Take this conversation from a couple of years back. Thom and I know and love Oatcakes, but James had never heard of them and was getting very confused.
Thom: You're from Staffordshire so you know of the oatcake don't you?
Me: Yes I do. I love them.
Thom: So do I. We come from the right area of the world.
James: An oatcake?
James: What do you mean? A cake with oats in it?
Thom: What do you like best in them?
Me: Oh I don't know. There's so much you can put in them but they're really nice with cheese in.
Thom: Oatcake and melted cheese. Gorgeous.
James: With cheese in it?!
Needless to say that the oatcake is not a cake with oats in it. The Staffordshire Oatcake is actually a pancake made with oats. Very fine oats, but a pancake with oats none the less, hence it's name 'oatcake'. I should point out that these oatcakes should not be confused with the Scottish Oatcakes or Rough Oatcakes which are really a type of cracker/savoury biscuit.
The Staffordshire Oatcake looks like this:
Bit different to what you normally see isn't it. Essentially you can put anything in an oatcake, but we find that savoury fillings work best. Personally, I couldn't even imagine putting anything sweet in one, but that's just me. Fillings wise you could literally put anything you wanted in there, from healthy to unhealthy, if you want it, you can put it in an oatcake. One of the favourite fillings is cheese or cheese and something. It's so easy to do as well: a quick snack.
I don't know what these oatcakes have got in them, but from here they look rather tasty.
I am however greatly disappointed with the small article on Wikipedia about oatcakes though. I would like to point out that while packets of them normally say 'North Staffordshire Oatcakes' I don't think that I have ever heard them referred to as Potteries Oatcakes, inside or outside the county. I am also slightly annoyed that the Staffordshire Oatcake would be referred to as a Potteries Oatcake, when the Potteries is part of Stoke on Trent and does not give the county it's name, because that would be Stafford, ironically enough. I am also annoyed that the person who wrote the Wikipedia article has only commented that oatcakes will only be known by people in the Potteries or south Cheshire as oatcakes. I can fully say that they are referred to as oatcakes by people in the rest of the county, thank you very much. I am also getting increasingly annoyed that people only seem to mention Stoke when it comes to Staffordshire Oatcakes. I know that most are made in Stoke, but you can find them elsewhere. This article is actually fairly good, even if it does only talk about the linear city....
Anyway, it is true that people used to make oatcakes and sell them out of their windows to people on the street. There are now oatcake shops again in Stoke, though where I'm not quite sure. I know we don't have any around here, but we can get oatcakes in the supermarket quite easily (even if they do keep trying to discontinue them).
Have I made you hungry yet? If you go into the supermarket and see a packet would you get some to try? What would you have on your oatcake?