An 1585 Recipe for Making Pancakes: Make It Your Saturday Morning Breakfast

old pancakes

Ear­li­er this week, Col­in Mar­shall high­light­ed a trove of 3,000 vin­tage cook­books on, many of which date back to the 19th cen­tu­ry.

Cook­books, how­ev­er, first arrived on the scene well before that. Accord­ing to the ven­er­a­ble British Library, the “late 16th cen­tu­ry was the first time that cook­ery books began to be pub­lished and acquired with any sort of reg­u­lar­i­ty.” “It is also the first time that cook­ery books were direct­ed at a female audi­ence.” That is, priv­i­leged women who could read and had access to sug­ar, spices and oth­er then rare ingre­di­ents.

Above you can find a recipe for mak­ing pan­cakes, straight from 1585.  To make Pan­cakes, the text reads:

Take new thicke Creame a pine, foure or five yolks of egs, a good hand­ful of flower and two or three spoone­fuls of ale, strain them togeth­er into a faire plat­ter, and sea­son it with a good hand­full of sug­ar, a spoone­ful of syna­mon, and a lit­tle Gin­ger: then take a fri­ing pan, and put in a litle peece of But­ter, as big as your thumbe, and when it is molten brown, cast it out of your pan, and with a ladle put to the fur­ther side of your pan some of your stuffe, and hold your pan …, so that your stuffe may run abroad over all the pan as thin as may be: then set it to the fire, and let the fyre be ver­ie soft, and when the one side is baked, then turn the oth­er, and bake them as dry as ye can with­out burn­ing.

It’s Sat­ur­day morn­ing. What are you wait­ing for? Give it a try. The page above also offers recipes for var­i­ous pud­dings. Find those recipes tran­scribed here

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Archive of 3,000 Vin­tage Cook­books Lets You Trav­el Back Through Culi­nary Time

The New York Times Makes 17,000 Tasty Recipes Avail­able Online: Japan­ese, Ital­ian, Thai & Much More

Archive of Hand­writ­ten Recipes (1600 – 1960) Will Teach You How to Stew a Calf’s Head and More

Cook Real Recipes from Ancient Rome: Ostrich Ragoût, Roast Wild Boar, Nut Tarts & More

Dis­cov­er the Old­est Beer Recipe in His­to­ry From Ancient Sume­ria, 1800 B.C.

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Comments (11)
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  • Richard says:

    It says: “Take new thicke Creame a pint,…” not “a pine,…”.

  • icewater says:

    This sounds like a tasty recipe, but more impor­tant­ly all the spelling mis­takes in this book point out just how poor­ly peo­ple were edu­cat­ed back then. We should be grate­ful for our edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem today.

  • Patricia White says:

    It is my rec­ol­lec­tion that spelling has changed over the years. There­fore these words are not spelled incor­rect­ly for the time in which they were writ­ten. Fas­ci­nat­ing recipe!

  • Simon says:

    The first book that could be called a dic­tio­nary was­n’t pub­lished in Eng­lish until 1604, but spelling was­n’t cod­i­fied and set the way we think of it today until the 1800s. Before then, spelling var­ied every­where, even with­in the same doc­u­ment, even when writ­ten by “edu­cat­ed peo­ple.” Have you read the orig­i­nal man­u­script of the Amer­i­can con­sti­tu­tion, for instance?

  • James Cranch says:

    The word you could­n’t read looks to be “aslope” (in oth­er words, “at an angle”).

  • Susan Feerman says:

    Start­ing to make those pan­cakes right now

  • Richard Foss says:

    There’s no ris­ing agent, so I assume this will be a crepe rather than what we think of as a pan­cake.

  • Richard Foss says:

    Adden­dum: the ale would be a ris­ing agent if it con­tained live yeast, but not if the recipe was made imme­di­ate­ly before cook­ing. Most yeast pan­cake recipes sug­gest mak­ing the bat­ter one to three hours in advance, and per­haps the man­u­script assumed you knew to do that.

  • karen says:

    Tra­di­tion­al­ly Eng­lish pan­cakes are not made with a ‘rais­ing agent’. It is usu­al­ly a flat pan­cake and not at all like what Amer­i­cans call pan­cakes but they are also not quite so thin as crêpes.

  • Elise Fleming says:

    The cita­tion, “Good Huswifes Jew­ell, giv­en on the link for the recipes, is incor­rect. It is from “A good huswifes hand­maide for the kitchin”, dat­ed 1588.

  • Terry Hopkins says:

    A hand­ful of flour with 4–5 egg yolks, I am so intrigued by this. Sounds very inter­est­ing! Thank you!

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