One of the very popular events in some parishes is the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper put on by the men's organization of a parish. Although there is not a great deal of money to be made, it is a popular parish event.
One of the pioneers in staging this event is St. Mark's Anglican Church in Ottawa. In order to make their methods, procedures, and recipes available to other churches, the Marksmen undertook to produce this Guidebook base on the experience at St. Mark's. Two other Churches that contributed to the information base in this Guidebook were St Richard's, Nepean, and St Thomas', Ottawa.
The purpose of this Guidebook is to provide suggestions on holding a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper. There is no one recipe for holding a successful Supper. The local scene will dictate for the most part what is needed and what format will draw the most numbers. The ideas presented are tried and true and work in most situations, however, anyone organizing a supper has to "cut the material" to fit the local situation. Only a local organizer knows what works best in your area. Feel free to adapt, modify, change, or discard any suggestions.
We welcome comments and would like to share experiences with other Pancake Supper organizers. We are always trying to improve the format or the organization of the Supper.
Prepared by Lorne Bowerman
St Mark's Website: http://www.magma.ca/~stmarks/
Origin of Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
Like so many other traditions, it is difficult to pin-point the exact origins of the pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Certainly it is broad based in the English speaking world, and it is well known in Canada.
The word "shrove" is the past tense of "shrive", and that gives us some clue. "Shrive" is a transitive verb said to come from the Middle English "shriven", in turn from the Anglo-Saxon "scrifan", which in turn owes it roots to the Latin "scribere", "to prescribe penance". It is akin to the German "schreiben" meaning "to write". From the same base the English language have "scribe", 'script", etc. The archaic meaning is to hear confession of and, usually after penance, give absolution to>
Shrovetide is the name given to the three days before Ash Wednesday, and naturally enough, are called Shrove Sunday, Shrove Monday, and Shrove Tuesday. In the old English Church, it was a special period for going to confession in preparation for the start of Lent. Like the Mardi Gras, it was probably one last fling before the abstinence of Lent. Taking the "greasy Tuesday" from the French Mardi Gras, and the origins of giving up eating food from animals during Lent, it was a time to use up the leftover animal products such as lard.
We have to make a leap of faith to tie pancakes to this period. Probably earlier pancake or pan bread might have been grease and flour based, similar to many rolls today. Alternately, even today in parts of Canada, it is not unusual to find pancakes being offered with gravy, which is animal fat based. Certainly pancakes and maple syrup would have to be North American based.
A Pancake Supper is best run as a self financed stand alone event by the men of a congregation. There is little doubt that the ladies could do it, but that would defeat the purpose of event. The pancakes, sausages or ham, and ice cream or dessert are all something that are within the mostly limited capacity or ambition of the men of a church in putting on a Supper. This does not mean that more elaborate suppers cannot be provided by men, it simply recognizes the traditions that have existed in the past and have carried on to a lesser extent today.
Again, for emphasis, it is not a huge money making venture. It can make some money, or at least break even, but it is not in the same league as bazaars, rummage sales, art sales, etc.
A good working structure is a small committee headed by a chair. After the first Supper has been held, there is so much repetition that usually one or two persons can do all the required pre-supper organization. For the Supper itself, about 10 to 15 persons should be involved to reduce the duty time and spread the workload.
If it is a factor, a separate bank account should be set up, and a proper set of books maintained. To keep the parish informed, it is usually best to publish the financial details in the weekly leaflet, and the annual report.
All organizers and supper workers should purchase a ticket.
Pancake Supper Menu
It should come as no surprise that the main part of the Supper is pancakes. French toast may be offered as an alternate for those who do not care for pancakes. Other things that could be offered are:
Ideally, the hall should be clean and comfortable with clean washrooms. It should have floors that can withstand some spilt food. However, usually only the parish hall is available, and that will have to do.
Make sure the hall is booked. If there is someone who regularly uses the hall on Tuesday night, some alternate arrangements have to be made. Most parishes have a pre-empting clause, and to have this invoked, parish council may have to become involved. If you book a year in advance, then there is never any trouble as anyone leasing the hall can work around it. It is the last minute cancellation that cause all the problems.
