Mardi Gras, Pancakes, and Favorite Camp Meals!

It’s Mardi Gras season. And actually today is Mardi Gras! This may mean different things to different people depending on where you live, or on whether you view this as a religious thing or just a fun thing.

If you’re in New Orleans, you’ve been celebrating big time! I just returned from a vacation with my children to Disney World and Universal Studios, and Universal celebrated Mardi Gras with a daily Mardi Gras parade.

For many of us in the Christian faith, Mardi Gras — or Fat Tuesday or even Shrove Tuesday — might mean a sumptuous pancake supper on the night before the season of Lent begins.

This is how I usually do it. On the night before Lent begins either I go have a fellowship pancake supper at church, or I whip up homemade pancakes at our house. And pancakes, like so many other things, remind me of camp!

Pancakes is one of our favorite camp breakfasts at Alleghany, one that we have at least once a week, if not more often. Usually they’re served with bacon or sausage, and of course hearty servings of butter and syrup! On occasion we’ve had chocolate chip pancakes at camp, and one summer with a particularly creative chef, we had ice cream on top of pancakes!

At home, I like to make Paleo pancakes. This Banana Pancakes recipe is one of the first Paleo pancakes I ever tried, and remains a favorite for my family today!

My mom has gotten into the habit of making “Square Pancakes,” or what are called sheet pan pancakes. Never heard of them? You’ve got to try them because boy does it make the process easier. My mom makes them for my sons when they spend the night. The sheet pan approach lets her make a huge batch of pancakes at once and just bake them in the oven. My boys love them and since it’s something she specially does for them, it creates a little family food ritual that I am sure will be remembered their whole lives.

We do, of course, have pancakes a lot at camp as I mentioned. But do we celebrate Mardi Gras at camp?

Mardi Gras at Camp

One summer our Mini Camp Banquet theme was “Mardi Gras.” While the decorations were great, the food was fun, and the festivities exciting, it sort of went over the heads of the young campers, many of whom had never been to a Mardi Gras pancake dinner. So we haven’t tried that particular theme again.

But since other Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter are often celebrated in the wider secular culture, Mardi Gras also seems to appeal to folks who don’t actively practice Lent. Beads, king cakes, pancakes, theme nights at restaurants, and even trips down to the Big Easy —  what’s not to like? Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

While I don’t recall other recent times when we’ve done a Mardi Gras celebration at camp, contemporaries of mine or older alumnae may remember doing a JC Day or Upstart Day with this theme (please comment if you do remember!). It’s a fun theme that while technically seasonal could be celebrated at any point during the year.

How do YOU celebrate Mardi Gras? What are YOUR favorite pancake recipes?

Whatever you do for Mardi Gras have fun and stay safe and have a nice big stack of pancakes guilt free!

— Elizabeth Shreckhise, Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls