Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is a special day celebrated in English-speaking countries around the world. While it is not a public holiday, it is widely celebrated in countries such as the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada. In France, the US and other countries, the same day is called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. On Pancake Day many people eat pancakes. In the UK, they are thin, flat and unleavened, resembling a French crêpe. The batter is fried and the pancake is tossed in the air. Ideally, it is caught flat in the same pan and fried on the other side. UK pancakes are usually eaten rolled up with a sweet or savoury filling inside. In the US and Canada, pancakes are a popular breakfast food and eaten all year round. A leavening agent is used (typically baking powder) creating a thick fluffy pancake. Maple syrup or chocolate sauce are both popular toppings.
Pancake Day is always on a Tuesday in February or March and is the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Lent is a period of forty days before Easter when people often give up or stop eating things that are bad for them, like chocolate or fast food. At the end of Lent is Easter. Easter takes place on a different date each year because it depends on the moon. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. Traditionally, during Lent, people didn’t eat rich foods like butter and eggs, so to use these ingredients up they made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.
Another tradition on Pancake Day in the UK is pancake racing. People run in a race with a pancake in a pan. As they run, they have to toss the pancake several times. In some pancake races people dress up in fancy dress costumes. The most famous pancake race takes place in a town called Olney in Buckinghamshire in the English Midlands. People say that Olney has been celebrating pancake races since 1445!
Pancakes are very easy to make. Try this recipe.
- One cup* of flour
- Some butter or oil
- One cup of milk
- Lemon juice
- One large egg
- Some sugar
- Some salt
- Fill one cup with flour and put it into a bowl.
- Fill another cup with milk and pour it in.
- Crack the egg into the bowl and whisk the flour, milk and egg until the mixture is smooth.
- Put a very small amount of butter or oil in a pan, and when it is hot, put some mixture in the pan and move the pan to make a thin pancake.
- After one minute, hold the pan carefully and throw or toss the pancake in the air to turn it over. Now cook the pancake on the other side.
- When the pancake is ready, squeeze some lemon juice and put some sugar on it and eat it immediately. If you don’t like lemon juice, eat it with jam, chocolate or even ice cream.
* cup: a unit of capacity equal to 237 milliliters or 16 tablespoons.