What Is Pancake Day All About?

I wrote this post exactly one year ago – and yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s Pancake Day again here in the U.K. So I decided to reblog this post and put the third quote of the challenge I’m doing on hold for a day.

Millie Thom

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This evening I cooked enough pancakes to sink a battleship. Everyone in our family loves the things, and we had several of our offspring round to join us (and save themselves the hassle of making and cooking them!) Naturally, being just ‘Mum’, I’ve got hours of spare time to cater for everyone! I wish!

Well, now I’ve just decided to write about where and when this tradition of stuffing ourselves stupid with pancakes started. So here’s the gist of it:

Shrove Tuesday – or Pancake Day – is exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday. It is called a moveable feast because it’s determined by the cycles of the moon. The date can be anywhere between February 3rd and March 9th and falls immediately before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

The word ‘shrove’ is derived from the English word, shrive – which means gaining absolution (forgiveness) for…

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About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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48 Responses to What Is Pancake Day All About?

  1. anroworld says:

    Very interesting and delicious!

  2. inesephoto says:

    Fascinating. I always make a couple of pancakes for myself. I see caviar in the picture 🙂 Some forty year ago I ate pancakes with caviar in Moscow 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Well, caviar wouldn’t be my first thought about pancakes! Lol I hope they tased good. Expensive, I should think. Still, it’s nice to try something different, now and then. Thanks for sharing that, Inese. 🙂

      • inesephoto says:

        I was too open minded, I guess 😉 The pancakes were paper tin, plain, and not expensive – a teaspoon of caviar didn’t cost much. Moscow was a fun place those days.

      • milliethom says:

        If you’ve done some posts in the past about Moscow, I’d love to read them. (I’ve just finished watching ‘War and Peace’ and have still got my Russian head on!)

      • inesephoto says:

        No, I have no posts. It was ages since I was there. A different era…
        How did you like War and Peace? I remember I was so sorry for almost every character in the movie.

      • milliethom says:

        That’s very much how I felt. There is so much sadness in the story. I watched the 1970’s series on TV and it was so much more detailed than this one. But the acting was excellent in this version. I was so upset when Andre died – even though I knew it would happen. I’d love to see Russia for myself.

      • inesephoto says:

        Millie, I am afraid it is a very different Russia… I am not planning any visits, but I have beautiful memories of Saint Petersburg from a trip with my Dad when I was fourteen. It was a tourist trip, and they also took us to the birth place o Pushkin, a Russian poet. I still remember how good was the ice cream in St Peterburg 🙂

      • milliethom says:

        I realise that Russia is very different now to the Russia you visited, Inese. I think we can probably say that about most countries. But I’d still love to see for myself – even if it’s just to get an ice cream in St. Petersburg. 🙂

      • inesephoto says:

        You would love the city, especially if you go in summer when it never gets dark.

      • milliethom says:

        Yes, St. Petersburg is a long way north, isn’t it? The light nights are something else I’d love to see. 🙂

      • inesephoto says:

        Oh these nights are amazing!

      • milliethom says:

        A ‘must see’ thing!

  3. Morgan Mills says:

    I love posts where you learn something new! Great post Millie :).
    I haven’t actually had a pancake this year. I forgot!

    • milliethom says:

      I confess that we’ve often forgotten, too, since the kids left home. But generally some of them come round and we have pancakes together. Me doing the cooking, of course! Thanks, Morgan. 🙂

  4. Joy Pixley says:

    I’m so glad you included the pictures. How could I not have realized until now that when you say “pancakes” in the UK you don’t mean the same thing as pancake in the US? My goodness! Not that we don’t have those, but I would call those crepes (and then I would eat them all up, yum). American pancakes include a leavening agent like baking soda or baking powder and the whole point is to get them tall and as fluffy as possible. Mm, now I want to eat some of those, too.

