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Pancake: A Global History (Reaktion Books - Edible) Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Series: Reaktion Books - Edible
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books; 1 edition (October 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861893922
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861893925
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The first hurdle Albala must overcome in this comprehensive history of the pancake is differentiating the pancake from similar dishes. Does the pancake include the doughnut, the popover, the funnel cake, the crêpe, the Mexican tortilla, Ethiopian injera, Russian blini, and the ubiquitous waffle? Albala makes thoughtful distinctions, allowing some within the definition and excluding others. He then proceeds to trace the development of the pancake from the earliest recorded sources through modern times. He notes pancakes’ key role in many people’s earliest childhood-breakfast memories. Albala’s inquiries into the evolving image of Aunt Jemima as a trademark for pancake mixes have much to say about America’s enduring and evolving race stereotypes. He presents recipes for all sorts of pancakes, from Japanese okonomiyaki to elegant crêpes suzette. Albala’s bibliography lists much more than books; he inventories commercial Web sites and even includes some music videos. --Mark Knoblauch


"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!"
(Ken Hom, chef and author 2008-07-14)

"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."
(Robert Sietsema, restaurant critic for the Village Voice)

“The books in the Edible series combine straightforward historical data with affectionate ruminations on how the food shows up in culture: movies, music, TV shows, billboards, slogans.”—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

(Chicago Tribune)

"Ken Albala has pancake credentials. He writes that during half a decade of graduate schoool, he made a pancake every morning, without exception. In any case, he clearly enjoys tracing the dish's global travels, from the hot stones that might have held the 'ur-pancake' of our Neolithic ancestors through such aspects of pancake history as Shrove Tuesday celebrations, mining and lumberjack camps, and kitschy American pancake houses, never losing track of the pleasures of the flat."--Nina C. Ayoub, The Chronicle Review
(The Chronicle Review)

"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."
(Laura Penny Globe and Mail)

“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."


More About the Author

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific. He is the author or editor of 18 books on food including Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe, Beans: A History (winner of the 2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award), and Pancake. He has also co-edited The Business of Food, Human Cuisine, Food and Faith and edited A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance and The Routledge International Handbook to Food Studies. Albala was also editor of the Food Cultures Around the World series with 30 volumes in print, the 4-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia and is now series editor of Rowman Littlefield Studies in Food and Gastronomy for which he has written a textbook entitled Three World Cuisines: Italian, Chinese, Mexican (Winner of the Gourmand Best Foreign Food Book in the World 2012). Albala was also co-editor of the journal Food Culture and Society and is editing a 3 volume encyclopedia on Food Issues for Sage. He has also co-authored two cookbooks: The Lost Art of Real Cooking and The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Sims on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ken Albala combines information with photos and humor. everything you would want to know about the pancake.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E Hanks on August 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this truly complete history on the pancake. This really isn't a traditional cookbook but there are some good recipes in it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lindapanzo on October 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is another in the Edible series, a slender book that talks about the history, customs, and worldwide varieties of a particular food. Unlike the books on burgers, hot dogs, and pizza, I did not enjoy this one.

Way, way too much history and very little on American variations in the present day or even in the past. The author had a dull writing style, too.

I guess that, in a series as large as this, the books are bound to be uneven.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book after hearing about it on CBS Sunday Morning. I enjoyed learning the history of pancakes and its variations around the world.
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