September 20, 2021

A feast for Shrove Tuesday included ‘tossed’ pancakes

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By Colin Wilson

Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday or Pancake Day are three of the names given to the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “confess.”

The expression “Fat Tuesday” is English for Mardi gras and refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

The expression “Pancake Day” is used widely in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada due to the tradition of eating pancakes on the day.

And it was the latter that attracted the most attention and fun at St. George’s Anglican Church’s Shrove Tuesday “Cookrum” on Feb 12th.


IMG_0629The English pancakes are a dish prepared with eggs, fat (butter), flour, milk and a pinch of salt and served traditionally with a squeeze of lemon. It is cooked in a shallow pan and is thin like an American ‘crepe’. It is tossed into the air when it is cooked on one side and the art is letting it fall back into the pan the other side up so it gets cooked too. Pancake races are a tradition in England, too, where the runners have to keep tossing the pancake whilst they run and if they can’t do this correctly (i.e. doesn’t flip over or misses the pan) they are disqualified.

This was attempted to much amusement at the “Cookrum”.

There were over twelve Nationalities represented at the “Cookrum” with persons sporting their native costumes and samples of their country’s traditional dishes, artwork, etc. Everyone was invited to ‘taste’ the dishes that had been prepared and there was even a “Passport” that had to be presented to be stamped to show you had visited the country’s table.

If this wasn’t enough there was many musical items performed by artists from the countries. Master of Ceremonies was the incomparable Gerald Watts who kept the event moving fast and without any fuss.

It was a most delightful evening and the church’s Outreach Committee deserve a big vote of thanks for producing the 2013 Shrove Tuesday Cookrum”.

PS: I found this story about the English Pancake race:

From UK Stripes

British Billy tosses pancakes – Shrove Tuesday Feb 12

By British Billy 48th Fighter Wing PAO

Across the U.K., many communities will indulge in the strange tradition of the ‘pancake race’. The village of Olney in Buckinghamshire (north of Milton Keynes) claims the origin of the Pancake Day Race, which goes back to medieval times, starting in 1445.

To prepare for the fasting season of Lent, the citizens of the town cleared their larders of delicacies, such as eggs and butter, on Shrove Tuesday. By tradition, the race in Olney began when a young woman, who just finished making her pancakes, heard the church bells tolling for the start of the shriving service. She stopped everything, took up her frying pan with a pancake in it, and ran to the church.

The custom died out – but was revived in 1924 – and became a well-known event by 1939. It was suspended during World War II, but restarted in 1948.

The modern race in Olney is a 415-yard run from the market place to a point midway down Church Lane. The churchwarden starts the race with a large, bronze pancake bell.

Competitors, who are all women, start running down the street, while tossing pancakes in a pan. The winner receives the traditional kiss from the verger (an official in the Church of England who takes care of the interior of a church building), and the vicar (Anglican version of priest or pastor) greets her with the blessing, “The peace of the Lord be always with you.”

Since 1950, Olney has competed with the town of Liberal in Kansas, which holds an identical race, to see which town can produce the fastest competitor. After the 2000 race, Liberal was leading with 26 wins to Olney’s 24.

For more on this story go to:


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