National Pancake Day at IHOP's an Annual Celebration of Free Flapjacks

Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013 10:18 AM

By Dale Eisinger

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Image: National Pancake Day at IHOP's an Annual Celebration of Free Flapjacks
The first Tuesday of every February is Thanksgiving for pancake lovers across the nation because that's when they can stack up for free at the International House of Pancakes, aka IHOP.

Coincidentally, it's also National Pancake Day and the day before Ash Wednesday better known as Fat Tuesday (or Mardi Gras, in French) and Shrove Tuesday.

Thousands were already lining up at IHOP for free flapjacks at 7 a.m., and the feasting was continuing until 10 p.m.

IHOP just asked that customers consider making a donation to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals when they arrive to the restaurant. The charity benefits medical facilities for children and has a history of keeping funds in the same communities they are raised.

Although it's an admitted marketing push, the breakfast giant has used the day to raise $10 million for charity since 2006, according to IHOP's website. Last year was IHOP's most successful, as the company donated more than $3 million to local charities. Officials hope they will surpass that amount this year. The chain operates 1,565 restaurants across the United States.

In Catholic tradition, the consumption of dairy products was not acceptable during Lent. So, before the days of refrigeration, devout Catholics needed an excuse to get rid of all their eggs, butter and milk. Pancake Day was born.

In 2011, the International House of Pancakes agreed to refine its menu with healthier options, joining five other restaurant chains in the process. First lady Michelle Obama pushed the initiative in her campaign against obesity.

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