National Pancake Day: You can have Bourbon Street, I’ll have pancakes.
I read a few weeks ago about International Pancake Day and thought it was a holiday started by the Pancake Alliance to promote their pancake agenda. I’m happy to promote pancakes for no good reason, but it turns out Pancake Day is a Lent related tradition. Also known as Shrove Tuesday (shriving is another word for ‘confession’), Pancake Day is a feast the day before Ash Wednesday. Some Christians fast for 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday giving up certain foods, Pancake Day became a way for people to use up eggs and fats.
I felt silly for not realizing this, but in Michigan near the heavily Polish-American populated city of Hamtramck, I’ve grown up with Paczki Day (say, “Poonch-key”). Which is pretty much the same idea, except you eat a very rich and fattening polish doughnut and ponder the polish language. I know it’s a tradition, but as a “Fat Tuesday” activity, I think I’d rather stick with the pancakes. I’m pretty good at indulging myself on a regular basis so I really don’t need to eat a couple of huge paczkis to celebrate. Pancakes, on the other hand, I can get behind.
A few books about pancakes to get your kids in the mood. Each of my kids have a favorite pancake book. Max loves Eric Carle’s “Pancake Pancake“, the book lays out the process of making a pancake from cutting the wheat, creating flour and so on all in Carle’s signature style. This process is quite mythical for Max, since in our world you pretty much open a box and add milk and eggs.
As a younger child, Madison loved ‘Pancakes For Breakfast” by Tomie dePaola. It’s a wordless book, about a woman who creates pancakes creatively. Of course it could be about a mother who makes her pancakes out of a box but illustrated by dePoala and I think Madison would still love it.
I’m thinking tonight will be an impromptu “Pancakes For Dinner” night and I’m going to step out of my normal box o’ mix routine and will attempt ‘real’ pancakes. Here is a Pancake 101 primer from Martha Stewart. Included is this tip I can never seem to wrap my brain around. “Never whisk the batter until smooth; leaving lumps of unmoistened dry ingredients will result in fluffier pancakes.” I can never seem to help myself. Martha also offers ‘Pancakes From Around the Globe‘. I am intrigued by the English Toad-In-The-Hole and the Buckwheat Blini from Russia. But if I served any of the so called pancakes to my children, I’m not sure they could ever forgive me. It would be like the time my husband’s mother snuck a couple of whole hard cooked eggs into the meatloaf. I still don’t think he’s recovered.
You could also try making your own pancake mix, then you’re not cutting the wheat but you’re still making homemade pancakes. This mix at Family Fun uses whole-wheat and white flours, but I can’t figure out how it doesn’t have any oil. Alton Brown’s recipe looks a little more tasty but also more complicated. I guess you’ll have to decide how desperately you don’t want to make your pancakes from a box. I’ll be honest, I’m feeling a little….uh….less enthusiastic about this process. Alpha Mom Isabel recommends Napa Valley Pantry’s pancake/waffle mix. And since it’s from Napa, just like my husband (who coincidentally is also light), I’m sure I’ll love it.
But! If you make the pancakes look good, it won’t matter how you made them. This pan from Crate and Barrel lets you make seven perfect silver dollar pancakes at once. I have just a teeny bit of OCD and the thought of uniform pancakes makes me feel a little giddy. It’s also dishwasher safe which goes well with my aversion to washing dishes. There’s also this pancake pan which makes all your pancakes look like love, even if they’re from a box.
My husband makes very realistic Mickey Mouse pancakes using a freehand technique. Freehand techniques are not my forte, so I love pancake molds.These silicon flower shaped molds would appeal to my daughter and maybe remind us of spring. Which seems very far away at this point. You can also use these molds to shape your eggs.
Max has somehow decided a rooster says, “Rock-A-Rock-Roooo!” It cracks Logan and I up so much we are constantly looking for ways to get him to say it. Enter rooster pancake molds from Stonewall Kitchen. Roosters are synonymous with ‘rise and shine” and if you’re lucky they also say “Rock-A-Rock-Roooo!” at your table.
Williams Sonoma offers transportation themed pancakes molds your kids might like. They also have a ‘Fashion Plate‘ and a ‘Spring‘ version. If your kids don’t like any of those choices then I don’t know what to tell you. I’ll send Logan over to make mouse pancakes for you or something.
Considering the link between Lent and Pancake Day, I think this pan would be incredibly appropriate. The Jesus Pan! “Kids, we’re having Heavenly Hotcakes tonight!” I’m guessing the pancakes taste extra special, and I bet you can come up with a few other foods you’d like to see Him on. Grilled cheese? I wonder if you could see Jesus in an omelette? There’s only one way to find out. (Link via Gizmodo.)
Finally, serve your pancakes on these plates. Because, it’s true: pancakes make people happy. Unless you have Celiac Disease because then pancakes are slowly trying to kill you. They also might not make you happy if the pancakes are made on the Jesus Pan, in that case they might make you feel a little unnerved. Or pious. Nonetheless, the plate will make you smile, especially if you serve everything on them. Like steak, then the ‘Pancakes Make People Happy’ message won’t make sense, but will still make me laugh because I like nonsensical things like that.
Maybe you just don’t have the fortitude to make pancakes tomorrow. It’s midwinter break this week and honestly, I’m just trying to keep my kids busy without spending $30 on movies and museums everyday. IHOP can help. They’re offering free pancakes to customers all day tomorrow in exchange for a donation to The Children’s Miracle Network. In 2006 IHOP raised over $340,000 for the charity and hope to reach $500,000 this year. Hmmm….maybe we’ll have pancakes for lunch today, that will burn almost an hour of daylight and all for a good cause. (Link via blogging baby.)
Hooray for Pancake Day! Sure it’s not New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, but it has it’s own appeal. Like, no hangover.