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Pancake: A Global History (The Edible Series)

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  37 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Round, thin, and made of starchy batter cooked on a flat surface, it is a food that goes by many names: flapjack, crêpe, and okonomiyaki, to name just a few. The pancake 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 culin
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Reaktion Books
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Ann Costello
Nov 10, 2008 Ann Costello rated it really liked it
Little, eccentric book. But I enjoyed it.
Feb 17, 2014 Orsolya rated it liked it
Shelves: exposes, library-2, food
Pancakes may quite possibly be the quintessential American breakfast food. However, these ‘cakes’ are not reserved for the United States and form a family of both sweet and savory versions world-wide. Reaktion Books adds to their ‘Edible Series’ by exploring pancakes and crepes in, “Pancake: A Global History” by Ken Albala.

“Pancake” is organized into a somewhat more coordinated and unique format than some of the other ‘Edible Series’ books by beginning with an introduction into what pancakes ar
Andrea James
Jan 18, 2016 Andrea James rated it liked it
I picked up* this book after coming across the author on The Great Courses (really interesting course on culinary history).

*I still use this phrase even though it's been ages since I've literally picked up a book from physical bookshop or library

So the book begins with the line "A pancake is a start-based comestible..."

"A what? Comestible?"

I thought, "Oh no! I'm in for a book that uses big words in the hope of sounding more intelligent. Ugh!" (I don't think the book had the type of humour that
Mar 22, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it
Ken Albala does an excellent job of presenting information about the consumers' relationship to this fine food. The images and intellectual humor woven within are a delight!
Desiree Koh
May 11, 2010 Desiree Koh rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all food lovers, particularly pancake pippins.
Recommended to Desiree by: Brian Peiritsch
Shelves: chow
I have always made the following statement with plenty of aplomb: “One day, I am going to write a book about pancakes from all over the world.” Because, think about it. While many similar types of food manifest themselves in various forms all over the world (the Mexican tamale and the Chinese glutinous rice dumpling, the Japanese gyoza and the Polish pierogi, the Latin American empanada and the Malay curry puff), there is only one that is literally present in every continent and almost every cou ...more
Jul 13, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it
Every thing you wanted to know about pancakes but were afraid to ask plus a bit more, such as, why some panned cakes are pan cakes and some are not, where are the home countries to the world's most exotic pancakes and recipes for the common and exotic ones. The book is a short stack but a sweet one.
Margaret Sankey
Sep 25, 2012 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
Another winner from the Reaktion series--after establishing the parameters of a pancake: batter with some kind of leavener (baking powder, fermentation, yeast) cooked on a flat hot surface, Albala traces them through centuries of cookbooks, as Lenten fare, economical food for the poor, high-class blinis and caviar, in the etiquette of Ethiopian eating customs, the franchising of IHOP and as the basis of many variations of delicious, portable street food.
Rebecca Mcgraw
Nov 06, 2014 Rebecca Mcgraw rated it really liked it
It's good. Worth reading.
Aug 28, 2013 Lynda rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly my favorite book in the series *so far*. Set up pretty much with the same structure and scope as the rest of the books I've read,the writing is much better. I will try every recipe in this book. I am really looking forward to it.
Dec 02, 2009 Terry rated it it was ok
100-page essay to publisher specifications doesn't make for the best writing, but there are some interesting recipes, especially for some of the Asian pancakes.
Megan C
Oct 01, 2009 Megan C rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I can't get pancakes out of my head now. It seems like its been a long time since I had one...
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Ken Albala, Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA and Director of Food Studies in San Francisco, is the author or editor of 22 books on food. These include academic monographs, cookbooks, reference works and translations. He is also series editor of Rowman and Littlefield Studies in Food and Gastronomy.
More about Ken Albala...

Other Books in the Series

The Edible Series (1 - 10 of 64 books)
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  • Banana: A Global History
  • Barbecue: A Global History (Edible)
  • Beef: A Global History
  • Beer: A Global History
  • Brandy: A Global History (Edible)
  • Bread: A Global History
  • Cake:  A Global History
  • Caviar: A Global History
  • Champagne: A Global History

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“Pancakes taste best consumed in periods of sloth on protracted weekend mornings.” 8 likes
“Johnny Cake or hoe cake is baked, and thus more closely resembles cornbread. . . . The name, it has been claimed, probably erroneously, is a corruption of 'Shawnee Cake' -- presumably having been taught to the colonists by Native Americans. In fact another name for these is corn pone, the latter word indeed coming directly from Algonkian. Others speculate that Johnny is a corruption of the word jonakin, the meaning of which is unknown, or Journey Cake -- either because it can be carried on long journeys, which seems unlikely, or because it can be cooked en route.” 1 likes
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