Little bears have decided that Pancake Day is today. Who is going to argue with them?
It is believed that Pancake Day might originate in a pagan holiday, when eating warm, round pancakes – symbolising the sun – was a way of celebrating the arrival of spring.
In 2012, University College London came up with a formula for the perfect flipping technique and it seems size really does matter.
The mind boggles what they research at universities these days…
According to University Professor of Mathematics Frank Smith, the simple mathematical formula for the perfect flip is:
L = 4×H /π– D / 2
(L = hand distance from inner edge of the pancake / H = height of flip / D = diameter of pancake)
Professor Smith said: “We all know that no-one enjoys wasting ingredients but there are many factors and risks involved in producing a perfect pancake. We’ve discovered that the wrong direction or speed, for instance, will mean that the average flipper may ruin two or even more pancakes trying to perfect their technique.”
The aim of the research? To reduce this waste by achieving the perfect flip. Good to see that universities focus on the really important things in life.
And for those pancake aficiandos who want to take flipping to greater heights, here’s another, more complicated, mathematical formula.
[U, ω, V, L] = [(2gH)1/2, π(g/ 8H) 1/2, (g/ 32H) 1/2(8H – πD), V / ω]
(U = upward speed of centre of pancake / ω = rotation rate / V = upward speed of inner edge of pancake / g = 9.81 m/s2 (acceleration due to gravity)
Things you might not know about pancakes
Pancake Day is known also as Shrove Tuesday, and its exact date changes every year because it is determined by when Easter falls. It is always the day preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), and always falls in February or March. This year it was actually on February 9, but little bears were busy on that day 🙂
The largest pancake in the world was cooked up in Rochdale in 1994, weighing in at three tonnes!!! and measuring 15 meters!
If you feel guilty about using readymade pancake mix, don’t worry – people have been doing it forever. Aunt Jemimas was invented in St Joseph, Missouri in 1889 and is claimed to be the first ever readymade pancake mixture to be sold.
The world’s largest pancake breakfast was held in Springfield, America, in 2012. The breakfast saw 15,000 people get together in Main Street to enjoy a huge number of pancakes and raised $10,000 for a local charity.
Pancake races happen all over England throughout Pancake Day. The tradition is thought to have originated in Olney in the 15th century, after a woman lost track of time while cooking pancakes. When the bells for mass rang, she ran out of her house with the pan and pancake still in hand. Olney still holds a pancake race every year.
The largest number of pancake flips in the shortest amount of time is currently 349 flips in two minutes, a record achieved by Dean Gould in Felixstowe, Suffolk, in 1995.
While in Britain pancake ingredients are nice and simple, in Newfoundland, Canada, objects with symbolic value are added to the batter to be cooked. These items are then used to interpret different messages about the future – for example, a pancake served with a ring inside may signify marriage.
The French call pancake day Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) and it is traditional while flipping a pancake to hold a coin in one hand and to make a wish.
The largest stack of pancakes ever cooked was made up of 213 pancakes and was an impressive 101.8cm tall (that’s over a meter tall!). The creation was constructed at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, on February 8 and required four people to help cook and assemble.
It is estimated that an impressive 52 million eggs are used in Britain each year on Pancake Day – that’s 22 million more than every other day of the year.
The best pancakes? The ones someone else makes 🙂 Little bears are eagerly awaiting…
And today they are made by Michèle and François at François
There are lots of other goodies at François as well!
Puffles and Honey have already made a list of all the best pancake places for their upcoming adventure… Quite possibly we’ll need a 48 hour day to fit everything in!