Fat Tuesday: Breakfast for Dinner

I didn’t grow up in a religion that celebrated Lent or Mardi Gras. We were Plymouth Brethren, a serious group.

Our Sunday services lasted three hours, and with dancing and drinking forbidden, well there wasn’t much we needed to give up. Lent would have been superfluous. So I ignored the holiday for years, until my friend, Chrissie McHenry called with an invitation.

“Are you guys free to come over for Fat Tuesday?”

“What’s Fat Tuesday?” My lack of religious education was appalling.

“You know, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras.”

But I didn’t know. I thought Mardi Gras was a drinking holiday confined to New Orleans and Rio. Still, Chrissie was a great friend and a great cook and I was game for almost anything on a Tuesday. So we showed up hoping we wouldn’t be expected to recite or confess anything.

“Breakfast for supper!” Shouted my children when we walked in and smelled the sizzling bacon. In Chrissie’s house, Fat Tuesday is bacon, pancakes, and syrup for dinner. No ritual, just eating up foods that were traditionally given up for the 40 days of Lent, which is a pleasure even if you have no intention of fasting or abstaining.

We still love Fat Tuesday and celebrate it every year. I make Buttermilk Pancakes from scratch and cook up the best bacon I have ever had, Niman Ranch Bacon, which is available at Trader Joe’s.

If you’re hesitating at the “from scratch” part, don’t. Nothing could be easier than these pancakes and you have all the ingredients in your pantry, except the buttermilk so add that to your shopping list this week. Then make breakfast for dinner, even if you don’t celebrate Lent or Shrove Tuesday. And once you’ve made these pancakes from scratch, you’ll think of reasons to make them again, because once a year is definitely not enough.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Makes about 20 pancakes

These pancakes are puffier and tangier than the mix version. I serve them with real maple syrup and whatever jams and jellies I have around. If you don’t like buttermilk, substitute regular milk and leave out the baking soda.

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat your griddle over medium-low heat.

Wisk together the dry ingredients, then add the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir until combined. Could that be any easier?? If you think the batter is too thick, add a little water to thin.

Lightly spray or oil your griddle, then use about ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. Turn when the bottoms are golden brown and the top is puffed and a little dry. If the pancakes are browning almost instantly, turn the heat down a little. These puffy pancakes need a few seconds to cook all the way through.

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