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What is Shrove Tuesday?

Next Tuesday we’ll all be tossing food around the kitchen to mark Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as it’s more commonly known. But why do we do it?

The name Shrove Tuesday comes from ‘shrive’, meaning absolution for sins by doing penance. It immediately precedes Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, so it’s all about ‘fat eating’ or ‘gorging’ before the fasting period of Lent leading up to Easter. In fact, in some countries the day is called Mardi Gras, which in French means ‘Fat Tuesday’. The day is moveable and always falls 47 days before Easter.

Pancakes are associated with Shrove Tuesday as it is a way of using up fatty foods in the kitchen before Lent. In the past, the idea was for families to clear out their cupboards and remove the fattening foods so they aren’t tempted to eat them during Lent.

If you’re wondering why we toss pancakes it looks like it’s a tradition dating back to to centuries ago. Cook books as far back as 1439 feature pancakes and the idea of tossing them is almost as old, “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne” (Pasquil’s Palin, 1619).

How do you eat yours?
Whether you want your pancakes traditional, gluten free, egg free, vegan or with a hit of booze, there’s hundreds of ways to make pancakes and it boils down to personal preference. We love ours with sugar and lemon, Nutella or golden syrup, basically anything that’s bad for us! How do you eat yours?

Here’s a great traditional pancake recipe for you to get spot on pancakes every time:
140g plain flour
200ml whole milk
2 eggs
25g unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra for greasing.

1. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Mix the milk and 100ml of water together. Break the eggs into the well and start whisking slowly. Add the milk and water in a steady stream, whisking constantly and gradually incorporating the flour as you do so.
2. Whisk until the batter is smooth and all the flour has been incorporated. Set the batter aside to rest for 30 minutes, then whisk the melted butter into the batter.
Heat the pan over a medium heat. Very lightly grease the pan with melted butter. Using a ladle, pour roughly 2 tbsp of batter into the pan and swirl it around so the bottom of the pan is evenly coated. Use just enough batter to make a delicate pancake. Cook the pancake for about 45 seconds on one side until golden and then, using a palette knife or fish slice, flip the pancake over and cook the other side for about 30 seconds until it freckles.
3. Slide the pancake out of the pan and either serve immediately or stack on a plate with baking parchment in between. Continue until all the batter is used up.

If you’re flippin’ crazy about pancakes, check out these events!

Beverley Pancakes Races – Sunday, 11th February
Beverley Town Council and the Rotary Club of Beverley are joining together to organise a fundraising Pancake Race in the town centre on Sunday, February 11th at Butcher Row and Wednesday Market, starting at 11am. Teams from local pubs, businesses and organisations who want to take part can contact the town clerk on 01482 874096 or email The entrance fee is £10 for a team of four, although you can donate more if you wish. The money will be split between a number of local charities. There will be competitions for individuals and schools also.

Scarborough’s Annual Pancake Race – Tuesday, 13th February
Scarborough’s Annual Pancake Race is more than just your standard pancake race, each duo will not only be judged on their sheer speed but also on their fancy dress, pancake flipping technique and how much pancake they have left in their pan after tackling the obstacle course! The worthy winners will be taking home the much coveted ‘Golden Frying Pan’. 12pm start on Foreshore Road, South Bay. Grab a mate and register at

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