The layout of the hall and the availability of tables will dictate the layout. Usually, this will not be a problem in a parish as tried and true arrangements are usually available based on the experience of precious successful events.
St Mark's use mainly standard wooden 30" square tables (or card tables) with 4 persons to each table. Each table requires about an eight foot by eight foot space, i.e. 64 square feet. Some tables are put together to make seating for 6 and 8. There total seating capacity is usually around 125.
St Richard's on the other hand uses long tables arranged end in five long rows for a total seating capacity of around 100. Their tables have been converted to be standalone with legs on each 10 foot section. Around five feet should be left between each row of tables for walking room.
For ease of organization, it is usually best to draw a simple floor plan arrangement with the table positions. One factor to keep in mind is that usually continuous sittings, rather than one sitting, so attendees require access to the tables all the time. It is usually best as well to leave some space around the serving area, usually about 10 feet on one side. There is usually a line-up at some period so provision should be left for that.
As a guide, St Mark's average around 250 in attendance with a seating capacity of 125, or each seat is filled twice. St Richard's average 150 in attendance with a seating capacity of around 100, or one-half of the seats are filled twice.
Make arrangements with the sexton about setting up and taking down tables. This is an area where help should be provided.
The date of the Supper is of course Shrove Tuesday, so that is known years in advance.
The timing is a matter of fitting into the local community. St Mark's is in an urban community. At first St Mark's hours were from 5:30 to 7:30, but eventually it worked into 5:00 to 7:00. The heaviest time is from 5:30 to 6:30. As is usual, there are some who have to eat early, and there are others who cannot make it until late. In a rural community, or a small town, the timing may have to be adjusted. Perhaps the best plan would be to go from 5:00 to 7:00 for the first time and make adjustments from there.
Dishes and Cutlery
What is available for dishes and cutlery depends upon the parish. Usually, there are adequate quantities of both on hand for parish events. If the kitchen is controlled by a ladies' organization, it is well to ask them about procedures and rules.
A decision has to be made on whether to use plastic cutlery and paper plates, or whether regular cutlery an china amy be used. This will depend considerably on dish washing facilities, and the amount of help available. St Mark's uses regular cutlery and dishes which are washed in an automatic dishwasher throughout the supper period. St Richard's use plastic cutlery and paper plates and this works well for them. One factor it that there seems to be universal satisfaction in seeing men doing dishes. Using plastic and paper may be seen as environmentally unfriendly. In the end, local conditions will dictate what is used.
St Mark's set each table place with a knife and fork on a paper placemat. St Richard's wraps a plastic knife, fork, and spoon in a serviette and placed in the serving area where they can be picked up when they get their meal. St Richard's makes up 150 sets, so by keeping count they know how many have been fed.
Like cutlery and plates, drinking cups or mugs may be china or plastic, depending upon what is available and what are the dish washing facilities. Many persons object to tea from plastic cups. If there is concern about breakage from children, then perhaps plastic cups could be used for them.
If the parish's dishes and cutlery are used, make sure it is left clean. Make sure the kitchen is left as clean or cleaner than when you found it. Most likely the ovens will be used for the sausages, so they should be cleaned.
Table Clothes or Place Mats
Either table clothes or place mats should be placed on the tables. With syrup, it is a sure thing that the table tops will end up "sticky".
There are several types of table clothes that can be used. Rolls of white plastic, rolls of newsprint, or paper table clothes can be purchased at a reasonable price. Either of these have the advantage that they cover the entire table, which is desirable if the table tops are messy. Plastic will stand the spilling of syrup. Usually the rolls come in 45" wide by 100 feet. Any leftover can be saved for next year.
Cotton tablecloths are not recommended. In addition to getting very messy, someone has to end up washing and ironing them. This opens the organization to criticism if it is not done properly.
If place mats are going to be used, check around for leftover ones from other events. Usually there are some advertising national programs or PWRDF. If they are not available, inexpensive ones can be purchased at a party store, or don't overlook the possibility of using standard 11 1/2" x 17" bond paper. Sometimes this size is available quite cheaply, or as leftover from some job. Regardless of what table covering or place mat is used, the tables should be cleaned afterward. The table material will determine the method of cleaning.
