Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, National Pancake Day, Packzi Day or Fastnacht Day?
Depending on your cultural flavor, all are names for the day before Ash Wednesday, when Catholics make motions in the direction of fasting or giving up something for Lent but never actually get around to that part. Google searches are way up for pancakes and packzi, a polish donut of some sort. (In fact, one of the most prolific searches today is for packzi calorie counts, which is totally doing it wrong.) Catholic school alumni like myself may recall today being the only day sweets were allowed in Sister Anthony Therese’s classroom.
New Orleans, a traditionally Catholic city, without argument owns this holiday. What started as a day preparing one for a fast and reflection somehow morphed into the exchange of beads for boobies, and street parties of epic proportions. (New Orleanians are also associated with King Cakes, a tradition wherein the person whose slice contains a trinket has to provide the next cake, which kind of sucks.)
While a lot of the internet seems to be under the impression IHOP is giving out free pancakes today, that doesn’t actually occur until February 23rd. IHOP has full details of the pancake giveaway on their website, but a week from today (February 23rd is also a Tuesday) the pancake chain is giving away a free short stack of pancakes to all customers from 7am until 10pm.
If you’re missing the party down in New Orleans and sad about your pancake jones, you can watch live streaming video of Mardi Gras here. (There might be boobs.) Still not feeling authentically debauched? It’s not too early in the afternoon to whip up a batch of Emeril Lagasse’s Hurricanes. (Somewhat surprised they haven’t renamed those, considering.)
12 ounces light rum
12 ounces dark rum
10 ounces grenadine, or passion fruit syrup
10 ounces fresh orange juice
10 ounces sour mix, or fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons superfine sugar, or more to taste
1 large orange, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Mix all the ingredients in a tall pitcher or large pot and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a punch bowl and add the ice cubes and orange segments. Serve in tall glasses over ice with straws.