21 Flat-out Amazing Facts About Pancakes!
Do you flip 'em or flop 'em? Whatever your style, we bet there's a lot you didn't know about our favourite, flattest food!
Chances are you're on this page because you're interested in pancakes or you're looking for something to do while pancakes are being prepared on Pancake Day (or 'Shrove Tuesday').
Pancake Day – a Christian festival known as Shrove Tuesday – dates back to the 16th century. It takes place the day before Ash Wednesday and signals the start of Lent.
Lent is a period of 40 days which symbolises the time Jesus fasted in the desert. While people don't fast, they give up something they enjoy to recognise this. The tradition of eating pancakes on this day began as a way to use up specific ingredients like as eggs, sugar, and butter, which were traditionally avoided during this 40-day period.
Are you a pancake expert or something of a casual fan? Either way, there's something for everyone in these 21 facts. Read on!
1. You can thank the Romans for pancakes!
The first pancakes were invented by the Romans - almost 2000 years ago. They were called Alita Dolcia, which means 'another sweet' in Latin.
2. Shakespeare mentioned pancakes in his plays!
William Shakespeare must have been a fan of pancakes, as he gives them a shout out in not one but two of his plays: All's Well That Ends Well and As You Like It.
3. Chefs used to use snow in their pancakes!
A long, long time ago – there are recipe books from the 19th century – chefs would add some real snow to their pancake batter mix to give them a bit of a boost in the fluffiness stakes. We're not sure why, but we reckon it had something to do with science and undeniable culinary flair!
4. An ice mummy was found with a pancake!
In September 1991, a group of German hikers discovered an ice mummy in the Ötztal Alps, which is somewhere between Austria and Italy. Named Otzi the Iceman (who was estimated to have lived around over 5000 years ago), was found with traces of food which suggested they were enjoying a primitive type of pancake!
5. The tallest stack of pancakes was over a metre high!
According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest pancake tower measured at 101.8cm and was built in 2016 at the Center Parcs Sherwood Forest resort in Newark. James Haywood and Dave Nicholls used 213 pancakes to create this record-breaking stack!
6. The saying 'flat as a pancake' has been around for ages!
The Oxford English Dictionary says that this idiom has been in use since the early 1600s. We wonder what inspired the first people to say that. Tyres weren't invented for another couple of hundred years, so who knows? Maybe they were talking about a tortilla or a snooker table surface.
7. The UK uses so much milk every Pancake Day!
In Britain, we use enough milk to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday that would fill 93 Olympic-size swimming pools! Anyone fancy a swim?
8. The highest pancake flip was over 3 metres high!
Do you like to toss your pancakes? Well, the highest ever flip was a whopping 329cm high - and that would take some serious beating! The record was set by Mike 'The Pancake Man' Cuzzacrea in New York in 2010. He also has another pancake-related record under his belt... but you'll have to find out at the end what it was!
9. Potato pancakes are served during Hanukkah!
Potato pancakes – also called latkes – are traditionally served during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. The oil used to fry them symbolise the oil of the menorah – meaning lamp – which stayed alight for 8 days, when there was just enough to illuminate the Second Temple of Jerusalem for 24 hours.
10. The biggest pancake weighed 3 tons!
The world’s biggest ever pancake measured 15 metres and weighed an amazing 3 tonnes. You’d need to be very, very hungry to eat that!
11. The record for pancake eating stands at 73 in 1 hour!
Andrei Smirnov from Russia holds the record for eating the most pancakes. He managed to munch his way through 73 pancakes in just one hour! Thinking about it, we're pretty full after a couple.
12. The record for the most pancakes served is 14,280!
The Guinness World Record for the most pancakes served in 8 hours is 14,280! The amazing feat took place at Pancake Day Centerville in Centerville, Iowa, on 25 September 2021. That's a lot of eggs and we dread to think who had to do the washing up.
13. The most expensive pancake will cost you about £800!
The most expensive pancake in the world would cost you more around £800, mainly because it’s made with caviar, lobster and even more caviar - but that just doesn’t sound very tasty to us.
14. There's an English town that hosts a pancake race!
If you think eating pancakes is unhealthy, then why not enter a pancake race? In fact, the UK town if Olney has been holding a pancake race for over 500 years, so it's never to late to join the fun.
15. In Sweden, there's a particularly gross pancake!
In Sweden, they serve a pancake called blodplättar and it's made with pig blood! Think we’ll stick to sugar and lemon, thank you all the same!
16. On average, the UK eats 2 pancakes per person on Pancake Day!
If the population is about 67 million people, that means collectively, the UK munches its way through 134 million pancakes every Shrove Tuesday! It's not our turn to wash up. Did it last year, sorry.
17. About 2% of Americans HATE pancakes!
In a survey conducted with 1000 Americans, 20 people said not only did they dislike pancakes, but they actually hated them. A quarter of those interviewed revealed they ate them every week.
18. Pancake Day is always 47 days before Easter!
Pancake Day – or Shrove Tuesday – is the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. That's a 40-day period where people give up a specific type of treat or something they have regularly to recognise the period of time Jesus fasted in the desert. So no matter what day in February Pancake Day is, Easter will always be 47 days after that.
19. In the UK, we use 52 million eggs every Shrove Tuesday!
According to experts, that's 22 million eggs MORE than any other day. It makes you think about how many eggs are eaten in the UK every day. OK, some quick maths: that's ten billion nine hundred seventy-two million eggs every year. Just in the UK. Amazing work, hens!
20. The record for flipping pancakes stands at 140 in a minute!
Australian celebrity chef Brad Jolly proved himself to be an unbeatable force when it comes to flipping pancakes. He flipped a pancake 140 times in 1 minute in Sydney in 2012. That's once every 2.3 seconds!
21. A man ran a marathon while flipping a pancake!
Mike 'The Pancake Man' Cuzzacrea – him again! – completed a marathon in Buffalo, New York in 1999 while flipping a pancake. He completed the race at Niagara Falls in just over 3 hours and it's been worked out that he flipped a pancake every 1.8 seconds.