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks, Joy. I realised when I was writing this post last year that the pancakes in the US were very different. Ours are more like the French crepes, but not quite so thin. All pancakes are yummy! Unfortunately, eating too many isn’t good for the waistline. 🙂

  5. irinadim says:

    Yummy post, and such interesting history and customs, especially the Pancake Race. 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks, Irina. I find the history behind all customs and traditions very interesting, Irina. And so many countries keep their traditions alive each year – like the wassailing I wrote about in early January. I really enjoy writing about them all. Pancakes are delicious, that’s for sure.

      • irinadim says:

        My pleasure, Millie. Today I’ve tweeted it away. I couldn’t do it from my smartphone. Now I’m going to find the post on the wassailing.

      • milliethom says:

        Thank you so much for that, Irina! You are very kind-hearted. I’m just about getting the hang of Twitter, and am now ‘having a think’ about Facebook. I attempted to get that going 18 months ago, and abandoned it. So once I get back to my blogging break, I’ll attempt to put something interesting on it, and be sure to follow you. 🙂

  6. I love pancakes and yours look so delicious. What a fascinating post Millie, I really enjoyed it. 😉

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Lynne. There aren’t many people who don’t like pancakes around – even though different countries make them in different ways. They really are delicious. 🙂

  7. nowathome says:

    They really look so yummy!

  8. I never get round to pancakes on shrove Tuesday. Always seems too much phaff and too many calories for a Tuesday night.

    • milliethom says:

      Nick and I wouldn’t have pancakes at all (much as we love them) but some of our children like to keep the day as a ‘get together’. Pancakes are so calorific and any New Year diets go out the window!

  9. Interesting!!
    Hum, caviar and pancakes…now that is interesting.

  10. DG MARYOGA says:

    Delicious Pancakes,delightful post,dear Millie!Catholic Easter is earlier than our Greek Orthodox Easter,which is on the 1st of May,this year.Yours is on the 27th of March;they coincide every 3 or 4 years and I am sure you know the story behind the different Calendars (the Gregorian and the Julian ).They are movable feasts as you said and it has to do with the moon.Your own Ash Wednesday is our Clean or Pure Monday and it’s the first day of Lent.We don’t have any equivalent Shrove Tuesday.We,too,make Pancakes on Clean Monday and we serve them with treacle.Thank you for your “Sweet” post,I really enjoyed it,culture and tradition is our heritage and should keep and respect them especially now that globalisation is in progress and customs have started to fade.We are in danger of losing our National ID … Best wishes,enjoy your weekend 🙂

  11. I always learn from you Millie, but in a non-boring way!! I wish you’d been MY teacher! 😊

    Love, Hedgey
    xxx

    • milliethom says:

      Hello, Hedgey! Last time I checked your blog you hadn’t posted for a while, but that was before my own 3-week blogging break. I’m doing the rounds atm, trying to do a lillte bit of catching up. Thanks a million for the mention on Twitter! I’m gradually getting the hang of that now. I’m a slow old engine when it comes to anything remotely ‘techno’ and chug along at things until I build up some steam.
      I had some ‘fun’ lessons in my time. Learning comes so much easier when kids enjoy it. Pancake day is a great tradition, but I do thing it’s dying out (or is already dead!) in many homes. Pancakes can never be promoted as the healthiest food on the planet, and many working mothers don’t have time to make them, I suppose. That’s life. Love to you, too. 🙂

      • Howdy Millie! And welcome back after your little break! It’s a necessity in these busy times of year! I find a break from the hustle and bustle of the internet re-balances my equilibrium. 😊

        Pancake-wise, I don’t think they will go out of fashion in MY house. Maybe that’s because we are all piggy wigs, or maybe because we are traditionalists – I’ll let you decide!! 😂

        Nice to see you around the Interwebs again Millie – and don’t worry about Twitter & tech skills. It’s all just a lot of button-pressing after all! 😁

        Have a super-dooper weekend!

        Angela xx

      • milliethom says:

        Thanks Angela. Pancakes will never go out of fashion in our house, either. Good traditions are worth hanging on to. It’s not that we eat them every day, is it?
        And yes, i can press buttons along with the best of ’em! 😀

  12. I love pancakes! I didn’t know you were back hi!

  13. Great post Millie :). Those pan cakes are looking very delicious… My son love it very much 🙂

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