Pancake Day

Once a pagan ritual, adopted by Christians into their calendar to mark the beginning of Lent and today a chance to boost the sales of lemon juice, Pancake Day is commonly celebrated throughout the land. But what's the best topping?

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Pancake Day

Pancake Day

A pancake, served with corned beef hash and piccallili. Delicious!


For most people today Pancake Day is another celebration of gluttony and a reason to break out a frying pan. At school, most Britons are taught about the day's association with the Christian tradition with the festival of Lent. Governed by the vagaries of the Christian calendar around, the date of Pancake Day varies from year to year.

Lent is a notionally a period of forty days of fasting, but is more commonly used as a time in which people abstain from something - perhaps alcohol or a particular kind of food or activity. As such, Pancake Day is seen as an indulgent precursor to Lent - a final blowout of excess. Hence, Pancake Day has an official Christian name of Shrove Tuesday. Shrove as a word is derived from the old English 'Shrive', which means to repent or confess to one's sins.

In fact like many allegedly Christian traditions, it can be traced back to Pagan rituals in the pre-Christian era. In eastern Europe, it remains a pagan festival - the pancake representing the 

Pancake Day Dates
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2016Tuesday Feb 9th
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2017Tuesday Feb 28th
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2018Tuesday Feb 13th
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2019Tuesday March 5th
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2020
  1. Tuesday Feb 25th
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2021Tuesday Feb 16th
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2022Tuesday March 1st
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2023Tuesday February 21st
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2024Tuesday February 13th
Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday 2025Tuesday March 4th

Perfect Pancake Batter


  • 1 egg
  • 100gm / 4oz flour
  • pint / 500ml milk
  • Pinch salt
  • Butter for frying
  • Teaspoon olive oil


    1. Beat egg into flour
    2. Stir in milk gradually
    3. When mixture has reached a smooth consistency add a pinch of salt
    4. Heat olive oil in pan
    5. Melt butter in hot oil
    6. Wait until oil/butter is bubbling
    7. Pour mixture into pan, covering the base
    8. Cook for 3 minutes until golden brown
    9. Flip pancake and cook other side

    Pancake Toppings

    The subject of the ideal pancake topping is hotly debated. Modern innovations such as chocolate spread, ice cream and maple syrup have become staples for the sweet-toothed, displacing to some degree old favourites such as lemon juice and sugar.

    Savoury pancakes are also popular - pancakes can be served with stews or hashes (in the accompanying photograph, the pancake is topped with corned beef hash and piccallili) or rolled and filled with cheese or seafood.

    As for your humble author, I subscribe to a to a topping combination which must surely have originated in a time of forgotten austerity: vinegar and sugar. Don't knock it till you've tried it!

    Comments and Discussion

    Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 18th February 2015 | © Weird Island 2010-2020
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