How They Made Pancakes In the 18th Century

By Mike Pomranz |

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think my favorite YouTube personality is a middle-aged reproduction clothing retailer with an affinity towards wearing tricorne hats.

Johnathan Townsend certainly isn’t new to YouTube – he’s been appearing in videos for his family’s store Jas Townsend and Son for over seven years – but a month ago, his video on how fried chicken was made in the 1700s recaptured the Internet’s imagination. From there, his endearing 18th century cooking videos have gotten increased attention, including one for cheese curds fritters from 1758 and, earlier this week, an explanation of how to whip up cornmeal pancakes included in a cookbook from 1796 – back in the days when our little upstart nation was riding high on the wisdom of Washington and Jefferson instead of the insanity of Clinton and Trump.

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If you find yourself pining for the simpler times of America’s youth, you could probably find less productive ways to reminisce about them than cooking some pancakes. Granted, by Townsend’s own admission, these flapjacks are flatter and have a texture “that you might not be used to as a pancake.” Still, those strange qualities will just serve as a fitting reminder that the olden days weren’t necessarily better, they were just different. No matter how bad things may seem, don’t forget all the strides we’ve made in the world of pancakes.

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