Pancake Day Has Been Around For A Lot Longer Than You Thought

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, will be here. As CNN explained in 2020, Shrove Tuesday is like Mardi Gras and other such holidays — the last Tuesday before the Lenten season. 

The particular pancake aspect derived from a tradition in which the people of Southern England responded to Pope St. Gregory's prohibition of meat and other animal products during Lent at around 600 AD. by using them all up in the week prior. The pancakes were made from the eggs, milk, and butter that would otherwise have gone bad. This practice reportedly spread through Europe, thus instituting celebrations like Mardi Gras.

Historic UK lists other ways in which people celebrate Pancake Day. These include pancake races in which competitors ferry a pancake in a frying pan while wearing an apron and hat and tossing the pancake three times. At Westminster School, they conduct a Pancake Grease in which a massive pancake is hurled over a wall for boys to squabble over the pieces with the one having found the biggest chunk receives cash.

Making pancakes for Pancake Day

English pancakes resemble crepes more than the puffy American variety. As The Spruce Eats explains, this is because English pancakes aren't leavened. They differ from crepes though in that crepes are larger, thinner, and are only cooked on one side.

Making these pancakes, however, is relatively easy. The Spruce Eats says to sieve flour into a bowl and plop eggs in a central crater of the flour. Beat. Then, add milk and butter while continuing to beat. Dollop the batter onto a frying pan, spreading it until thin. When golden, flip and cook for a further 30 seconds.

You can, of course, add more ingredients into the batter or to serve as toppings, such as Lavender & Lovage's suggestion of jams and lemon curd. Or, as Olive Magazine writes, you can go the savory route with ham and cheese, among others. After all, the very holiday is meant as a final indulgence before cutting off such decadence.