A German Farmer Made Messy Pancakes For An Emperor And Now It's A Whole Thing

Some of the greatest dishes known to mankind have actually been entirely accidental discoveries. Take for example the chocolate chip cookie. When Ruth Wakefield's Butter Drop Do cookies made from melted chocolate and cookie dough went wrong, the Massachusetts-based lodge owner gave the world the famous chocolate chip cookie.

The first popsicle was invented by a distracted 11-year-old who mixed water with soda powder and forgot all about it till it turned into a frozen icicle the next day. Even champagne was originally brewed as a wine to compete with the one produced in the Burgundy region of France. The cold weather of the Champagne region led to an unanticipated secondary fermentation causing the wine bottles to explode and it was only when sturdier bottles were made that the fizzy bubbles were discovered to be enjoyable.

The pancake, however, was no such accident. In fact, historians believe that a denser version of the modern-day pancake may very well have existed 30,000 years ago in the prehistoric era (via National Geographic). But while pancakes have been around virtually forever, its many regional versions have not. The German Kaiserschmarrn, for one, was a delicious accident. Translating to the emperor's mess in English, Kaiserschmarrn is a type of pancake popular in Germany and Austria.

The scrambled pancake that won the emperor's favor

Two separate legends lay claim to the origin of Kaiserschmarrn, but they both have in common one thing: the pancake was most certainly, unintentional. According to one legend, a pastry chef in the royal kitchen went about trying to whip up a new dessert inspired by an omelet for the emperor and the empress (via Vienna Trips). Not anticipating the perplexed reaction from the king and queen, the chef spontaneously named his goof-up Kaiserschmarrn or the emperor's mess — "kaiser" being the German word for the emperor and "schmarrn" the name of a dish made by tearing up baked goods into smaller pieces.

Another legend claims that Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria was once caught in bad weather in the Alps and took shelter with a farmer. Flustered by the presence of the emperor, the farmer's wife accidentally made a mess of the pancake meant for him. The king, however, happened to be pleasantly surprised by the scrambled pancake and called it the Kaiserschmarrn.

While the facts may now be lost in time, Kaiserschmarrn is eaten as a shredded pancake mixed with other ingredients. The pancake itself is either baked or fried and can sometimes be topped with raisins. Once cooked, the pancake is torn into small pieces, topped with powdered sugar, and then tossed in a pan till the sugar caramelizes. The accidental pancake that once won the emperor's favor is now often served with fruit compote, roasted plums, and applesauce.