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Old 01-16-2014, 07:33 PM
Apocalypso Apocalypso is offline
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So, how well DID hotcakes sell?

Most people are familiar with the phrase "sell/sold like hotcakes". Were they really the best selling thing ever, to the point where everything else was measured by their sales?
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:09 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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According to The Word Detective, the phrase dates back to 1839, but there was no one particular hotcake fad that inspired it.

I've always imagined it to be less about selling hotcakes from a store or restaurant, and more about a family or ranch cook offering up hotcakes and having everyone immediately come running for them. (As if on a day when scrambled eggs were on the menu, people would be, "O.K., time for breakfast," but if it was hotcakes breakfast would suddenly be a big deal and everyone would want some.)
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:14 AM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is offline
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What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:53 AM
Obnoxious Hood Ornament Obnoxious Hood Ornament is offline
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What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?
If I had to make a wild guess, probably beer
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:55 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Once I found out that "hotcake" means pancake, not just a cake hot from the oven, I assumed it came from the fact that they had to be sold quickly: once made, a pancake is best eaten immediately, so don't hang about!
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:58 AM
leahcim leahcim is offline
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Originally Posted by SpoilerVirgin View Post
I've always imagined it to be less about selling hotcakes from a store or restaurant, and more about a family or ranch cook offering up hotcakes and having everyone immediately come running for them.
I had a similar mental image, but the crowd of running people would just hold up their plates and the cook would flip a hotcake right off the griddle, through the air, and on to the plate of one of the waiting throng. So hotcakes would naturally be faster than other breakfast items that couldn't be served kinetically.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:00 PM
Flywheel Flywheel is offline
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"These latkes are going like hotcakes!" -Kramer
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:52 PM
furryman furryman is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?
I'm not sure when factory sliced bread was invented but I was really amazed by how innovative the introduction of the C-spring in the 1800's was.

Last edited by furryman; 01-17-2014 at 12:54 PM.
  #9  
Old 01-17-2014, 01:13 PM
Flywheel Flywheel is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?
Quote:
Wrapped bread. This is a fact: The hyperbolic expression “the greatest thing since sliced bread” derives from an 1928 advertising slogan that described sliced bread as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.”
More answers here.
  #10  
Old 01-17-2014, 01:32 PM
AskNott AskNott is online now
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The Word Detective mentions "flat as a pancake." It has long been said that the state of Kansas is as flat as a pancake. A couple of bored U of Kansas students decided to find out. They laser-mapped some pancakes, and they compared it to a topographical map of Kansas.

Their conclusion was that Kansas is much flatter than a pancake.
  #11  
Old 01-17-2014, 02:57 PM
Aquadementia Aquadementia is online now
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Customers are buying them by the stack.
  #12  
Old 01-17-2014, 03:27 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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To be honest, hot cakes (pancakes) do sell really well. They're cheap, easy, quick and friendly to folks of all/most ages, food preferences and backgrounds.

A lot of churches and other nonprofits even today raise a lot of funds through pancake breakfasts.
  #13  
Old 01-17-2014, 06:17 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Maybe there was a bunch of drunken sailors waking up and needing some hang-over food. They would, of course, have lots of money to spend.
  #14  
Old 01-17-2014, 06:50 PM
Si Amigo Si Amigo is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?
Leavened bread. People were getting damn tired of eating crackers.
  #15  
Old 01-17-2014, 07:28 PM
j666 j666 is offline
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Originally Posted by AskNott View Post
The Word Detective mentions "flat as a pancake." It has long been said that the state of Kansas is as flat as a pancake. A couple of bored U of Kansas students decided to find out. They laser-mapped some pancakes, and they compared it to a topographical map of Kansas.

Their conclusion was that Kansas is much flatter than a pancake.
Didn't that win an Ignoble a few years ago?
  #16  
Old 01-18-2014, 02:32 PM
AskNott AskNott is online now
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I'm not sure where I heard the story, but perhaps it was an Ignobel winner. It's certainly absurd enough.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:03 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AskNott View Post
The Word Detective mentions "flat as a pancake." It has long been said that the state of Kansas is as flat as a pancake. A couple of bored U of Kansas students decided to find out. They laser-mapped some pancakes, and they compared it to a topographical map of Kansas.

