Every dog has his day, but for Patch, Pancake Day was not it. (Kindly sent
in by Jason E)
Jenny Loves Her Pancakes
One February Jenny went to her psychiatrist. She told him, "My
friends said that I had to come see you because they think I have a problem
The psychiatrist says, "Why do they think that?"
"Well," Jenny replies. "Because, I just like pancakes."
"That's not a problem," the psychiatrist responds. "I love griddle cakes
"Really?!" the Jenny exclaims. "Then you should come to my house, I have
a whole attic full of pancakes!"
Pancake Joke For April Fool's Day
On April 1st John's mother put a fire cracker under the pancakes.
She blew her stack.
When Is Shrove Tuesday in
2014? - 4th March
Remember that it's Easter that fixes the date for Shrove Tuesday.
working backwards, we have Lent with its 40 days of fasting before we get to Easter. Now Lent starts on Ash Wednesday,
so the day before is when cooks use up all the 'naughty foods'. In the olden days
two 'naughty foods', which are not allowed
in Lent, would be butter
and eggs - ideal for making pancakes. Hence Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake
Curiously, when calculating Lent, Sundays don't count, hence Shrove Tuesday
is actually 47 days before Easter Sunday.
Dates for Shrove Tuesday
The earliest possible date for Shrove Tuesday is the 3rd of February, while the
latest possible date is the 9th of March.
Shroving is a ancient British custom in which children sang or recited
poetry in exchange for food or money. A popular shroving rhyme went like
Knock, knock, the pan's hot And we are coming a-shroving For a
piece of pancake Or a piece of bacon Or a piece of truckle* cheese
Of your own making.
*Truckle cheese is barrel shaped and is often mature Cheddar.
Some Tasty International Pancakes Brought to you by Will and Steve
America (USA): We believe that American style
pancakes are particularly thick or fluffy, and best served with Vermont
maple syrup and butter. Some American cooks add a little vanilla,
while others add blueberries; most also add baking powder to create their
'griddlecakes'. Also Mardi Gras.
Canada: Canadian pancakes are moister than American ones
but still served with maple syrup.
China: Chinese pancakes are fried in sesame oil
and are apparently superb with duck.
Finland: Finnish pancakes are ideal for people
with a sweet tooth, these should be served with jam, whipped cream, berries,
cinnamon and sugar, honey or maple syrup.
France: Will can support the fact that the French
excel at crepes [sweet] and galettes [savoury] and often served with a
bowl of local cider.
Germany: The Germans tend to make apple pancakes
which are baked in the oven. They also have 'Puff' pancakes, which
look like English 'Yorkshire Puddings'.
India: Indian pancakes sound scrummy; savoury pancakes
are prepared with ginger, garlic and cayenne. Mung beans may also be part of
Italy: Calzonia are common in Italy, they are more like
an enclosed pizza than an English pancake.
Mexico: The renowned Mexican pancake equivalent is the
wheat tortilla; Will has also eaten them made from maize [cornmeal].
Netherlands: 'Flensjes' are crepe cakes, usually made
with apples and occasionally rhubarb.
Nigeria: Nigerian pancakes are often served with beans,
tomatoes and shrimp, making a complete meal.
Norway: 'Krumkakes' are thin, crisp, cone-shaped
cookie-like crepes, often served at Christmas. They are sometimes made with
a special flat iron which leaves a decorative pattern.
Poland: Will and Guy's friend, Kinga Sadkowska, tells
them that Polish pancakes, 'Nalesniki', are thin crepes which are usually
served with a special cottage cheese filling. Lovely.
Russia: The regular Russian the pancake of choice is the
'blini': which is small and thick, ideal with sour cream or caviar.
Sweden: The Swedish Raggmunk is made from riced
Welsh: The Welsh make their pancakes with buttermilk or
Perhaps you are able to add to this list? We would like to get to
20 types of pancakes.? If so, please let us know. We
particularly prize funny pancakes.
