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?

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.)

What was the greatest thing *before *sliced bread?

If I had to make a wild guess, probably beer :smiley:

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!

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.

“These latkes are going like hotcakes!” -Kramer

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.

More answers here.

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.

Customers are buying them by the stack.

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.

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. :smiley:

Leavened bread. People were getting damn tired of eating crackers.

Didn’t that win an Ignoble a few years ago?

I’m not sure where I heard the story, but perhaps it was an Ignobel winner. It’s certainly absurd enough.

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…

Did you hear about the new cemetery? People are just dying to get in there.

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.

Of course everyone knows that you can’t have your cake and eat it - hot or cold.