Religious significance of Shrove Tuesday aside, I think we can all agree that pancakes are a crowd-pleasing breakfast, lunch or dinner. Kids love them, they're comforting, delicious and are adaptable to many different flavours.
As a Canadian, I am partial to our classic buttermilk pancakes with butter, maple syrup and wild blueberries (served with crispy bacon, of course - here's a video of my daughter, Ciara, making them for breakfast). I used to ask for them on my birthday, and as I got older and started cooking professionally, I would regularly make them for guests.
When I started to travel, I noticed every country seems to have its own style.
Here are a few links to pancake recipes from around the world. We are starting with the classic Canadian buttermilk pancakes, then having Korean scallion pancakes for lunch followed by delicious okonomiyaki for dinner.
French-style crepes are super eggy and thin, making them the perfect vessel for various fillings (like this savoury crepe I enjoyed a while ago at The Milk Market in Limerick).
They can be sweet or savoury; made with plain flour or nutty-tasting buckwheat. If you're feeling ambitious, you can make a multi-layer crepe cake with whipped cream and hazelnut spread.
Here's a crepe recipe from Nigella Lawson.
In Australia, the pancakes of choice are called Pikelets, and they look as cute as they sound.
Often served with honey and fruit, these mini-pancakes are fluffy and sweet.
Years ago, I lived in South Korea. It took a few months to get used to the food, but one of the first dishes I fell in love with was their savoury pancakes. They can be made with chili and potatoes (gamja jeon), spicy fermented cabbage and seafood (kimchi jeon) or fresh green onions, cooked until they're sweet and lightly charred. These pancakes are often served at a communal table and are large enough for several people to share. I make them in individual portions and they bring back great memories.
I get all of my Korean recipes from a blogger named Maangchi – she has plenty of pancake recipes on her website.
Blintzes are Eastern European in origin and are Jewish; often served for Shavout or on religious holidays. They are a thin, crepe-style pancake and are usually served filled with sweetened cream cheeses, ricotta or sour cream and fruit.
Try this recipe for cheese blintzes served with strawberries.
Dosas are one of my favourite Indian dishes, but they are a bit of a project to make at home (luckily, in Cork you can get fantastic dosas at Iyer's Cafe).
Made from a batter of soaked/fermented lentils and rice, dosas are a thin, crisp crepe-like dish, sometimes filled with a spicy potato mixture and served with a thin masala sauce. They are addictive! Try this recipe from BBC Good Food.
How you like: this is what okonomiyaki really means in Japanese. A popular street food and bar snack (it pairs really well with a frosty, cold pint!), okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake on steroids. The thin batter is mixed with finely shredded cabbage and cooked with thin slices of pork belly, ramen noodles, fried egg, green onions (or any combination of these; different cities/regions feature different styles). It is topped with Kewpie mayo, a BBQ-type sauce (simply known as okonomiyaki sauce), seaweed flakes and bonito flakes (dried fish).
Here is a great recipe (showing how diverse this dish really is) with a how-to video.
These serve-in-the-pan pancakes are based on a German recipe and they aren't just delicious; they have a real wow-factor when it comes to presentation.
Usually cooked in the oven in a cast-iron skillet, these massive pancakes puff up around the edges as they bake; creating something like a bowl in the centre which can hold a variety of sweet or savoury fillings.
Here's a recipe and video from The Kitchn.
We couldn't have a pancake round-up without featuring a potato variety. These Swedish potato pancakes are delicious. Serve them with lingonberry jam, sour cream, fresh herbs or smoked fish for a savoury twist.
These Indonesian pancakes are aromatic and so, so delicious. Often green in colour (thanks to the use of pandan leaf, which gives a floral, herbal aroma similar to vanilla), they are made with coconut milk and can be served with fillings or with palm sugar syrup on top. They can also be made savoury and served filled with cheese.