Whatever you call it, it goes best with free pancakes!
February 20, 2007 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Happy National Pancake Day! Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday (or Mardi Gras), Paczki Day, Sprengidagur (Bursting Day)... Whatever you call it, today is the liturgical equivalent of a foodie free-for-all. Today is the last day before the season of Lent so Christians are supposed to only eat the plainest of foods for the next forty days. To celebrate it's time to use up all the eggs and milk and flour. What better way than to make a steamy stack of pancakes, or Paczkis or doughnuts? Better yet, head to IHOP tonight for a free stack of their pancakes.
posted by DragonBoy (35 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Whoppee! PANCAKES!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:14 AM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

It's only very recently that I learned the word "Carnival" means, literally, "a farewell to flesh." For someone who spent years taking Latin, that's an embarrassing admission. But there you go! It's Lent - no more flesh, either to eat, or to ogle.
posted by Miko at 7:20 AM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

pfannkuchen! Fleshy, delicious pfannkuchen!
The holy eucharist of breakfast foods.
posted by isopraxis at 7:23 AM on February 20, 2007

Pancakes? I'm getting drunk!
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:26 AM on February 20, 2007

Here in PA Dutch country, it's Fasnacht (donut) Day.
posted by jrossi4r at 7:27 AM on February 20, 2007

Oh, man, sprengidagur, that's today! I had forgotten. As the article mentions, in Iceland there are three special days this week besides sprengidagur, Monday is bolludagur (Bun Day), and Wednesday is öskudagur (Ash Day). When I was a kid I liked sprengidagur the least because all you did special was eat salted meat and peas. On Bun Day you got to eat loads of delicious fluffy buns with chocolate frosting. Plus, traditionally kids would wake their parents by spanking them with paddles while shouting "bolla! bolla! bolla!" On Ash Day people dressed up in costumes and had these little bags tied to hooks with strings which we would surreptitiously try to affix to people. Those two days were great for kids. The most kid friendly thing about sprengidagur was that the word sprengidagur sounds to an Icelandic kid like it means something like explodiday, and therefore one would have licence in one's youthful mind to run around and go "BOOM! POW! KERSPLAT!" Except, of course, using Icelandic onomatopoeias.
posted by Kattullus at 7:31 AM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh, didn't realize this was going on here too -- see also.
posted by pax digita at 7:32 AM on February 20, 2007

I thought FasNacht meant 'Face-Night' or 'Mask-Night," the German equivalent of Carnival?
posted by Miko at 7:38 AM on February 20, 2007

as an autocthone of ukrainian descent, let me just say that yeast-based pancakes are one of the most fucking disgusting things on the planet. false pancakes and heresy!!!
posted by dorian at 7:38 AM on February 20, 2007

Fasnacht. Perhaps the doughnuts take their name from the festival itself.
posted by Miko at 7:39 AM on February 20, 2007

Dammit, now I'm hungry.
posted by papercake at 7:52 AM on February 20, 2007

Poland had the doughnuts (paczki, which sounds, appropriately, like paunch-key) last Thursday, on Fat Thursday (Tlusty Czwartek), not today. Having Paczki Day today must be an American variant.

Today (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday) in Poland is Herring Day (Sledziowka). Time to eat lots of yummy little pickled fish and party until you puke. Which, of course, if you've eaten lots of yummy little pickled fish... it gives everyone a suitably solemn face for Ash Wednesday.
posted by pracowity at 7:55 AM on February 20, 2007

I want some strawberry ones. Don't make me wait for it!
posted by hypocritical ross at 8:03 AM on February 20, 2007

I gave up Mardi Gras for Lent.
posted by eriko at 8:18 AM on February 20, 2007

Yeah, all the polish delis on my street had paczki day on the 15th. But you can still get 'em - it's not like donuts are really going out of style anytime soon.
posted by GuyZero at 8:31 AM on February 20, 2007

You forgot to link the Shrove Tuesday Bunny... Yes, the loss of the img tag is probably a good thing.
posted by Bugg at 8:33 AM on February 20, 2007

This is interesting - there was no primary school today in Dublin (I do volunteer work with 12-13 year-olds) and someone said it was Pancake Day. They didn't explain and I had no idea what they were referring to. However, having worked in Detroit before coming to Dublin I totally know what Paczki Day is (and miss it, as someone would always bring donuts to work on that day). I always heard it pronounced as "punch-key" in Detroit though. Now it all comes together (as Ireland and Poland have some of the more traditional Catholic communities in Europe).
posted by Slothrop at 8:44 AM on February 20, 2007

They still do the Pancake Races in Kansas (is it in Liberal?) I know they still do in Olney.
posted by dw at 8:51 AM on February 20, 2007

It's worth noting that not all of christendom observes lent or Shrove Tuesday or Ash Wednesday. Not all Christians are supposed to eat the plainest of foods during lent. Just the ones that think they have to.

