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American pancakes are not Poland's naleśniki!


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
31 May 2017 #1
Cinema-goers the world over have viewed scenes of happy American families -- parents, two kids and a dog in leafy suburbia, when the little boy says: "Dad, I want pancakes for breakfast." So far, so good. Then the Polish television dialogue translators move in and say: "Tato, na śniadanie ja chcę naleśniki". But the little boy did not want or get thin, unleavened crêpes. He asked for pancakes (aka flapjacks, hot cakes, griddle cakes, etc.) raised with baking powder and/or baking soda and slathered on the plate with butter and drenched with maple syrup. On the Polish advertising channel (Manga) a pancake-maker is being shown and thick, leavened American-style pancakes are coming out, but the narrator talks about how quick and easy it is to make "naleśniki". Every Pole can see these are racuszki or placki, not naleśniki. Anyone knwo how this misnomer came about?
Ziemowit 12 | 3,614
31 May 2017 #2
Anyone knwo how this misnomer came about?

No one knows and no one cares. [Nikt nie wie i nikogo to nie obchodzi.]
Atch 17 | 2,930
31 May 2017 #3
"Dad, I want pancakes for breakfast." So far, so good.

Not good at all Polly and I'm surprised at you for saying so. There are only two acceptable forms in which a child should request something - 'I would like' or 'Please may I have?' preferably the latter. 'I want' would get precisely nothing in my household I can tell you.

Now to the pancake business. I would think maybe this arises from the American/British English differences. In British English crêpes are known as pancakes and there is no equivalent of an American style pancake in British cuisine. Don't know if that helps or makes it more confusing!
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
31 May 2017 #4
that helps

Definitely. Most of your comments are insightful and helpful. That suggests that the translators were brought up on British English. Still in a Polish context, that is confusing because Poles (who distinguish naleśniki from racuchy, placki, bliny) may think Americans often have crêpes for breakfast.

No British equivalent of the American pancake? What kind of pancakes do the British fry up (if that is still the custom?) on Shrove Tuesday?

As for asking for things, I reckon you have never had much experience with today's post-hippy generation of glued-to-their-smartphones spoilt brats of America's hyper-materialised consumer society.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,614
31 May 2017 #5
Most of your comments are insightful and helpful.

Wow, does that mean my comment was not helpful? Maybe it wasn't, but it was undoubtedly insightful.
Atch 17 | 2,930
31 May 2017 #6
Shrove Tuesday?

Crêpes. And yes it's still a popular custom, in Ireland too. We always make pancakes with the children in school that day. The smell is simply delicious! Of course our schools are not as fancy schmancy as American ones so it means bringing the kids into the staffroom in shifts and the teacher cooking the pancakes on the stove, keeping four pans going at once! It's lovely, very homey and domestic.

spoilt brats

Most of them aren't brats Polly despite appearances. And they can be taught to say please and thank you. I can testify to that.
mafketis 21 | 7,475
31 May 2017 #7
In British English crêpes are known as pancakes and there is no equivalent of an American style pancake in British cuisine

Are the two terms interchangeable? I'm sure I've heard British people use both expressions....

Also, in an old Agatha Christies book there's a scene of a cook with filet of sole and pancake batter, how on earth would those go together?

Calling crepes "pancakes" just seems 8 types of wrong to me... also what was a 'muffin' in older English usage? There's a reference to them (again dame agatha) but it's also mentioned that they are not like American muffins (referred to as "a kind of tea cake")
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
31 May 2017 #8
cooking the pancakes

But what kind of pancakes are they? Are they fried in fat like Polish racuchy or does the batter contain the oil like American pancakes?

Sure kids can be taught anything, but there has to be the will to teach. Dr Spock-style permissivism claimed children should never be reprimanded or penalised but only praised and allowed to do only what "they feel like" doing. Discipline became a. a no-no. This has seeped over into Poland. Polish teens in trams, cinemas or church rarely say "przepraszam" but elbow their way through. It's all part of todays' trendy "slob chic".

helpful

It was helpful in that it showed your dismissive atttiude to the question at hand, and you have every right to express it. Admittedly, food things are not as world-shaking as the migration crisis or terrorism, but man does not live by hard poltical news alone!
Atch 17 | 2,930
31 May 2017 #9
Polish teens

Polish teens like most are a mixed bag. Polish children under 12, I find delightful, very well mannered and possbily due to the overcrowded conditions in which most of them are raised, they are well able to behave themselves appropriately in adult company and have excellent social skills.

But what kind of pancakes are they?

Basic pancake batter recipe Irish or English style would be flour, milk, eggs, and a knob of melted butter beaten into that (salted butter). Then left to stand ideally overnight and fried in butter but only the tiniest amount. My grandmother used to add only the egg yolks when making the batter and then beat the whites of the eggs separately and fold them into the batter before frying. Also she would have probably fried them in lard (smalec) but only just barely oiled the pan with it. Every Shrove Tuesday she used to cook a huge batch of pancakes for the men who worked in my grandfather's shop, there were about twelve of them :) and she wouldn't have stinted on second helpings I can tell you. The traditional way to serve them is to sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar and then roll them up. However nowadays kids often prefer jam, honey or God forbid, chocolate spread!
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
31 May 2017 #10
Basic pancake batter

Unless you inadvertently left it out (and you're generally not an inadvertgent type of person!), I notice no leavening agent such as baking powder or soda. That would mean the pancakes are on the heavy side, not light and fluffy like Ameircan flapjacks. Does anyone use golden syrup on them?

