Free pancakes? It’s National Pancake Day!

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The National Pancake Day is actually a tradition dating back ages.

Oh, yum! And they are free! But why would anyone give away pancakes? I’m always suspicious when I hear the magic word: “free.” I’m sure I’m not alone. Naturally, my first thought is, “Where is the catch?” Well, it seems there is a catch, and a good one. But the National Pancake Day is actually a tradition dating back ages.

Origins of National or International Pancake Day

It’s actually the day preceding the first day of lent, Ash Wednesday.

In the U.S., it is also called Mardi Gras, and Fat Tuesday.

In England and other English speaking countries they call it Strove Tuesday.  In Portugal, Italy and Spain Carnival from Carne Levare (to take meat away).

Why pancakes?

This was a way to use up all the food you had in the pantry before fasting through the 40 days of lent.

Eggs, milk, and sugar.  But it wasn’t fasting all together. According to the liturgical tradition, you just ate plainer foods, avoiding pleasurable foods such meat, eggs, sugar and dairy.

Why IHOP is giving pancakes away

The 28th of February is not the day after lent but since 2006, IHOP has made it a tradition to give away free pancakes, from 7 a.m to 10 p.m.

In exchange for a stack of pancakes, according to The International Business Times, they ask of you a donation to aid Children’s Network Hospital and other charities.

IHOP’s goal is to raise $2.7 million. So far, since 2006, they have raised $8 million.

Children’s miracle Network raises money for children’s hospitals all over the U.S. The money goes to the communities that need it the most. The donations help support research, training, purchasing equipment and a long list of much needed resources.

I don’t know about how healthy this tradition is, but it does sound like it helps achieve three goals: Kids enjoying their beloved pancakes, a good cause and a lot of advertisement for IHOP.

To find the nearest IHOP click here. Be ready to queue for a while. It might look like Apple’s storefront at 5 a.m when launching a new product.

Americans love their pancakes

Pancakes are for Americans, what churros are to Latinos. It’s a staple weekend breakfast, mostly enjoyed on lazy weekend mornings. I hear, dads make them for their kids. I saw my self, how my nieces enjoyed them happily, made by their dad. It was one of those memorable moments. I am not sure what they enjoyed the most, the pancakes or the novelty of having their dad make them for them.

Skipping the crowds and going healthier

If you want to skip the throngs and make your own, on a much healthier side, try this  whole grain pancakes recipe from The New York Times.

Happy National Pancake Day!

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