On this most auspicious of days, we're going to put to rest a question that has plagued humanity since the dawn of the cosmos - are French crêpes the same as pancakes?
To begin with, we must first quantify beyond any reasonable doubt what a pancake is. To wit, let's look at the ingredients. The traditional ingredients for a pancake is as follows:
- 4oz of flour/fleurrrrrrr
- A pinch of salt
- One (1) egg
- 300ml of milk
- Some oil for frying
So far, so whatever. Now, let's examine the ingredients for French crêpes. Let's say we're going to make four of them. You'll need:
- 4oz of flour
- Two (2) eggs
- 120ml of milk
- 120ml of water
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons of butter, melted
Aside from the addition of water and butter, they're relatively similar. The recipe, likewise, is the same. Whisk the lot of them, pour the batter onto a griddle, tilt the pan until you get a nice circle, cook for about two minutes and flip with a spatula, repeat until you've got a colour you're happy with.
Serve with lemon, butter, cream, maybe some Nutella, whatever. Dealer's choice.
Now, neither crêpes nor pancakes specify a colour or cooking time for them. In fact, to any logical or rational person so far, you wouldn't be able to differentiate between the two in terms of ingredients or preparation of said ingredients.
So what, then? Where's the difference? Well, as it turns out, what we've described is a recipe for crêpes in both instances. Pancakes are, by right, supposed to have another ingredient that crêpes don't have.
Namely, baking soda.
This gives the batter a little bit of a lift, which is why American pancakes always seem to look different to pancakes you'd make at home on Pancake Tuesday. Crêpes are made to be as thin as possible, whereas American pancakes - the ones you'd buy ready-made in a shop - are thicker.
In fact, if you check Wikipedia's article on crêpes, there's a detailed list of the different names for thin crêpes across Europe. The word for thin French crêpes as Gaelige is - you guessed it - pancóg.
What does pancóg mean, then? Pancakes.
Therefore, we must then look at the traditional Irish recipe for pancakes as we know and understand it to be, and consider whether or not we've been making French lies for all this time.
By all accounts, we've been making crêpes this whole time and never considered adding baking soda. In fact, the recipe we got earlier, we took straight from Odlums' website - and it lists the recipe as one for pancakes.
Must we then change our national pancake recipe to suit the traditional definition of a pancake? Do we start adding in baking soda to the batter mix from now or what? What even is Pancake Tuesday all about? Do people even like pancakes, even?
Either way, Ireland has been living a lie this whole time when it comes to pancakes and we all need to wake up.