Anyaay, since the proof of the pudding...etc., etc., I'll drop round your place come next Shrove uesday to check things out. (LOL!)
Atch 17 | 2,930
31 May 2017 #11
Oh may the Lord give me patience, and you supposed to be the expert in cuisine. No, it's plain flour, no raising agent and like I said earlier Polly they're of the French crepe type. They are are very light if they're made properly. The secret is in how the batter is mixed, you can't rush it and folding in the egg whites (pre beaten) makes them very fluffy. They have to be fried in small dollops though, extremely thin, otherwise they will be stodgy.

No, nobody would eat golden syrup on them, at least I've never seen anyone do that. I wouldn't let you over the threshold, you old scallwyag, but I can give you the recipe I use if you like :)

Woops! I just checked and I see that scallywag is a different thing in American English, much more sinister and unpleasant. I meant it in the British English context of course!
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
31 May 2017 #12
scallywag

I've been called worse. But not to worry -- I won't go crybabying and sntiching to mods like a certain hairless and hapless poster we all (unfortunately) know. Here's a hint: "MODS -- I'm the vicitm of ad hom trolling, I've been insxurlted, she's picking on me, help me, sob-sob, boo-hoo!" Ugggh!!!

Re pancakes, yes the beaten whites act as a natural leavening agent. And a much milder tasting one than the baking powder or soda.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
31 May 2017 #13
how on earth would those go together

Battered fish is very good. Fresh fish is rolled in flour and then dipped in batter and fried. Very nice. Try it some time. The batter for this is plain, contains no sugar or any sweet-dish seasoning such as vanilla or cinnamon..
Lyzko 24 | 6,809
31 May 2017 #14
Nalesniki look to me a bit more like blintzes or even blinis.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
31 May 2017 #15
blintzes or even blinis

I believe blintzes is hte Jewish (Yiddish) term for naleśniki. Bliny are made with buckwheat flour and are quite dark. On the other hand, food terms are tossed about rather casually if not flippantly and vary from place to palce, even from family to family.
Lyzko 24 | 6,809
31 May 2017 #16
Thanks, Polonius3:-)
Atch 17 | 2,930
1 Jun 2017 #17
yes the beaten whites act as a natural leavening agent. And a much milder tasting one than the baking powder or soda.

Not everybody beats the egg whites. In this day and age probably only chefs in a Michelin starred restaurant. Standards are slipping Polly in more ways than just your favourites. However, the basic thing is to incorporate air in the mixture while you're stirring it. If you do it properly you will see air bubbles. The pancakes will still be very thin and flat (but then that's how they should be), but they will feel liight.

I think the nearest thing to American pancakes would be the English muffin which was once a popular breakfast dish. The crumpet was eaten at afternoon tea and the muffin at breakfast but both use yeast as the leavening agent. The ingredients in a muffin are almost identical to an American pancake, flour, raising agent (yeast), milk, sugar, egg and a little butter and they are fried. However because of the yeast you need to allow proving time. They're more bread-like than the American pancake.

Battered fish is very good.

It's one of the most delicious ways to eat fish if it's done properly, oil at the right temperature is crucial. Despite being deep fried the fish comes out so light and moist and not oily at all. I believe we have the Italians to thank for fish and chips. I think they introduced it to London. Certainly the first 'chippers' in Ireland, as we called the fish and chip shops, were all run by Italians. Best chipper in Ireland is Leo Burdocks though founded by a Dubliner over a hundred years. The fish is mouthwatering and the chips are done to perfection. It's a tiny little take-away and always jammed with people. You have to eat your fish and chips out of the paper outside. We would usually go to the nearby park in the grounds of St Patrick's cathedral and contemplate its ecclesiastical wonders whilst stuffing ourselves :))
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
1 Jun 2017 #18
fish and chips

Funny no fish & chips chain have taken root in Poland. Tasty, quick, easy, inexpensive -- I'm sure they would have caught on. Far superior and much healthier fare (in spite of being fried) than those cholesterol-rich greaseburgrers and other Big Macs! Lately they've come up with a version that adds fried bacon and cheese to the whole artery-clogging mess.
Atch 17 | 2,930
1 Jun 2017 #19
There might be a problem with a constant supply of fresh fish? It has to be fresh. Also whilst cod might be easily available the other traditional fish such as plaice, hake, haddock etc might be harder to source. I don't think I've ever seen plaice or hake for sale in Warsaw, maybe it's a different story on the coast but I'm not sure if those fish are found in those waters.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
1 Jun 2017 #20
t has to be fresh

It's hard ot believe that every corner fish & chip shop in the British Isles uses only fresh fish. There must be ones that use frozen fillets.