Why Pancake Day is Celebrated Less in the USA
Much of America celebrates Mardi Gras on the day before Lent. That's
the same day as Shrove Tuesday, and as there is no contest between pancakes
and a parade followed by a party, Shrove Tuesday gets overlooked anywhere
where they celebrate Mardi Gras. Incidentally 'Mardi' is the French
for Tuesday and Gras means fat, hence 'Fat Tuesday'.
In modern English, the word 'Shrove' has no meaning outside of pancake or
Shrove Tuesday. Academics can trace shrove to the past tense of the verb
shrive, which itself means absolution. This derivation helps to cement the
meaning of eating up luxury food before the penance of fasting during Lent.
If you bring to mind other old words such as Yuletide (Christmas) and
Eastertide, then it will be no surprise that there are lesser known '-tides',
Allhallowtide (Halloween), Whitsuntide (Whitson) and Shrovetide. My point
is that Shrove Tuesday is the last day of Shrovetide.
Shrovetide football in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England is something different,
a unique game. On Shrove Tuesday, and also on Ash Wednesday, the Up'ards play the Down'ards,
it's a no holds barred game of football with the goals three miles apart.
Instead of a kick-off, Shrovetide has a 'turning up' where a dignitary throws
the special ornate ball into the crowd and the game starts. The event
first came to the wider public's notice when in 1928 the then Prince of Wales
(Later abdicating King Edward VIII) got caught up in the mêlée. Without
modern-day protection officers he got sucked into the scrum and came out with
his nose bleeding.
The only rules are:
You must not intentionally cause harm to others
No hiding the ball in bags or rucksacks
No trespassing, especially in churchyards.
The 2010 game was of the most controversial for some years. Eventually
the committee decided that at the end of day one Dave Spencer's goal be
disallowed because it was "goalled" AFTER the 22.00 deadline. The amended
result was a 1:1 draw.
In 2008 there was a sensation when the Up'ards were accused of cheating by
having a counterfeit decoy ball. Each year a new ball is crafted with most
ornate design. The Down'ards claim that a crucial time they were
distracted by this fake impostor of a ball. To get any progress along the
3 mile pitch you need brains and subterfuge, as well as brawn and speed; selling
the proverbial dummy is OK, but introducing another ball threatens the integrity
of the game. The stewards' enquiry is likely to rumble on.
Many people mistakenly think that ghosts are only found in derelict
mansions and graveyards. Furthermore, they think they only appear at night
and only when there are few living humans around and subsequently,
therefore, feel safe in city centres and crowded places. The fact of the
matter is, however, that dead people have similar predilections to living
Thanks to Adrian Tierney-Jones and The Telegraph online for researching
these lovely old games. It's interesting how they are all held on
Pancake Day, and all involve a large number of people over much greater
distances than modern football pitches. These games seem timeless in
both senses of the word.
The Ball Game Atherstone, Warwickshire, England
According to Harold H Taft, secretary of the Ball Game Committee, this
rough, tough game (that uses something akin to a medicine ball) has its
roots in the time of King John. "The game is a free-for-all and anyone can
take part," he says, adding pointedly, "...at their own risk." The ball is
thrown from a first floor window at Barclays Bank and the first battle is to
claim one of three ribbons attached to the ball. The ball is then kicked up
and down the street and after 90 minutes a massive scrum forms with whoever
ends up with the ball at 5pm being declared the winner. "To an outsider it
can look quite dangerous," agrees Taft with a sage smile. Kick-off: 3pm.