Ticket Price and Funding
The best arrangement here is to set the ticket price to make some money. Most suppers in Ottawa for 1998 charged $3.50 to $5.00 for adults and $2.00 to $3.50 for children 12 or under. Ticket pricing is a matter of making sure you make a little money. There is a limit as to what the public are prepared to pay for a pancake supper. The lower limit is the cost involved in putting on the supper. Check around to see what other churches are charging. Do some careful pricing of the basic food needed. Set the price accordingly.
The food and other needed items have to be purchased ahead of time. Some arrangement is needed on paying for these things. Some start-up funds are needed. These can come from individuals, or from leftover funds from previous events.
This is one area that money can be saved. Stiff cover stock is the best material for tickets. Old file folders can also be used. Both of these can be run through a regular copying machine. If none of these is available, bond paper can be used. Coloured bond would ensure that unauthorized duplication is not done.
St. Mark's has used the back of outdated business cards for years, which work very well and put something to use that would be thrown out.
Regardless of the ticket base, each ticket should have the following information:
Name of the event - i.e. Pancake Supper:
The children's price should state the age, i.e. 12 years old or under. The children's ticket should have some feature that makes it readily identifiable from the adults tickets.
If anyone has or uses word processing on a computer, it is quite possible to make the tickets up, treating the tickets as "labels". The master could be printed on a single sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, and copies made as desired. If the tickets are numbered, hand numbering is the easiest. If the tickets are computer generated, the same format can be used next year with minor changes.
Ticket and Door Sales
There should be no admission without a ticket. Even those who organize and work on the supper should purchase a ticket. Although this seem unfair, it is the only way to ensure that everything is above board. It really cuts down any possible complaints if everyone pays.
Ideally, admission should be by advanced ticket sales, but without doubt, some door sales will be necessary. Traditionally, advanced prices and door prices have been the same. Usually, four to six persons should have tickets for sale, and these should cover all the services. St Mark's Parish Office also sells tickets which helps those who work schedule conflicts with service hours.
One idea that works well is to have ribbons worn by those who sell tickets. These should simply say "I Sell Pancake Supper Tickets". They can be made by hand, or by computer, or if someone has the talent, they can be silkscreened or painted on ribbon material.
A master list of tickets sellers and the number of tickets given to each should be made. This should be at the door at the Supper so the returning tickets can be balanced. Ticket balancing is usually done during the last one-half hour.
An announcement should be place in the leaflet starting at least four weeks ahead of Shrove Tuesday. A typical announcement could be:
Marksmen Pancake Supper: February 23, 5-7 PM in the Church Hall. Ticket prices are $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for 12 and under. Tickets are available from Jim Armstrong, Lorne Bowerman, Murray Cobb, John Kirby, or the Church Office.
A poster can also be made up and helps advertising. But the days are long past when a hand drawn poster is acceptable. Computer draw and banner programs make the task of producing an acceptable poster very easy, and it is not hard to find a someone who would be very willing to produce a good looking poster. A good looking poster not only provides information, but also attracts attention and can sell a supper better than a poor looking poster.
Don't re-invent the wheel every year. If you get a poster that you are happy with and it works, go with it the next year with just date changes. If you have to make changes, make them gradually. Build on your previous advertising.
A good poster covers the four "W's" of Who, Where, When, and What. If you add a "how",
it would be how much. The main points to cover for a poster are:
Some form of accounting must be done, even if it is simply to find out whether or not you are breaking even.
The accounting method can vary from a simple income and expense book through to full double entry accounting. The method used depends upon help available. Usually there is someone who is handy with figures so finding a treasurer or a book keeper is not a problem.
One important point is to make your results public through at least the leaflet. As a parish event, it should also be included in the annual report.
Successful suppers require some planning. Some work has to be completed ahead of the supper. Some help is needed at the supper. Some cleanup is needed afterward.
Typically 15 to 20 men are required for staff. This reduces the on-duty time down to about one hour during the evening. An elaborate organization is not needed, and indeed, St Mark's have functioned for years without any visible organization or any formal meetings.
