We all love them, but where did they come from? – History of the Staffordshire oatcake

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Bacon? Cheese? Or maybe even golden syrup? No matter how you eat your oatcake, there’s no denying us Stokies definitely have our oatcakes and eat them.

And the delights are so famous around the city that an ‘Oatcake Day’ was created back in 2010 for these tasty treats.

But just why are we obsessed with the oat filled snack, and just where did Staffordshire’s obsession come from?

The Staffordshire Oatcake, most definitely not to be confused with the Scottish Oatcake (should it even be classed as an oatcake when it’s more of a Scottish biscuit?) can be found to date back to the 19th century.

Traditionally, they were baked on a hot plate over an open fire.

Locals would often fulfil their oatcake fix by visiting ‘Hole in the Wall’ producers – essentially the open window of a house which would sell to customers. Unfortunately for dedicated Stokies, the last ‘Hole in the Wall’ producer was closed down in 2012.

But just exactly where the local delicacies date back from is still disputed.

Some believe that during the expansion of pottery and mining during the industrial revolution, coal-fired bakestones would churn out thousands of oatcakes to satisfy the workers – booming the oatcake making business into a cottage industry.

Whereas others believe oatcakes first began when farmers in areas such as Derbyshire and Lancashire grew an abundance of oats and of course the oatcake became central to the diets of locals.

Another popular myth dates back to British Colonial India. Some say the Staffordshire oatcake is a distant cousin of the poppadom of the Asian subcontinent. Apparently local soldiers took such a liking to poppadoms that they tried to imitate them when they returned home using local ingredients, and of course, the oatcake we’ve come to love was the result!

So, where do you think the oatcake originated from?

(Image courtesy of Creative Commons)

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