St. Barnabas plans day of pancakes and sausage

February 14, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Although he doesn't consider himself master of the griddle, Bill Schneider will be flipping hundreds of pancakes for hungry diners tomorrow.

"It takes practice," said Mr. Schneider, the official flipper for the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake luncheon and supper at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. "The more you do, the better you get."

For 34 years, the day before Lent, the parish house at 7609 Main St. in Sykesville -- across from the Railroad Station -- has become a community dining hall.

"We start preparing at 10 a.m.," said Carolyn Sheridan, who is helping to organize the meals.

"The griddles are hot and ready for diners by 11 a.m," she said.

Tables quickly fill with patrons who plow through steaming platters of pancakes and sausages.

"We always get a good crowd," said Ellen Bitzel, who has helped at the supper for years. "I have seen a lot of pancakes go through that place."

Shrove Tuesday -- often called Fat Tuesday -- is traditionally the last day to overindulge appetites before the Lenten fast begins.

"The idea was to get rid of the fat in the house," Mrs. