Shrove Tuesday, more commonly known as Pancake Day, marks the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Traditionally, pancakes were created to use up any stocks of milk, butter and eggs which were forbidden during the abstinence of this period before Easter.
Differing from American-style pancakes, the British-style pancakes (pictured above) are thin and more crepe-like and traditionally served with a sprinkling of caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.
In many countries, the day is known as Mardi Gras or ‘Fat Tuesday’ to mark the tradition of using up all the fattening foods before lent. Mardi Gras carnivals and celebrations are held throughout the world, most famously in Rio de Janiero and New Orleans.
The most famous pancake race is held in the small town of Olney in Buckinghamshire, England. Legend has it that in 1445, a mother cooking her pancakes heard the chime of the church bells and ran to the service still in her apron, frying pan in hand! Nowadays, to prove they are not cheating, racers must toss their hot pancake three times during the race to be eligible to win!
Another interesting Pancake Day custom, held each year at London’s prestigious Westminster School, is known as the ‘Pancake Greaze’. The head cook makes a substantial pancake, reinforced with horse hair, and tosses it over a 15ft high iron bar. The students, assembled below, scramble for a piece of the pancake and whoever has the largest piece wins a gold coin from the Dean.
The most flips anyone has ever done with a pancake is 349 in two minutes and the highest pancake toss reached 329cm.
The world record for the largest pancake was set in Rochdale, England in 1994, by the Co-Operative Union, Ltd. Measuring 15.01 m (49 ft 3 in) in diameter and 2.5 cm (1 in) thick, the pancake weighed 3 tonnes (6,614 lb), and took two cranes to flip.
Wondering where you can get some flippin’ good British-style pancakes in NYC? Join us on 28th February at The Churchill and get your fix of complimentary British pancakes, drink specials and good conversation. This event is an OPEN HOUSE, so spread the word and bring friends along for a FREE introduction to GEORGE. Click here for more details.
Make your own British-style pancakes using this easy recipe.