An article in the Corvallis Gazette-Times sums up the Christian controversy over lent quite succinctly.

Still, great links. My wife and I just bought a dozen eggs yesterday, because we like Omega-3 fatty acids and what they do for our blood numbers. We won't be using them in pancakes (though she comes from a tradition that observes lent).
posted by bugmuncher at 8:54 AM on February 20, 2007

And we don't really do Fat Tuesday in Seattle anymore, because of this, and then what happened the next day (Ash Wednesday).
posted by dw at 8:56 AM on February 20, 2007

They still do the Pancake Races in Kansas (is it in Liberal?)

posted by amyms at 9:02 AM on February 20, 2007

I love my Fastnachts.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:22 AM on February 20, 2007

Lent always reminds me of my favorite Jon Stewart quote:

“On Yom Kippur, you don’t eat for one day and all your sin for the whole year is atoned…beat that Lent. It’s 40 days to one day - even in sin you’re paying retail.”

Forget pancakes. I want a king cake.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 9:22 AM on February 20, 2007

Had a king cake at work today. I got the baby. I just fired my boss, shortened the workweek to 20 hours, and declared Thurdays are officially "no pants" days.

It's good to be the King.
posted by papercake at 9:55 AM on February 20, 2007

(also declared that there is no "s" in Thurday, as well, obviously)
posted by papercake at 9:56 AM on February 20, 2007

Alt: Vegan version.
posted by Webbster at 10:36 AM on February 20, 2007

When I was a kid, my dad would cook pancakes for dinner on Pancake Tuesday, and he would sterilize some coins (dimes, nickels and quarters, no pennies!) and add them to the batter. We would fork each pancake pretty well before eating to get our money :o) That's a tradition I miss now that I'm an adult - no one to make me pancakes with money in them...
posted by crepeMyrtle at 10:41 AM on February 20, 2007

Click Click Bloody Click - PANCAKES!

Pancakes is street talk for crack.
posted by mr_book at 10:57 AM on February 20, 2007

After seeing this post I got so excited about free pancake day at IHOP that I convinced my department to walk over there for lunch. My boss got apple juice to drink and a side of hash browns, I got a side of bacon, and another coworker got coffee and a side of sausage. When the check came I was so full of free-pancake-inspired-generosity that I said that I would just take care of it. YOU OWE ME THIRTEEN DOLLARS METAFILTER!
posted by ND¢ at 11:20 AM on February 20, 2007

Miko, it's called that too, but I got introduced to it as Fasching, and it looks like die Schwaben have yet a different word for it as well.
posted by pax digita at 11:49 AM on February 20, 2007

I asked about it on my public folklorists' ListServ, and learned this from another member:

"The Shrove Tuesday cake tradition of the Penn-Germans (fastnachts) is related to the Fasnachtkuchen in Germany (festival cakes cooked only during Fasching, also in some regions called Fastnacht, see McMahon, JAF, v.113, p. 384).).

Tracing the root of the German word, Fasnacht, Fastnacht, is inconclusive. There are several dialect variations for the word in German (Fastnacht, Fasnacht, Fasset, Fasnet etc.). Scholars have been unable to determine if the word originated with faseln (to make merry) and later changed by clergy who claimed the word stemmed from fasten (to fast). According to Max Straube, "In all probablity the clergy changed the original word to its present form, thus transforming "night devoted to merry-making" into "night preceding Lent " " (1904). There are also numerous variations in the Penn Dutch (fahsnocht, fawsnocht, fassnocht) so I doubt you can find a definitive answer about the etomology of the word."
posted by Miko at 1:26 PM on February 20, 2007

"Hell Harold, you could just eat nothing but pancakes if you wanted."

"What is wrong with you? Hey, I don't want to eat nothing but pancakes, I want to live! I mean, who in their right mind in a choice between pancakes and living chooses pancakes?"

"Harold, if you pause to think, you'd realize that that answer is inextricably contingent upon the type of life being led... and, of course, the quality of the pancakes."
posted by weston at 9:07 AM on February 21, 2007

"Sometimes it's a good day to die, and sometimes it's a good day to have breakfast. "
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 12:59 AM on February 22, 2007

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