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The History & Tradition of Pancake Day

Tuesday 8th March 2011

Today is Shrove Tuesday which is the last day of the Christian period of the year that’s called Lent. During Lent, Christians are forbidden to eat certain foods and these include the ingredients of pancakes, fat, butter and eggs, which are why traditionally, pancakes are eaten on Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day. It was a way to use up the forbidden fat, butter, cream and eggs before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after.

Lent is a Christian festival leading up to Easter, and the word shrove is derived from the old word ’shrive’ meaning confess.  Other countries and religions around the world have their own unique ways of celebrating the last day before Lent begins, but in the UK it is generally accepted as a day to indulge in pancake eating.

Tossing the pancakes has become a huge part of the celebrations too. In fact, as well as the obvious requirement to cook the batter on both sides by flipping the pancakes over in the frying pan, for those who have perfected the art of pancake tossing there are now records to break, and competitions to win. Most of the fun of making pancakes comes at the point where it needs to be flipped over, so don’t simply reach for your nearest spatula, grab your oven mitt, brace your stance, and throw that pancake into the air. Just make sure you’ve practised catching the pancake again a few times first, and avoid the hitting ceiling.

 

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