Their conclusion was that Kansas is much flatter than a pancake.
Sort of, it has a general tilt upwards to the west. As mrAru and I commented the first time I drove west to visit his family with him - "Its flat, the road sucks and there are cows." And we developed this urge to get a gun and shoot the centers of all the little sunflowers on the signs...
  #18  
Old 01-20-2014, 12:37 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Did you hear about the new cemetery? People are just dying to get in there.
  #19  
Old 01-20-2014, 01:16 AM
Mijin Mijin is online now
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I saw it as in freshly baked.

The smell of freshly baked cakes / bread tends to cause people to lift up like a hummingbird and then float along a visible scent trail to the source.

Last edited by Mijin; 01-20-2014 at 01:16 AM.
  #20  
Old 01-20-2014, 07:07 AM
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Of course everyone knows that you can't have your cake and eat it - hot or cold.
  #21  
Old 01-20-2014, 08:58 AM
UncleFred UncleFred is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?
OK, jumping on the bandwagon....(Which probably needs derivation also)

What size were hailstones before they had golf balls? (or horse-pills, I've heard both)

BTW - My Mom grew up in the 20's and she commented several times that sliced bread really was a great invention. Try slicing it yourself...every time....

Every Saturday morning my Grandfather sharpened his knives. And every Saturday afternoon my Grandmother helped bandage his fingers.

Last edited by UncleFred; 01-20-2014 at 09:00 AM.
  #22  
Old 01-20-2014, 03:23 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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David Letterman, as a young TV weatherman in Indiana, was allegedly once disciplined for forecasting "hailstones the size of canned hams."
  #23  
Old 01-20-2014, 05:51 PM
j666 j666 is offline
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BTW - My Mom grew up in the 20's and she commented several times that sliced bread really was a great invention. Try slicing it yourself...every time...
So did mine. She's the only person I ever knew who could slice bread straight. Oh, I miss her bread.
  #24  
Old 01-22-2014, 11:03 AM
MacLir MacLir is offline
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If I had to make a wild guess, probably beer
There's a fascinating documentary "How Beer Saved the World". They make a pretty good case ...

It's on Netflix
  #25  
Old 01-22-2014, 11:14 AM
MacLir MacLir is offline
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So did mine. She's the only person I ever knew who could slice bread straight. Oh, I miss her bread.
Grandpa should have made her a bread slicing box. Or maybe he did ...

It's like a miter box for wood, but with a closed end and lots of spaced slots.

You can probably find them at a good kitchen supply.
  #26  
Old 01-22-2014, 06:59 PM
AskNott AskNott is online now
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Didn't that win an Ignoble a few years ago?
I looked up Ig Nobel Winners, and I went back to 2001, and I couldn't find it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._Prize_winners
  #27  
Old 01-22-2014, 11:46 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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It wasn't an Iggy winner, but it got into the Annals of Improbable Research.
  #28  
Old 01-23-2014, 09:08 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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OK, jumping on the bandwagon....(Which probably needs derivation also)

What size were hailstones before they had golf balls? (or horse-pills, I've heard both)

BTW - My Mom grew up in the 20's and she commented several times that sliced bread really was a great invention. Try slicing it yourself...every time....

Every Saturday morning my Grandfather sharpened his knives. And every Saturday afternoon my Grandmother helped bandage his fingers.
Here's the one that I've always wondered about: what did people say tornados sounded like before freight trains?
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:46 AM
Si Amigo Si Amigo is offline
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Here's the one that I've always wondered about: what did people say tornados sounded like before freight trains?
Since a lot of them happen in the great plains I would imagine they would compare them to the sound of a buffalo stampede.

IMO, you should really open up a new thread rather than tacking marginally related questions onto existing threads as you would get more response to what seems to be a good question.

Last edited by Si Amigo; 01-23-2014 at 10:49 AM.
  #30  
Old 01-23-2014, 11:13 AM
AskNott AskNott is online now
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It wasn't an Iggy winner, but it got into the Annals of Improbable Research.
Thanks, Kimstu! I was just looking in the wrong place.
  #31  
Old 01-23-2014, 01:17 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Thanks, Kimstu! I was just looking in the wrong place.
Well, actually, if you were looking straight to the source for a list of Ig winners, the Annals of Improbable Research is actually the place to go. Although the Wiki page has the same synopses there too.

http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/ (Has additional information, links to actual research, photos, etc.)
  #32  
Old 01-23-2014, 01:52 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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I'm not sure where I heard the story, but perhaps it was an Ignobel winner. It's certainly absurd enough.
I'd have thought that the Igs would require that government grant money had been spent on a project before it qualified. Grad students using existing equipment on their own hours shouldn't qualify, to my mind. Not that anyone is likely to ask me.
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:02 PM
Johnny Angel Johnny Angel is offline
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Grandpa should have made her a bread slicing box. Or maybe he did ...

