Blinis

Pancakes are pancakes are pancakes. That line usually works except when the pancake is a blin. Two or more blins are called blini.

A hot stack of buttered pancakes drenched in maple syrup is an all-American image. But the tradition of pancakes reflects the cuisine popular in other countries, since they have been eaten in different forms around the globe for centuries.

One of the earliest known pancakes dates back to 4th century B.C. China, where fragile pancakes of millet meal or wheat flour were popular.

The "spring pancake," a thin pancake made of ground rice, and filled with vegetables and meat has been traced as far back as the Song Dynasty.

Pancakes later became common in the MIddle East in medieval times, and were shortly introduced into markets and homes throughout Europe.

During the next few centuries, pancakes took on their modern form. Old English pancakes were mixed with ale. German pancakes were leavened by eggs and served thin, with jam or jelly. Pancakes were a favorite food with both the rich and poor during the 16th and 17th Centuries.

Which brings us back to the blin. Blini are small, yeast-leavened, buckwheat pancakes originally from Russia. A blin is very similar to a crepe, which of course, is French in origin. In classic tradition they are served with sour cream and caviar or smoked salmon.

You may have the opportunity to put your food-snob friends to shame when one day they ask for a single blini and you graciously say, "Excuse me, were you asking for one blin or two or three blini?"

You might as well go ahead and ask for the "blini." Most of us simplycannot stop with only one.

Buy: Blinis

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