Shrove (aka Fat) Tuesday

What the frac?

What’s all this fuss about Shrove (aka Fat) Tuesday? What exactly is it and why does anyone need to know about it?

Shrove Tuesday is the term used in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Australia. [1]

In Ireland, the UK, and amongst Anglicans, Lutherans and possibly other Protestant denominations in Canada, including Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, this day is also known as Pancake Tuesday, because it has been customary to eat pancakes on this day. [1]

In other parts of the Christian world — for example, in France, in Belgium and historically French-speaking Catholic parts of the United States and elsewhere — this day is called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, again, in reference to eating special foods before the fasting season of Lent. In Poland and areas with large Polish-immigrant Christian populations, for example, Chicago, it is known as Tłusty Czwartek (literally: Fat Thursday) and celebrated on the Thursday before Lent. And in areas with German Christian traditions populations, such as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, it is known as Fasnacht Day (also spelled Fausnacht Day, Fauschnaut Day, and Fosnacht Day). [1]

In Sweden, where it is called Fettisdagen and also White Tuesday (and in Finland where it is called Fastlagstisdag), it is traditional to eat “fastlagsbullar” or “fettisdagsbullar” (Fat Tuesday buns).  In Brazil it’s called Terça-feira gorda (Fat Tuesday – the final day of Brazilian Carnival), in Greece, Apocreas (means “from the meat” since they don’t eat meat during Lent either). In Sweden, the day is known as Fettisdagen, in Iceland, Sprengidagur (Bursting day) and in Italy, Martedi Grasso. [1-1]

Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras or fetter Dienstag) is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Since Lent is a time of abstinence, traditionally of meat, fat, eggs and dairy products (one wonders what was left) Shrove Tuesday’s menu was designed to use up all the fat, eggs and dairy products left in the kitchen and storeroom. It is also a ‘feast’ to prepare for the time of ‘famine’ in the desert. In some cultures, it is traditional to eat as much as possible on Shrove Tuesday, sometimes up to 12 times a day. [2]

The English term “shrovetide” (from “to shrive”, or hear confessions) is explained by a sentence in the Anglo-Saxon “Ecclesiastical Institutes” translated from Theodulphus by Abbot Aelfric (q.v.) about A.D. 1000: “In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then my hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]“. [2]

In many traditions, Lent is a time for cleaning, in preparation for Easter and spring. First your soul, then your kitchen, then the rest of the house was cleansed and purified of the past year’s accumulations. Old clothes are mended, and new clothes purchased at this time of year. In the Ukraine, houses were whitewashed inside and out during Lent. In this way, everything was made ready to face the season of Salvation and Rebirth. Traditions of ’spring cleaning’ stem from this religious observance. [2]

This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on February 24th.


Fraccers is pleased to provide you with all the information you need, to make your Shrove Tuesday pretty Fat!

The pancake is a thin flat cake made from batter and fried on a griddle or in a skillet. The batter usually consists of eggs, flour, milk or water and oil or melted butter. The recipe for the batter often varies to include such ingredients as buttermilk, sugar and sourdough starter. Whether they are called pancakes, griddlecakes, flapjacks, wheatcakes, or flannel cakes, they are among our most popular food choices. Pancakes, in one form or another, are found in almost every culture. [3]

The first ready-mix food to be sold commercially was Aunt Jemima pancake flour. It was invented in St. Joseph, Missouri and introduced in 1889. It did not become popular until 1893 at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, when the then current owners of the name and formula, R. T. Davis Milling Company hired Nance Green to be the ‘real life’ Aunt Jemima. She demonstrated the pancake mix at the Exposition, and both Nancy Green and the mix were a big hit. [3]

World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast:

In 1986, an event that bills itself as the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast was revived for the 350th anniversary of Springfield, Massachusetts. The breakfast has been held every year since then. Hundreds of volunteers help with the event. In 1999, more than 71,233 servings of pancakes were served to more than 40,000 people. If you stacked up all those pancakes, they’d be more than 2 miles high! [3]

Check out the following list of fabulous recipes, and if you can’t find something to make you happy there, perhaps a brand-spankin’ new  recipe book is in order?

  • English Pancake Recipe
  • Farinata: Pancakes Ligurian Style
  • Chocolate Pancakes (crepe-like, British pancake style)
  • Bacon and Chive Pancakes (crepe-like, British pancake style)
  • Pancake Recipes (this is a goldmine of pancake recipes…)
  • The Best Pancake Recipe Ever!
  • Potato Pancakes
  • Protein Powder Pancake Recipes
  • Another Pancake Goldmine

Whichever recipe you choose, make sure you have the right pan for making the perfect pancake. You don’t have to have an electric griddle, a griddle pan will also do. Some still prefer the basic skillet-type pan, just make sure it’s large enough and has a heavy enough bottom that you’ll get great connection to the heat source.

  1. IHOP is offering free pancakes Tuesday to celebrate National Pancake Day.

According to the company’s Web site, U.S. locations will celebrate Fat Tuesday by offering customers a free stack of three buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at all locations throughout the country. IHOP asks that customers instead donate the cost of the meal to a local children’s hospitals assigned through Children’s Miracle Network, an alliance of children’s hospitals throughout the United States.

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