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Shrove Tuesday

Safety Tips for your Pancake Flips

As many will know, Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, is a Christian event that marks the start of lent and takes place 47 days before Easter Sunday. Historically on this day, the church would ring the bell, known as the ‘Shriving Bell’ and Christians would enter the church to confess all their sins and receive absolution.

During lent Christians practice abstinence, where they give up luxuries for 40 days. Luxury items were things like; animal fats, eggs and butter. As these items, would ‘go off’ during the lent period they were used to make pancakes and batters creating a final feast before lent.

It is thought that in 1445 a woman living in Olney, Buckinghamshire was making pancakes when she heard the shriving bell sounding. She ran out of the house into the church so she could make her confession, but in the rush, she was still holding her frying pan and wearing her apron. From this, it has now become tradition in Olney on Shrove Tuesday for women to dress up in aprons and head scarfs, and race 379 meters flipping a pancake on the sound of the bell! The rules state that the pancake must be flipped at least 3 times and the first woman to serve the pancake to the bell ringer wins.

This day is celebrated around the world but is known by different names. In France and catholic communities its known as Mardi Gras meaning ‘Fat Tuesday’. In Iceland, it’s known as Sprengidagur meaning ‘Day of Bursting’ and in Greece it’s called Apocreas meaning ‘From the Meat’.

To help those celebrating get the most from the day, I’ve gathered some safety tips for your pancake flips!

Less Tripping, More Flipping

Dangers can be found everywhere if you look hard enough, however Pancake Day does tend to focus around the children in our house.

Kitchen acrobatics and children tend to be a recipe for disaster, so let us be mindful of a few things which may slip our mind, avoid a visit to A&E and see to it there’s less tripping and more flipping:

  • Slips & Trips – Our little helpers can be messy at times, so keep an eye on any spills or equipment left around and watch out for pets, they can get excited too and if yours are like mine they will get under your feet where food is involved!
  • Burns – This one sounds obvious, hot pans, stoves, oils and food can cause serious injuries. Be careful when flipping (or letting children flip) and ensure children are not left unsupervised in the kitchen.
  • Equipment – Check handles on your pans before attempting flips, especially if your attempting world records like in our house! It can spoil the day if the pan breaks and causes a mess or even worse injuries.
  • Fires – Ensure the stove is turned off before leaving the kitchen it is easily forgotten and can be disastrous.
  • Allergies – Nobody knows your family better than you, however if you have guests around ensure you check with them for any allergies or intolerances.

I think the best bit of making a pancake is choosing your topping. Sweet or savoury take your pick. Maybe a combination of both! Whatever your preference always remember to follow food safety guidelines, especially when using high risk foods such as eggs and meats.

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‘Eggstraordinary’ Facts

To finish here are some truly ‘eggstraordinary’ pancake facts!

  • According to the Guinness World Book of Records The largest pancake made was on the 13th August 1994 in Rochdale, Manchester. It measured 15.01m in diameter and weighed 3 tonnes!
  • In France, there’s a tradition where before they flip a pancake they like to make a wish while holding a coin in the other hand (while flipping a pancake, I like to wish it lands back in the pan)!
  • According to the Guinness World Book of Records during an event held in Sydney in 2012 a record was made for the most pancake flips in one minute… 140 Flips!
  • It’s estimated that an average person will eat over 7,300 eggs in a lifetime!

Happy Pancake Day everyone!


Marie Frayne