The Shrove Tuesday Football Ceremony of the Purbeck Marblers Corfe
Castle, Dorset, England
Members of the Company of Marblers and Stone Cutters of Purbeck gather at
The Fox for their annual meeting and lunch. Afterwards they kick a football
(it used to be a pig's bladder) through West Street over an open piece of
ground and back to the town hall. The "game" is much more subdued that it
used to be (records from the Fifties recall broken windows). "Now we tend to
stand back and let the traffic go," says stone mason Brian Bugler, who has
been playing for 30 years. This game is confined to the men who work in the
trade - from 15-30 take part. In 1992, a local policeman ignorant of the
tradition confiscated the ball. Kick-off: 1.30pm
Cornish Hurling St Columb, Cornwall, England
The "pitch" is a massive 31 square miles, while the game is supposedly an
echo of a pagan ritual celebrating the lengthening of the days as spring
approached. The ball is the size of a cricket ball, made from apple wood and
covered with silver. Two sides take part: those living in the town (the
townsmen) and those outside (the countrymen), with up to 50 on each side.
"People come and watch it at their own risk," laughs Colin Rescorla, a local
funeral director who has been making the ball for the past 20 years.
Non-locals can have a go but, as Rescorla says, "If you aren't recognised
then you won't get your hands on the ball unless by brute force." Kick-off:
Scoring the Hales Alnwick, Northumberland, England
This caused so much devastation when it took place in the streets of
Alnwick that the Duke of Northumberland offered a meadow called the Pasture
as a replacement. More than 100 players take part, representing local
parishes St Paul's and St Michael's. The game starts with the match ball
being thrown from the Barbican of Alnwick Castle to the chairman of the
Shrovetide Football Committee. Everyone then marches over the River Aln to
the field of play. The game is decided by scoring goals or hales. When a
hale is scored the teams change ends; the first to score two hales wins.
25 female competitors will run the race wearing aprons and headscarves
A Buckinghamshire town, in England, is due to hold what is thought to be
the world's oldest pancake race later. The race in Olney dates back to 1445,
so Will and Guy believe, and is believed to have begun with a town's woman
arriving late for the Shriving service at the parish church.
The 25 female competitors will run the race wearing aprons and
headscarves and carrying a frying pan with a pancake. The winner, on
crossing the line, is greeted by the verger with the traditional kiss of
'Ladies from the town race from the Market Square to the church in memory
of a town cook,' race organiser Ian Ford informed us, 'the story goes that
on hearing the shriving bell, calling everyone to the church service, she
ran out of the house clutching her frying pan and still wearing her apron.'
The race is started by the churchwarden at 11.55 GMT and is immediately
followed by a Shriving service at the Parish.
An Australian chef has entered the Guinness World Records book by
creating the world's tallest stack of pancakes. Andy Wrobel built this tower
of 60 pancakes that stood 76cm (29 inches) high in Melbourne, Australia on
Shrove Tuesday 2012 report Will and Guy. Rex photos
The stack - which ultimately toppled over - was built at his Pancake
Parlour establishment, where he has been working for over 25 years and where
he flips 100,000 servings annually.
He told us, 'We tried last year and we got to 61 centimetres and did
pretty well. We thought we'd give it another go and this year we actually
did it. We had a lot of practices, spent about 50 hours, probably used
another quarter of a ton of buckwheat mix, and we finally got to the point
where we needed to go.'
Wrobel managed to break a record set, interestingly enough, in Croatia in
The Pancake Flip Conundrum
This is how the pancake problem is postulated: The chef is sloppy, and
when he cooks a stack of pancakes they come out all different sizes.
Therefore, when the waiter serves them to a customer, on the way to the
table he has to rearrange them (so that the smallest winds up on top, and so
on, down to the largest at the bottom) by grabbing several from the top and
flipping them over, repeating this (varying the number I flip) as many times
as necessary. If there are 'n' pancakes, what is the maximum number of
flips (as a function of n) that the waiter will ever have to use to
To understand the problem, we can try to work out the number of flips
required for three pancakes. The three pancakes can arrive in one of the
following six arrangements, and alongside each stack is the number of flips
required to put them in the right order.
As the pile of pancakes grows, the problem becomes increasingly difficult
as there are more and more possible starting arrangements, and an increasing
number of possible flipping procedures; P17 = 19, P18 = 20, P19 = 22 and -
as yet - nobody knows the number of flips required to reorder 20 pancakes in
the worst case scenario.
