Monday, February 04, 2008

international pancake day--or: there is a god!!! (with videos)

oh yes.

oh my yes.

oh my god yes.

it is international pancake day:!!!

this is actually a bit of a pun (my apologies). apparently Pancake Day is a global analogy of Mardi Gras, both of which (believe it or not) are religious days in the Christian calendar.

most of us in the U.S. are familiar with the Christian religious observance of Lent, which is the 40-day period marking the death and burial of Jesus leading into the celebration of Easter marking his resurrection as the Son of God (reference: Wikipedia: Lent). and many more of us in the U.S. (including heathens, pagans, and assorted agnostics alike) are very much aware of Mardi Gras (or Carnaval), which is the bacchanalian blow-out party held to vent personal vices before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent.

but few (including me) were aware that internationally Shrove Tuesday (the day of Mardi Gras) is also Pancake Day. marked this year as February 5, 2008, Pancake Day is traditionally supposed to be the last opportunity to use up eggs, milk, and sugar, since during Lent only plain foods are supposed to be consumed as an expression of piety (reference: Wikipedia: Shrove Tuesday).

i should note that personally this is only academically interesting.

truth be told, i have to confess (another pun, ha ha, i know, sorry...just too easy) that all i really care about is that one of my favorite foods actually has an international holiday tied to it. and the fact that it's considered holy is undeniable proof that




awwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah, baby!!!

here's what i'm talking about:

as an endurance sport athlete, i spend countless hours engaged in endless physical activity burning untold numbers of calories. and i mean burn. at the paces i use in training, swimming burns 900-1500 kcal (normal calories) per hour, biking burns 600-1200, and running burns 800-1500 (reference: Centers for Disease Control, Cool Nurse, Nutri Strategy, Outside Online). and i'm doing these activities during workouts that go over 2-3 hours on average, with 1 hour at the minimum and 6 (or sometimes 7) hours at the maximum.

some of my friends and i once did a rough tally of the average number of calories burned per day during Ironman training. i think we came up with something on the order of 4,000-5,000 calories. considering that the recommended daily caloric consumption for an average sedentary male in my age group is 2,400 calories (reference:, that means that i'm taking in roughly 2x as much food as the average guy.

the running joke my buddies and i have is that this is the real reason people do Ironman: so you can go out and eat whatever you want, and still lose weight. as one of my friends observed: "weight loss plan? oh i've got a great weight loss plan. it's called Ironman."

thing is, it's not as much a joke as you'd think.

as strange it may sound, it's actually kind of hard to consume 4,000-5,000 calories a day. seriously. it is. especially nutrient-dense ones with the right composition of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and acids and minerals necessary to sustain a regular schedule of high-volume aerobic and anaerobic activity. even with 6 meals a day, i find myself struggling to find enough of the right foods. sometimes, i find myself just getting sick of eating--my jaw starts to hurt, i get nausea thinking about food, and i just get mentally fatigued thinking about the need to find food to deal with my hunger.

which is why you invariably start looking for the one thing most blubbery, chubby, chunky, fat Americans are trying to avoid: high-caloric density food.

like pancakes.




awwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah, baby!!!

with all their buttery, syrupy, yeasty, shortening-packed griddled goodness.

talk about calories...and all wrapped up in lovey wuvvy waves of sweetness, too!

and don't even tell me that they're fattening, and artery-clogging, and just plain bad for my health. cuz. i. just. do. not. care. if pancakes are bad, baby girl, then you might as well close the gates of heaven, cuz i know where i'll be going!

i cannot begin to tell you the number of times that i have dreamed about pancakes during the course of a long swim, long bike, or long run. the look of pancakes, looking at you, calling your name. the smell of pancakes, wafting with the aroma of batter frying on the pan, luring you forth from bed. the feel of pancakes, fluffy and oh soooooooooo soooooooft. the taste of pancakes, melting smooth and sweet and buttery in your mouth, just aching to be matched with your morning coffee.

oh my god. it's better than sex.

and all this time i thought i was the only one.

but now i know i'm not.

here's some great sites dedicated to pancakes (including, of course, recipes):
and just to show you that's it's a global phenomenon, i offer the following links for pancakes of the world that i know:
i have a special fondness in my heart for the last one--plättar. it's the first pancake i ever had, and holds a special spot in the fond memories of my youth in Sweden. i still make trips to the cafe' in Ikea stores just for a taste. and just to really reprazent the Swedish nation, i should give you:

of course, now as an adult, my worldly awareness and culinary sophistication has grown with my growth in cultural cosmopolitanism, and so i'm now happy to get any pancakes of any kind, and can appreciate each one as a reflection of the best aspects of their respective culture.

which reminds me...i did a 6-hr. bike ride today, and it was hard (courtesy of a strong headwind blasting the wrong way down some really nice hills). it made me really am hungry. and some pancakes would be really good right about now...




awwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah, baby!!!

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