It's like a miter box for wood, but with a closed end and lots of spaced slots.

You can probably find them at a good kitchen supply.
Or try Amazon. But really, that's just minimizing the pain, because bread still doesn't like to be sliced, much less straight. You need to let it cool enough that it won't bunch up, and you save yourself a lot of trouble if you get a stout well-serrated bread knife that is long enough that it doesn't keep popping out of the grooves. Then, well, you're in business. Relative to not having a bread slicing frame and a good long bread knife, that is. But if you're in 1928 and slicing bread is just one of many other grinding household chores that have now been made much simpler with technology and products we take for granted instead of a hobby, as it is for many of us now, I can see how it would have been a relief to have that little burden at least lightened.
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Old 01-23-2014, 05:03 PM
j666 j666 is offline
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It wasn't an Iggy winner, but it got into the Annals of Improbable Research.
Thank you so much. It drives me nuts when I half remember something I heard on 'NPR "a few years ago".

So, I was wrong, it wasn't computer modeling. Huh.

Quote:
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Or try Amazon. But really, that's just minimizing the pain, because bread still doesn't like to be sliced, much less straight. You need to let it cool enough
Stop right there.

The only bread appropriate for slicing (i.e. standard loaf, not round nor small elongated) that one is likely to encounter unsliced (the bread, not "one") is freshly baked and still warm from the oven.

The only thing this side of heaven that tastes better than freshly baked bread still warm from the oven is whole grain freshly baked bread with nuts and raisins, fresh from the oven.

One does not allow such bread to cool.

Especially if you made it with just a soupçon more sugar than the yeast really needs.
And if you don't like nuts, you can still grind some into powder for that rich, nutty taste.
Any butter will do, but bread like that is worth Kate's.
Traditionalists will want it with tea; real, not herbal, tea with honey to bring the tea and bread together …

I think I just gained five pounds.
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:04 PM
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Perhaps it is that people rarely order ONE pancake....usual order is a stack of 5 or a short stack of 3. So the idea might be that if something sells so well that buyers are buying several at once, then it would be selling like hot cakes.
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  #36  
Old 01-23-2014, 07:00 PM
Johnny Angel Johnny Angel is offline
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Stop right there.

The only bread appropriate for slicing (i.e. standard loaf, not round nor small elongated) that one is likely to encounter unsliced (the bread, not "one") is freshly baked and still warm from the oven.

The only thing this side of heaven that tastes better than freshly baked bread still warm from the oven is whole grain freshly baked bread with nuts and raisins, fresh from the oven.

One does not allow such bread to cool.
I don't necessarily disagree as such, but there is an opportunity cost to not ever having nice evenly sliced homemade bread to make an evenly grilled grilled cheese sandwich from. Warm bread likes to cling to the knife, forcing you to mangle it. And of course there is a price to pay for insisting on not having a sandwich of homemade bread at work the next day because you refuse to let bread get cool before it is completely ingested. Now, if they can make a USB bread oven accessory for the office...
  #37  
Old 01-24-2014, 08:24 PM
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I don't necessarily disagree as such, but there is an opportunity cost to not ever having nice evenly sliced homemade bread to make an evenly grilled grilled cheese sandwich from. Warm bread likes to cling to the knife, forcing you to mangle it. And of course there is a price to pay for insisting on not having a sandwich of homemade bread at work the next day because you refuse to let bread get cool before it is completely ingested. Now, if they can make a USB bread oven accessory for the office...
I was about to shut you down at "opportunity cost", because that term is just too cold to be used in reference to fresh baked bread, but then 'grilled cheese' caught my eye.

I will agree one can bake more bread than one can possibly eat while it is still warm, and so need to slice it.

For grilled cheese. A bit of Kate's in the pan, with a sprinkle of parmesan on the outside.
  #38  
Old 01-24-2014, 08:30 PM
tramp/oh-leen tramp/oh-leen is offline
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If you believe in your hotcakes and back it with product knowledge and hunger, they make a killing in sales. So much so.. now you can buy innovative hotcakes in a box, just add water. Brilliant! Still selling.
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