Hake is avialble in Poland -- it's called morszczuk (literally: sea pike), there is also mintaj (pollock), but I haven't seen haddock.
Are there any fish & chip chains or are they all family-owned shops?
Cardno85 31 | 976
1 Jun 2017 #21
crumpet

Funny you mention that, thin English pancakes in Scotland are called crumpets and pancakes up here are small (about the diameter of an apple) and slightly thicker with a leavening agent (could it be from Scotland that American pancakes came about?). I would also say there is a difference between crepes and English pancakes, as crepes are spread around to ensure thinness, whereas pancakes are left to settle themselves. I would say the Polish nalesniki is more akin to the French crepe, but as, for many years, there was no other type of pancake, I think that's why nalesniki has been used as a catch all term for foreign pancake like things.

Regarding fish and chips, a lot of places in Poland describe fish (from fish and chips) as "ryba w cieście naleśnikowym" so as in fish wrapped in pancake, I suppose to describe the batter.
Atch 17 | 2,930
1 Jun 2017 #22
uses only fresh fish

All the proper ones do. There's usually a menu up on the wall that specifies eg 'fresh cod and chips' and they fry to order so you usually have to wait a few minutes.

thin English pancakes in Scotland are called crumpets

Now that is interesting. I wonder why that would be.
Cardno85 31 | 976
1 Jun 2017 #23
I wonder why that would be.

No idea, as we also use the word crumpet for the more traditional English crumpet, so be aware if you pop round to a Scotsman's house for tea and crumpets, you may end up with crumpets or thin pancakes.

Although off topic, tea cakes in England are a baked good (kind of like a flat roll) with fruit in them, in Scotland, ask for a teacake and you will get a biscuit, topped with mallow, covered in chocolate.

This thread makes me hungry!
Atch 17 | 2,930
1 Jun 2017 #24
teacake

Now that's the same in Ireland, teacake has that mallow and choc topping, oh God they're delicious! Tunnocks' teacakes, those are the ones I used to get in Tesco. That sounds like a Scottish name. Must check it out.

Edit: just checked and yes, they're Scots! Lanarkshire. Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled, aye!
Atch 17 | 2,930
1 Jun 2017 #25
Are the two terms interchangeable? I'm sure I've heard British people use both expressions....

Sorry Maf, just saw your comment now, how could have I overlooked you dear - my apologies. No, people use the terms separately but really calling them crêpes is just a bit of snobby nonsense as the ingredients of the batter are identical. The French sometimes make the batter a bit richer with cream and melted butter but lots of people make English pancakes with melted butter too ( I certainly do) and the final result is virtually identical to a crêpe, with a sort of 'lacy'appearance.

As to the English muffin, see above in my previous post :)

pancakes are left to settle themselves.

No, you must tilt the pan to spread the mixture evenly.
spiritus 67 | 664
1 Jun 2017 #26
I thought crepes were always very thin
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,671
1 Jun 2017 #27
Shrove Tuesday?

thin pancakes.
You mix flour, eggs, milk, and a spoon of oil and a pinch of salt in a big bowl until it's a runny constituency. Let it stand for an hour before use. This is important.

You heat the pan with just a smidgin of oil and ladle some batter in, moving the pan around so that the batter covers the bottom of it. If you have good pan, you should be able to pick it up, shake the pancake back and forth, and then flip it over. This takes years of practice..:)

Your first pancake will not be that nice, so give it to the dog or an annoying houseguest.
The second pancake will be lovely, and so will the rest.
Traditionally you cover it with sugar and lemon juice, and then roll it up to serve. Alternatives are jam, nutella or whatever takes your fancy.

One Easter, I stacked up a pile of these with jam or nutella between each one, covered the stack with squirty cream, and then cut into like a cake. Lush.

Spiritus, I think crepes and pancakes are essentially the same thing, just the French obviously think theirs are better.
Atch 17 | 2,930
1 Jun 2017 #28
Your first pancake will not be that nice,

Absolutely, it's weird that, isn't it? I think it's because the temperature of the pan is so important and after that first pancake it's just right. Flipping/tossing the pancake is great fun - Mr Atch has now perfected this, very impressive, for one not born to it :)
mafketis 21 | 7,475
1 Jun 2017 #29
As to the English muffin, see above in my previous post :)

Some years ago I read an article by an English guy who'd visited America, he was puzzled by English muffins and declared them "not at all English" (or words to that effect).

Once in a communal kitchen of a teacher's dorm I was making a cross between American pancakes and hoe cakes (see below) and an Irish guy said they looked like 'muffins'.....

On the pancake batter and fish, of course I've had battered fish (yes, very yummy if done right) but the word pancake confused me because "pancake batter" to me sounds like it's for making pancakes (however defined) and not for frying fish... (I'd probably just call the batter for fish either 'batter' or 'fish batter').

the glory that is hoe cakes:

cake
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
1 Jun 2017 #30
teacake has that mallow and choc

Are those available in Warsaw?


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