One or two persons are key in the supper organization. If these are the main workers as well, then formal meetings are not needed. At St Mark's, Murray Cobb has been the centre for food part, and Cliff Davis for the ticket sales. Most men return to the same job every year, and it is simply a matter of asking if they are available to work at the supper.
Draw up a duty roster, even if it is very simple. Try to put their talent where it will do the most good. Not everyone is comfortable handling money on the door. Not everyone can follow instructions. Not everyone presents a happy smiling face that would welcome people to the supper. You have to make the most of what you have. That's life. A sample duty roster is below.
Job descriptions help keep things on track. This may sound too much for a small organization, but it is the only way to ensure everything is done correctly. The staffing of the door causes the most problems. If that task is not completed correctly, it can cause hours of work afterward. Some tasks can be done by anyone.
Make sure you know who is going to supply what, such as the food. It is best to let those who are going to do the job buy the materials, and then be reimbursed. A sample job description for the door is attached.
Check lists of things to do are useful too. Again, this may sound too much, but it helps keep things from falling apart. Very few of us can remember the details of what we did or what we used a year later. If you put it on a check list, it becomes a simple thing. If desired, who is responsible for what could be included in the list. The list could also be expanded to cover the major items such as booking the hall, placing the ads, arranging for printing and selling the tickets, lining up supper staff, etc. A date required by could be added to provide a complete planning document. A sample list is attached.
12 1/2 cups flour
10 tablespoons baking powder (2/3 cup)
10 tablespoons sugar
5 teaspoons salt
Mix together and store in plastic bags.
10 cups (2%) milk (add more or less for right consistency)
20 tablespoons vegetable oil (1 1/4 cups) (corn oil preferred)
Mix together well and store in a bottle. A one gallon wine bottle is suitable.
One lot of the above mix is enough to feed 25 to 30 persons.
Shopping List for Pancakes for 7 Lots
12 kg all purpose white flour
2 kg sugar
500 g box salt
6 dozen eggs
6 bags 2% milk (4 litre bags), or 24 L milk
3 litres vegetable oil
As with all shopping, it is best to watch for sales.
For use, take one lot of dry ingredients and empty into a large mixing bowl or kettle. Add wet ingredient to desired consistency.
French Toast Receipe
An alternate to pancakes may be French toast for those who do not like pancakes. It fits nicely with the pancake menu. Allow 1 slice per person.
2 cups milk (1%, 2%, or whole)
1 tablespoon of sugar
dash of salt and pepper.
Mix in a large bowl with a whisk. It coats about 30 slices of bread. Dip the bread in the egg mixture for about 1 second. Make sure both sides are done. Remove and cook on the griddle. Do not soak the bread.
Buy the thick sliced bread, sometimes called Texas Toast, usually with 14 slices in a loaf.
22 kg sausages will feed around 200. St Mark's experience is that the Fearman's Pork and Beef Breakfast sausages are the best for this type of cooking.
The secret of the sausage is in the cooking. It is absolutely essential to pre-cook the night before and let drain well. At St Mark's, the sausage are placed in a single layer on rack placed over pan to catch the drippings (a broiling pan works well). The pan is place in an oven with the door left ajar, some 3 inches from the broiling element at top of the oven. Broil about five minutes, then turn. Broil another five minutes. Remove, and place in a storage container. St Mark's use a crisper drawer from the refrigerator.
For the Supper, the cooked sausages are placed in a jelly roll pan and heated in the oven. It is also possible to pile them on the broiling pan and heat by using the broiling elements. If this method is used, the top of the sausages should be six inches or so from the element. After they are heated, they can be placed on a serving platter and kept on the oven door to keep warm. Sausages prepared this way freeze well.
Ham is considerably easier to do than the sausages, and is preferred by some. It has been the tradition at St Richard's.
12 kg (25 pounds) of sliced ham will feed about 150 persons. St Richard's have a pre-cooked ham cooked and sliced by a local grocery store. Slicing thickness is a factor: too thick and it will take more meat; too thin and it looks skimpy.
The ham is wrapped in aluminum foil and heated in an oven at 300F. The actual length of time will depend upon the thickness of the package. One bundle is taken out at a time.
