The reason? It is customary in many parts of Canada, Ireland and Britain to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Wikipedia offers this explanation:
The reason that pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent is that the 40 days of Lent form a period of liturgical fasting, during which only the plainest foodstuffs may be eaten. Therefore, rich ingredients such as eggs, milk, and sugar are disposed of immediately prior to the commencement of the fast.
Pancakes and doughnuts were therefore an efficient way of using up these perishable goods, besides providing a minor celebratory feast prior to the fast itself.
I even found a blog called Pancake Tuesday. Well, this is all news to me. I guess Pancake Day was more of a Protestant observance. My dad loves pancakes and he's a Catholic, and I've never heard him refer to Pancake Tuesday. Trust me, I'd have remembered.
I wish every Tuesday were Pancake Day. Whether they're made with buttermilk, buckwheat flour or whole wheat, I love pancakes. With a few strips of bacon on the side and real maple syrup, of course.
Deborah, the Irish woman who writes the blog Humble Housewife, included this recipe for Pancake Day that includes vanilla bean. Could be worth trying sometime.