Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ


One of the most confusing things about different cultures is differences in food, especially when the name used for food in one culture is applied to something different in another culture. Among the most confusing items are cumpets, scones, pancakes, muffins and similar items. I have no idea what the difference between an English English muffin and an American English muffin might be.

This morning Val made crumpets for tea, and so I took a photo. You may not be able to taste them, but this is what South African crumpets look like.

Crumpets or pancakes

Crumpets or pancakes

We both grew up in or near Durban in the middle of the 20th century, and this is how our mothers made them. I suspect that they were taught to do that by their mothers — my Scottish granny and Val’s Cumberland granny. So the recipe, and perhaps the name may originally be northern British.

My mother sometimes used to call them pancakes, but whether you call them pancakes or crumpets, the look and taste are identical.

If you are familiar with these things, what do you call them? And if they don’t look like your crumpets or pancakes, what do yours look like? If you comment, please say where you grew up.


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5 thoughts on “Crumpets!

  1. The pic above looks like a hybrid between what I know as a Scotch Pancake and a crumpet.

    Mind you I’ve only known shop bought crumpets here in England. They have a lot of holes in them which soak up the butter in order for it to reappear later to hijack your arteries.

    As here –>

    • Thaks, Chris. That would explain why I called them pancakes, coming down from my Scotch grtanny, and Val calls them crumpets, coming from her Cumberland granny.

  2. To me those look like what I call scotch pancakes and pancake it like a French Crepe.

    As you say, very confusing 🙂

  3. Rangjan on said:

    They look like Welsh tea cakes, but the Welsh variety have a different texture (more like a scone) and can have raisins in them. I know the things in your photo as crumpets. When made with a thinner batter, They are pancakes.

  4. Peter on said:

    Those are definitely pancakes (southern and eastern USA). My family tends to make them with oatmeal mixed in to the batter, and a little smaller, but there’s a lot of variation around here anyway.

    Best eaten with maple syrup, but I think that’s mostly a North American thing.

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