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Free flapjacks on National Pancake Day

February 24, 2009 | 12:02 am


You might know it as Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. Carb lovers know it as National Pancake Day. It's no accident that it coincides with the last big blowout before Lent.

The holiday that food chains and restaurateurs have co-opted as a marketing gimmick has slightly more sacred origins. Pancake Day originated as a practical way for Christians to use the eggs, milk, sugar and other rich foods in their larders before the 40 days of fasting and prayer that lead up to Easter.

The pancakes of yore were probably savory crepes rather than the sweet, fluffy rounds that we Americans know as pancakes/flapjacks/rib sticklers/mustache pillows/what-have-you. In honor of this very Atkins-unfriendly holiday, here are a few places to celebrate National Pancake Day.

If you don't feel like seeking out your favorite neighborhood diner or bakery, head to IHOP, where from 7 to 10 a.m. today you can get one FREE short stack (three) of their buttermilk pancakes (limit one order per customer). All they ask is that you consider making a donation to the Children's Miracle Network.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photos: Mesquite pancakes. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)