It’s Shrove Tuesday today, the last day before lent in the Christian religion and for many, whether religious or not, that means eating pancakes!  Eating pancakes has become a tradition at this time of year and I’ve been known to eat quite a few savoury and sweet pancakes during this day ever year.  Hhowever did you know that there are some interesting facts and history around pancakes and Shrove Tuesday?  In fact the history of this delicious flat fried cake goes furthur back into the past than even I realised.  So why not read on and find out some of the interesting things I learned about this special day. 🙂

Shrove/Shrive Tuesday

The word shrove is the past tense of the word shrive which means to go to church and absolve yourself of all your sins.  Although this was originally meant to be a period of reflection, it soon became a time for celebration and a chance to eat all the fatty and sweet foods that you are not allowed to eat for Lent.

Prehistoric pancakes

Believe it or not, pancakes date all the way back to prehistoric times!  Stone Age grains (about 30,000 years old!) of starch and the tools used have been analysed, and researchers discovered that Stone Age people were likely making flour out of cattails (a plant not cat’s tails as I first read it🤦‍♀️, lol), and mixing that flour with water, baking it on hot and maybe greased rocks.  Although this may not resemble the pancakes we know of today, the idea was the same, a flat cake made from batter and fried.

More ancient pancakes

The remains of a neolithic man were found in the Italian Alps in 1991.  He was named Otzi the Iceman and through studying him and what I can only guess is the contents of his stomach 🤷‍♀️, researchers discovered what he ate for his last meal which was about 5,300 years ago.  It was ibex and red deer and ground einkhorn wheat.  Considering there were some bits of charcoal in there, reserchers are convinced it was in the form of a pancake, cooked over an open fire.  Yes, it speculation rather than fact, but I wouldn’t even think to analyse his stomach for remains so maybe it’s true!

Pancakes through the ages

The Greeks and Romans used to enjoy pancakes which were sweetened with honey, while many years later the Elizabethans ate them flavoured with rosewater, spices, apples and sherry.  Yum!  Seems they really have a sweet tooth!

Dictionary definition

Apparently according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term ‘flat as a pancake’ has been in use since 1611! 😮  Prior to that the term ‘flat as a flounder’ was used to measure flatness in the 1500s.  All form of pancakes whether they are crepes, griddlecakes, etc all share the characteristic of being flat so that’s why we use that term today, or at least I know I have in the past.  Who knew I was chanelling a 17th century expression?! 😮


So there you have it, 5 fun facts about pancake day and pancakes.  I hope you enjoyed reading this post, I enjoyed finding out about all this, it was fun, and who knew that pancakes date all the way back to prehistoric times! 😮 😀

Information sourced from a previous blog post (do check it out! 😀 ):

Do you know of any other pancake facts?  Are you going to be eating pancakes today?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