A Short History of Pancake Day

Photo Credit: ‘Pancakes With Strawberries and Blueberries On Top’ by Dmytro on Pexels (view license)

Everybody knows about Christmas and Easter, but not so many people know about Britain’s third favourite festival of the year – Pancake Day.

Officially ‘Shrove Tuesday’, Pancake Day is a Christian festival which serves as a Feast Day before Lent, the forty-day fast leading up Easter.

Based on the lunar calendar, Pancake Day falls on a different Tuesday every year. In 2020, the delicious festival will be celebrated on the 25th of February. 

While most people from outside the UK think of thick, American-style pancakes or the thin, savoury offerings from Asia when they hear ‘Pancake day’, British pancakes are more like French crȇpes, sweet offerings made of flour, eggs and milk.

Photo Credit: ‘Pancake day’ by Magnus D on Flickr (view licence)

The ingredients are mixed together before being delicately cooked in a frying pan, then topped with anything you want! British favourites are lemon and sugar, chocolate syrup, ice-cream, and banana.

Shrove Tuesday was the last chance for families to use their eggs before the Lent fast, so pancakes are the perfect quick dishes to cook quickly at home – try out the family-favourite activity of tossing the pancake in mid-air before catching it in the pan!

Photo credit: ‘Person Cooking Pancake on Black Frying Pan’ by cottonbro on Pexels (view license)
First recorded in cook books as early as 1439, pancakes are the perfect sweet treat to cook at home!

If you don’t fancy putting your culinary skills to the test, there’ll be plenty of restaurants and cafés celebrating the feast day in your local city, so get to town and start gorging!

Where can I pick up the perfect pancake?

If you’re in Edinburgh, head to The City Cafe, an American-style 1920s diner, for a slightly less-than-traditional Shrove Tuesday. Their American pancakes are drizzled in syrup and topped with bacon, a delicious way to start the day. 

Leeds is home to the charming IF coffee house and award-winning Le Chalet tea house, where you can feast on Nutella-drenched pancakes all day long. Le Chalet even offers savoury pancakes for people with less of a sweet tooth.

The Club House in Liverpool have made a special version of their famous ‘Hanging Kebabs’ to celebrate Pancake Day in a unique, Instagram-ready way.  While if you’re in London, don’t just eat pancakes – you can head to Bankside to see the annual Pancake Day race, where chefs have to make it past the post while carrying a pan. 

People living in Loughborough and Nottingham have to head to The Warsaw Diner to sample the Midlands’ tastiest pancakes, but be careful! The famous venue gets very crowded, very quickly. Luckily, Annie’s Burger Shack, Nottingham’s Rhode Island-style diner, will be serving up American pancakes to the hungry crowds. If you’re really hungry, try ‘The Vermonter’ burger, a whole dinner based on the dessert. 
The Cabin is Sheffield’s only specialist pancake place, and there’s no better place to enjoy the snack than in a cozy setting inspired by mountainous scenery and log cabins. And if you’re in Manchester, you have to check out The Shack Bar and Grill, which will be serving bottomless pancakes and cocktails to celebrate the occasion.

Berry Natural’ at The Cabin, Sheffield. Photo used with permission.

Happy Pancake Day from all of us at Citylife!

This post has been written by Matteo Everett

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