St Richard's Green Salad for 150
St Richard's have a tradition of serving a salad. St Mark's do not.
5 heads of lettuce
3 heads of celery
5 pounds of carrots
1 head of broccoli
2 bunches of radishes
Wash all salad items well. Soak the celery, broccoli, and cauliflower before cutting into small pieces. Shred the lettuce by hand. Peel cucumbers and carrots and dice. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl if possible, or several large bowls.
Salads are usually self served on a plate, or small bowl. Serve with bottles of salad dressing, usually 4 bottles for 150 people.
Cooking and Serving the Supper
The pancakes are best cooked just before they are served. A number of cooking method can be used, all based on or similar to a griddle.
Pancakes should be cooked until golden brown on one side, then turned and cooked on the other side. Only turn once. Do not pat!!
A effective method is the electric griddle which is flat cooking surface with a slight raised edge and heating elements embedded in the bottom. Six pancakes at once can be cooked on one griddle. Adjust heat so to cook quickly, but not burn.
Four griddles or six frypans can keep up with the normal flow. Problem: electrical circuits. Make sure you know where the resets or fuses are. Don't forget to use the stove outlets.
There are several varieties of cooking devices designed for the top of a stove. None of these has been found useful. Most of the problem is uneven heat.
Electric frypans can be used. Usually, four pancakes can be cooked at once. Again, adjust the heat.
One person can look after two griddles or frypans. It is a steady job. The cooked pancakes should be stored on a platter and kept warm. They go soggy quickly so they cannot be cooked too long ahead.
One person should prepare the mixes, and keep the area clean.
One person should look after heating the meat and making sure it is ready.
Two persons should do the serving. Use tongs. Use two pancakes and three sausages (or one ham slice) would be placed on a plate. If butter is presliced in squares, it should be placed on the pancakes.
Seconds are usually allowed.
Butter or margarine can be placed on the tables, or sliced and served with the pancakes and meat. If the butter or margarine is cut into small serving sizes, it should be served from ice cooled water.
Table or maple syrup should be placed in a pitcher on the tables.
Ice cream or other dessert can be served buffet style from a separate table, or served. Normally, the dessert is served after. St Richard's issue a dessert ticket to offer some sort of control on desserts. St Mark's offers unlimited seconds.
Tea, coffee, and milk is usably self served from a separate table.
Supper Check List
Aluminum foil for heating ham, or covering sausages
Bags to hold pre-mixed dry ingredients for pancakes
Blank sheets for notes made at the door
Book the hall by September 1
Bottles to hold pre-mixed wet ingredients for pancakes
Box or bag for returned tickets
Change for door - 3 x $10.00, 5 x $1.00, and 20 x 25 cents
Coffee Pot - 36, 72, or 100 cup
Cutlery - knives, forks, tea spoons (plastic or metal)
Dishes - plates, cups, saucers, mugs, fruit nappies for ice cream (plastic, paper, or china/glass)
Garbage bags, if needed
Griddle, frypans or some method of cooking the pancakes
Ice cream cones - about 96 (some like cones; other like a bowl)
Ice cream scope
Masking tape for any signs to be posted
Milk powder, if desired, to mix with 2% milk
Mixing bowls for pancake batter
Serviettes, about 200
Syrup pitchers or jugs
Table coverings or placemats
Tea pot or pots
Ticket list for door for returns from ticket sellers.
Food for 150
Baking powder - 1 kg
Butter or margarine - 4 pounds.
Chocolate milk mix if desired
Coffee creamer (bottle) if desired
Coffee sugar about 1 kg
Coffee cream 4 litres (or use milk)
Coffee - 3 - 300g package
Cookies, squares or other dessert if desired
Eggs - 6 dozen
Flour - 12 kg
Ice cream - 8 litres chocolate, 4 litres vanilla, 4 litres neapolitan
Ice cream cones - 60 cones for those who like
Milk - 20 litres (pancakes and for drinking/coffee)
Milk - about 24 litres
Salt - 250 g
Sausages - 15 kg
Table syrup, 14 - 750 mL bottles of table syrup
Tea bags about 30
Vegetable oil - 3 litres
September 1 - Hall booked