For many peoples of the world, pancakes are considered a symbol of the Sun. Therefore, pancakes are an indispensable attribute of Maslenitsa, because this is exactly the time when they see off the winter and meet the spring.
Dough products reminiscent of our Russian pancakes were known in Ancient Egypt. And in Russia, the first mention of them dates back to 1005. For a long time they were called "mlins", from the word "grind" or "crush". Only from the 16th century does the name familiar to us appear.
Some culinary historians give an interesting case. In their opinion, such a dish as pancakes appeared quite by accident. One forgetful housewife, warming up oatmeal jelly, gaped. So a ruddy pancake turned out from jelly. However, it may just be a story.
And in the 19th century, pancakes were already mentioned by many classics of Russian literature. For example, here are the lines from Pushkin's "Eugene Onegin":
They kept a peaceful life
The habits of cute old times;
They have a greasy carnival
There were Russian pancakes;
One of the main reasons for the popularity of pancakes in our country is their economy. All you need is flour and water. Well, the amount of milk, sugar and butter in pancakes depended on the well-being of the family: many poor people did without these "excesses". There was a special attitude to pancakes in Russia, it was not for nothing that they symbolized the Sun.
They were supposed to be eaten only by hand. It was strictly forbidden to cut pancakes with a knife, it was considered a harbinger of trouble. They always baked a lot of pancakes for the holidays, it was believed that the more they eat, the more successful the family will be.
The first pancake, as you know, is lumpy. Everyone, of course, heard this saying, but not everyone thought about its meaning. It was assumed that the first pancake was baked in an insufficiently preheated pan, so it turned into a lump. The assumption is interesting, but the proverb says not "lumpy", but "coma". Who are comas and why is the first pancake meant for them? The answer to this question must also be sought in the distant traditions of our ancestors. "Lump" - this is how a bear was called in Russia, indeed, it looked like a big shaggy lump. It was in the spring, when Maslenitsa was celebrated, that the bears woke up from hibernation. Therefore, the first pancake was carried into the forest and left on a stump in the hope that the bear would eat the treat and would not disturb people and livestock.
In Ancient Russia, it was believed that a girl can get married only after she learns to bake pancakes on her own. Without this skill, a woman could not be called a good housewife. In addition, each housewife had her own secret of making pancakes.
There is a mention that pancakes were served to Alexander Nevsky during a feast on the occasion of the victory in the Battle of the Ice. A great lover of pancakes was Ivan the Terrible, for whom pancakes with cottage cheese were served on the table. Sometimes the hostess borrowed a pancake pan from the neighbors. It was considered an insult to return it empty: the owners of the pan, according to custom, were supposed to have the last baked pancake.
Pancakes are popular not only in Russia, but also in many other countries of the world. American Ross McCurdy is even the world record holder for baking pancakes. In an hour, he managed to cook 1092 pancakes.