Cloth $19.00 ISBN: 9781861893925 Published October 2008 For sale in North and South America only
An e-book edition will be published.


A Global History

Ken Albala

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Ken Albala

Distributed for Reaktion Books

128 pages | 25 color plates, 25 halftones | 4 3/4 x 7 3/4 | © 2008
Cloth $19.00 ISBN: 9781861893925 Published October 2008 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $15.95 ISBN: 9781780232379 Published June 2013
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 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 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 travelers, a celebratory dish, and a breakfast meal. The book also features a number of historic and modern recipes—tracing the first official pancake recipe to a sixteenth-century Dutch cook—and is accompanied by a rich selection of illustrations.

Pancake is a witty and erudite history of a well-known favorite and will ensure that the pancake will never be flattened under the shadow of better known foods.
Introduction:  What is a Pancake?
1  Comfort Food
2  Celebration
3  Street Food
4  Working-class Food
5  Fine Dining
Select Bibliography
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements
Review Quotes
Ken Hom, chef and author
"The Edible series contains some of the most delicious nuggets of food and drink history ever. Every volume is such a fascinating and succinct read that I had to devour each in just a single sitting. . . . food writing at its best!"
Robert Sietsema, restaurant critic for the Village Voice
"Books in Reaktion’s Edible series are paragons of their type; concise and flavorful, jammed with interesting facts, period photos and just a handful of recipes, in case you want to ’do it yourself.’ I recommend these books to foodies and academics alike."
Laura Penny | Globe and Mail
"The book is a lark, because Albala has fun taking pancakes very seriously, opening with a persnickety intro disqualifying all sorts of flattish rounds from pancake-hood. He offers exacting instructions about pancake preparation, and holds forth on crepes, latkes, Ethiopian injera, Mediterranean socca, Thai puk moh and North American pancakes in diner, IHOP, frozen, mix, and home-made form."

“Albala perfectly marries [his] occupational penchant for facts with an innate literary style. His personal musings on the definition of the pancake often mirror a one-man, Socratic approach to problem-solving. Though the questions are posed internally, Albala is able to intelligently convey the results of his reflections to his audience, and the reader instantly becomes a willing party to the author’s pursuit of the elusive pancake. . . . Albala’s authorial voice and style is refreshingly consistent with his batter-born object of desire--light, sweet and immensely satisfying."

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