Saturday, 21 January 2012

What's in a Name?

My youngest brother and his wife have had an ongoing disagreement for many, many years.  It's really quite funny to watch this conversation in action.  It's one of those silly things that is all about the terminology we use to describe things and how the cultural aspect of different countries impact on the terminology use.  Especially in a country like Australia where there are so many cultures that stive to coexist harmoniously.

Yes - they disagree about pancakes.  And crepes.  And flapjacks.  A pikelet is the only variation they do agree on!  So here we go - the definitions according to my research of wikipedia and the web.

Pancake:  According to Wikipedia, a pancake is a thin, flat, round cake.  It is made from a batter and cooked on a griddle or frypan.  It seems that in the US pancakes are thicker and fluffier than how I would expect a traditional Aussie pancake to be.  Having lived overseas, I was introduced to the US version early in life and that's what I prefer.  My Mum's acquired 'American Pancake' recipe is the only one I use.

photo:  wikipedia

Crepes:  These are a very thin pancake, commonly associated with France.  Scandinavia have something very similar - of course they have their own word for them.

Flapjacks:  Here's where things get sticky.  A flapjack is basically just another word for pancake, used in America.  They also use the term hot cakes and griddle cakes.  It all means the same thing: what we know as pancake.  I know someone is going to be disappointed here - I can't remember whether it's my brother or his wife! In my wanderings I also discovered that in the UK flapjacks are something else altogether!  Over there flapjacks are more like what I would call a muesli bar.

There you have it.  Lots of different names for something that is very similar but just different enough to cause dissention in a home!

A pancake story:  When I was young and living overseas we had a Sunday tradition of having homemade (there was no other option where I lived) pizza on the beach for lunch with many of the other missionary families in our town.  We almost always had pancakes for dinner before heading off for church.  The English service was in the evening, so we had plenty of time to get ourselves organised for lunch and an afternoon of swimming.  And guess what?  It was in a very short space of time that I took on much of the responsibility for these meals.  I guess that's how Mum managed a day off cooking when eating out was non-existant!

Hmmmmm...after all that pancake talk I'm thinking perhaps we need some pancakes for breakfast.  Miss Sunshine will be thrilled!


Angela said...

MY English pancakes are thinner and flatter than US ones, but smaller and thicker than French crepes.
A flapjack here is an oatbased traybake, like your muesli biscuits.
An English pikelet is usually only called a pikelet in the Midlands or North of England, in the south it is called a crumpet - and is the name given to a small circle of fried batter, full of little holes, which was impaled on a soldier's PIKE and toasted over the campfire. But I think in OZ, what YOU call a pikelet is what we would call a drop scone or scotch pancake.

what a crazy language!! and how difficult to ask for the right thing to eat!

Tracy said...

Terribly difficult! Now you know why my brother and his wife have this disagreement. LOL.