The reason that pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent is that the 40 days of Lent form a period of liturgical fasting, during which only the plainest foodstuffs can be eaten. Therefore, rich ingredients such as eggs, milk, sugar and flour are disposed of immediately prior to the commencement of the fast. Pancakes were therefore the perfect way of using up these perishable goods, besides providing a minor celebratory feast prior to the fast itself.Hubby-Eric and I headed out to the nearest IHOP, in Lynnwood, expecting a crowd. Nope. There were maybe a half dozen folks in the whole restaurant aside from the staff. We got great attention from our server, who made sure to mention the free pancakes. We each got a stack of free pancakes with a side of bacon and orange juice, then we let ourselves be talked into fruit toppings (apple for Eric, blueberry for me).
The stack of pancakes was HUGE. I've been so careful with my food intake recently that three pancakes was nearly too much. I would've been fine without the side. I do believe my pancakes had blueberries in them, as well. I will note that the pancakes themselves were free, but the bacon, orange juice, and fruit was not. We left a tip for the server and a donation for the Children's Miracle Network, and came out ... well, not with a free breakfast, but certainly a good one.
Huzzah for Fat Tuesday! I think maybe we'll have to participate this way next year, if we can.