Pancake Day – What is it and How Can You Celebrate?

I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t like pancakes, and why is this? Because they are so versatile. Pancakes can have any toppings, don’t like jam? Try syrup. Don’t like syrup? Try lemon and sugar. Don’t like lemon and sugar? Try Nutella. The list really can go on forever.

And on this monumental holiday, (can you tell I’m obsessed?) I found myself wondering why do we have a day dedicated to pancakes, of all foods of the year, and why is this day so widely celebrated? I mean, national pizza day flies by with no problem, donut day, bread day, but pancake day is an event that captures the hearts of so many. Why?

Well, pancake day falls on Shrove Tuesday, which makes it the official day to use up your ingredients in time for Lent to roll around. In the past, Lent usually meant fasting. On Shrove Tuesday, Christians were called to confession, and a bell was rung to call people to church. This bell, nicknamed the Pancake Bell, is still rung today.

So where do pancakes come in? It is known as the last day to use up your eggs and fats before embarking on fast, and pancakes are usually the best way to use up these ingredients. They have been seen in cookery books since 1439, and the tradition of flipping them is almost as old.

In Olney in Buckinghamshire, in accordance with 1445 tradition, the woman of Olney heard the bell whilst making her pancakes and ran to church in her apron carrying her frying pan. Now, the traditional race is still famous, and the competitors must be housewives in hats, aprons, and scarves. They run carrying a hot pancake, flipping it three times during the race. The first woman to finish the course, serves her pancake to the bellringer and is kissed by him.

Traditionally in most British households, it’s celebrated a bit more lowkey, with pancakes being eaten for dessert or breakfast, as a treat. But in my family, where pancakes are very much celebrated all year round, this day comes as a special day to celebrate our favourite food with no guilt.

Here’s what is on the menu:

B R E A K F A S T :

Start the day off right with American style, fluffy pancakes. Top with a berry compote and Greek yoghurt, as well as fresh fruit for an extra delicious breakfast feast. American pancakes will add a different sort of texture, flavour and make your day a little more interesting.

L U N C H :

Make savoury plain crepes, and top with fried smoked salmon, eggs and a light cream sauce for an extra delicious dinner. Honestly, I wasn’t sure this would go together, but after trying, there isn’t crepes that are more refreshing then these savoury ones.

T E A :

For dinner, make baked pancakes, stuffed with ricotta, chicken and spinach in a creamy sauce. I particularly like this recipe by Food 52. Its honestly just the perfect savoury crepes that will tickle your tastebuds in your biggest pancake dreams.

S U P P E R :

Sweet pancakes are the best way to go here. After being all pancaked out by this point, the best option is sweet pancakes you can purchase in your local supermarket, the ones that you keep in the fridge for a perfect end to a perfect day. Heat up in the pan with a splash of Cointreau and a good squeeze of fresh orange or opt for your pancake to be smothered in a layer of Nutella. For a perfect pancake day done right.

Published by Heather Dalgleish

21-year-old journalism student. Author and illustrator for In Full Bloom Magazine

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