The problem is simple to pose, yet tough to solve. Indeed, nobody is
close to developing a general formula that predicts the number flips
required for any given number of pancakes.
Mathematicians always like a deceptively difficult problem.
Indeed, Bill Gates's only academic paper is on the topic of pancake
flipping. His co-authored paper proved an upper limit to the number of flips
required to reorder 'n' pancakes, namely (5n + 5) ⁄ 3 flips. Therefore, if
you receive 100 pancakes, you will always be able to order them correctly in
166 or fewer flips.
Ripon Pancake Day Race Scrapped
The Ripon traditional pancake race has been scrapped because of fears over health and
The event was revived 11 years ago and since then crowds have gathered in the
centre of Ripon, North Yorkshire, UK, on Shrove Tuesday.
Schoolchildren run down a cobbled street flipping pancakes after the start is
signalled by the ringing of the cathedral's ancient 'pancake bell' at 11 am.
Organisers reluctantly scrapped the popular event this year because of mounting
costs and bureaucracy linked to health and safety rules. The police wanted
more than £1,000, to control the event. In the past, local schools and
businesses have entered teams to race while tossing pancakes.
Organiser Councillor Bernard Bateman added, 'Health and safety has just gone
too far. It makes you think twice about even trying to hold events like this,
even though they are extremely popular, especially amongst children. The main
issue with health and safety is the cobbled street people could slip on, but it
causes us so much trouble just for a little issue. This stupidity never happened
previously. It's a shame that these issues stop the children enjoying such a
Will and Guy can't help but agree with Mr Bateman. We also wonder if
this is just a UK problem, please let us know the Health and Safety
situation is in other countries.
Ingredients 150g / 6oz plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt
300ml / 12 fl oz milk mixed with 100ml / 4fl oz water
75g / 3oz butter
Special Shrove Tuesday ingredient - Sultanas. Add about 20 currants,
raisins or sultanas (best) to the mixture when it's in
the frying pan.
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Top tip: Hold the sieve
high above the bowl so the flour gets an airing. Break the eggs into
the flour (naturally no shells). Then whisk the eggs, a fork is fine, but lovers
may prefer to use an electric whisk. Another tip: leave the mixture for 30
minutes for any difficult lumps to dissolve naturally.
Now you are ready to add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, keep whisking
until you get the consistency of thin cream. You always get lumps, but
faith, eventually they will dissolve into the mixture. Next melt the butter in a pan.
Spoon the butter into the batter and whisk it in. Tip: use kitchen paper
to smear the pan with butter before you make each pancake.
Cooking the Pancakes:
Get the pan smoking hot, then turn the heat down to medium.
By all means experiment with various thicknesses, but my opinion is that thinner
is better, aim more for crêpes rather than
crumpets. Here is where you add those sultanas, I think about 20 is right,
but be flexible.
Trick: As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip the mixture around from
side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take
only half a minute to cook the first side. The first pancake is often a bit
leathery - no worries, the rest will be fine.
Here is a high risk, high reward strategy - toss your pancake. Remember that 'leathery'
first pancake? Use it to practice your tossing. The secret is to flick
the wrist so that you give the pancake a slow spin, then bring the pan down in sympathy with the
Squeeze fresh lemon juice (else use one of those plastic lemon juice bottles)
Some like sugar sprinkled on their pancakes (not me)
Spread maple syrup.
Option 2: Crêpes Suzette variation:
Add one finger of warm brandy to the cooked pancake then set fire with a match.
(If you are not a poser, you are better off drinking the brandy as a chaser.)
Roll-up your pancake with a fork then cut pieces of your 'tube'.
Secret - Eat your pancakes fresh; re-heated pancakes lose their texture
compared with those straight out of the pan.
Footnote: Please send us your funny Shrove Tuesday
stories and pancake jokes.