According to Reverend Jean McGraw of St. Francis Episcopal Church, which began meeting one year ago in West Ashley, holding a pancake supper at IHOP seemed like a sensible solution for a church without a kitchen.
“But when we got there on Sunday to tell them how many we were going to have, they said there were going to be lines, and that probably wouldn’t work,” McGraw says.
National Pancake Day, an IHOP invention, only dates back to 2006: The restaurant chain marks the holiday by serving up free short stacks of pancakes between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. (It’s not clear why the Savannah Highway location anticipated promotion-related lines in the evening, although the event no doubt exhausts its staff.) But eating pancakes on the eve of Lent is a 600-year old tradition, most likely rooted in the faithful’s need to cleanse their pantries of the eggs, milk and butter forbidden during the atonement period.
In the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is commonly known as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday.
After IHOP put the kibosh on St. Francis’ gathering, St. Thomas Episcopal Church invited the congregation to partake of its pancakes.
“So we’re taken care of,” McGraw says.
The 5 p.m.-7 p.m. supper at St. Thomas, 1150 E. Montague Ave., is one of many pancake events throughout the Charleston area this evening. Other churches serving pancakes include:
1853 Maybank Hwy., James Island
5:15 p.m.-7 p.m., $6
294 Seven Farms Dr., Daniel Island
6 p.m.-7 p.m., $5
126 Coming St.
5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
142 Church St.
120 Broad St.
6 p.m.-8 p.m., free