By Noah Kaufman
Updated March 04, 2014
Tyler Florence's Blueberry-Banana Pancakes
| Credit: © John Kernick

Whether it is dressed up with exotic ingredients for a $1300 brunch or just thrown on a griddle as a hangover cure, the pancake is always there when you need it. Today, on National Pancake Day, we wanted to celebrate the noble syrup sponge. After some intense Googling, we've uncovered that pancakes are one the oldest foods humans have ever cooked, dating back to the Stone Age. But what if cavemen had never invented the pancake? Here are some alternative theories of when the pancake could have risen to its delicious culinary status.

1. In Old Testament Times

As the Israelites fled the land of Egypt they didn't have time to bake their cakes in an oven and let them rise, leaving them with the flat things we eat today.

2. In Medieval Times

As the Black Death swept over Europe there was suddenly a dearth of experienced bakers. Kings and Dauphins still demanded to be fed. But with no one left who could make a proper loaf of bread, the replacements came up with a recipe that you could make even when you're drunk.

3. In the Renaissance

He had already painted the Mona Lisa, mapped the human body and invented a helicopter, but Leonardo Da Vinci wanted to leave a legacy that mattered. So he retired to his studio for weeks on end, perfecting the formula for crispy edges and puffy centers.

4. In Colonial America

The true story of the first Thanksgiving has been twisted, misremembered and simplified over the years. Somehow, the pancake breakfast to raise money for the local Elks Club is always left out.

5. During World War II

With food rationing the rule of the day during the conflict, scrappy American households knew their breakfast options would be limited. No more 3-egg omelets with a side of hash browns. And so a war-wearied people turned to a new staple that could feed a family of five, with batter to spare for the next day.