Miss America Wants You To Eat Free Pancakes at IHOP: Happy Shrove Tuesday (kinda ...)

Hot on the heels of the 2nd annual Denny's Grand Slam giveaway, we have this deal coming from the folks over at IHOP: On Tuesday, February 23, from 7 a.m. 'til 10 p.m., IHOP restaurants will be slinging free short stacks for all who require them, asking only that those benefiting from this largesse "consider making a donation to support local children's hospitals through Children's Miracle Network or other local charities."

It's a good cause, sure. And who among us can seriously look down their noses at free pancakes? But I do have one strange issue with this year's IHOP promotion.

They're calling this "National Pancake Day." Trouble is, there already is an International Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, and it happens the week before IHOP's big shindig.

Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day, also aka Fat Tuesday) is celebrated on the day preceding Ash Wednesday (on February 16 this year), and is generally a day spent eating until you pop---a feast day wherein the faithful will load up on all the eggs, butter, fat and calories they can handle before the coming Lenten fast. Pancakes fit this bill perfectly, and all across the world, people do all sorts of bizarre things in recognition of the pancake's pure awesomeness. There are all manner of pancake-eating contests and church-basement pancake breakfasts, pancake races, pancake-throwing contests, all accompanied (of course) by lots of drinking. In Finland, they chug the glogi (mulled wine). In Germany, it's beer. In Ireland, they go straight for the whiskey, forget the pancakes entirely, and spend the day road bowling.

In years past, IHOP has scheduled their Pancake Day to coincide with Shrove Tuesday--which made sense. This time around, they've decided to go their own way. And that's not the worst thing in the world. I mean, two days reserved specifically for the eating of pancakes is better than just one day, right? But the best part about IHOP's promotion this year (beyond the money raised for charity, of course) is that they've added a new wrinkle: a celebrity wake-up call.

Would you take free pancakes from this woman?
No, seriously. Check out the website. Because there, you can have a pre-recorded wake-up call by Marie Osmond, Monique Coleman, NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young or Miss America Caressa Cameron, scheduled to annoy your friends and relations. Imagine how many people out there in the great, wide world that you'd like to have woken up at 7 a.m. by Marie Osmond, exhorting them to go out and eat pancakes. Jesus, she might even sing! The possibilities for fun here are almost endless.

And just so you know, the phone number for the main White House switchboard is (202) 456-1414. And yes, they will be receiving a call bright and early from Miss America, courtesy of me. Happy Pancake Day, Mr. President!

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