nuts and yoghurt, to peanut butter, or bacon, avocado and cream cheese. And, they come in a stack, which always looks impressive. Of course, the higher the stack, the better. Whereas in England, we don’t stack, we take our big pancakes and roll them up into a tube, and then eat them with a fork, with help from a knife for those of us who have the best table manners.
The English tend to eat their pancakes for dessert after the evening meal. North American style pancakes make for a very popular breakfast. So, give pancakes a try, you won’t be disappointed; there are enough options for everyone to find something they like.