by Brenda W. Clough
My latest theory is that crumpets and pancakes are long-lost cousins. Consider how similar they are. A pourable batter, made of milk, eggs and flour, lightened with a riser and enriched with sugar and butter or oil. A hot pan. Pancakes are simply poured onto the hot cooking surface — flip them once, to get them tan on both sides.
Crumpets have the refinement of the crumpet ring, which is simply a device to keep the batter from flattening out Using a ring gets you a pancake essentially shaped like a hockey puck. If you turn them it is late in the game and the rings go with, and so crumpets have a tan bottom and a pale bubble-holed top. From here to waffles is not very far, because the waffle iron gets you both sides brown at once. Do you see those holes, in that crumpet? When you are cooking pancakes, that’s how they look when it is time to flip them over. That’s why I think they’re relatives.
Pancakes are eaten with syrup and butter for breakfast. A traditional accompaniment is bacon or sausages, sometimes scrapple. Occasionally you see additions of blueberries or pecans, but Americans add blueberries, pecans or cranberries to nearly everything. Crumpets are buttered — jam, oh you persons of British descent, or not? When do you eat them?