Do the preparation exercise first. Then read the article and do the other exercises.
In some countries, like the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada, there's a special day for eating pancakes – thin, flat, round cakes made from a mixture of flour, milk and egg, fried on both sides.
Pancake Day is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday, which is the day before the start of Lent. Lent is a time in the Christian calendar, the 40 days before Easter, when people don't eat rich, fatty foods. In the past, people wanted to use all of their rich, fatty foods, like butter and eggs, before Lent started. So they put them in pancakes!
When is Shrove Tuesday?
Shrove Tuesday is always on a Tuesday in February or March. The date changes each year, because it depends on the cycle of the moon. In France, the USA and some other countries, this day is called Mardi Gras or 'Fat Tuesday'. In others, like Spain, Italy or Brazil, Shrove Tuesday is the day at the end of Carnival.
In the UK, as well as eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, some people have a race with them! They run with a pancake in a pan, and when they are running they have to toss the pancake – they throw the pancake up in the air and catch it in the pan. In some pancake races, people dress up in fancy-dress costumes.
A pancake recipe
Here is a recipe for pancakes. Ask an adult to help you fry the pancakes, because the oil and the frying pan get very hot.
Butter or oil (for cooking the pancakes)
- Put the flour in a bowl. Crack the eggs into the bowl and add the milk.
- Whisk the flour, milk and eggs until the mixture is smooth.
- If you have time, wait for about 30 minutes before you fry the pancakes.
- Ask an adult to help you heat a very small amount of butter or oil in a pan. When it's hot, put some mixture in the pan and move the pan to make a thin pancake.
- After one minute, turn the pancake over and cook the pancake on the other side.
- When the pancake is ready, put some sugar on it. If you want, you can also put some jam or a bit of lemon juice on your pancake.
In other countries, people eat different things at this time of year. Many people in Sweden eat semlor – delicious, sweet cakes with cream in them. In New Orleans in the USA, many people eat King Cake. This special yellow, green and purple cake has a small plastic baby inside! If you get the baby in your piece of cake, you're king for the day! In fact, people eat King Cake any time between 6 January and Mardi Gras. In Austria, Germany and Poland, people eat doughnuts, and in Estonia and Finland, they eat special soups.
Do you like pancakes? Do you have a special day for eating pancakes or another type of cake? Tell us about it!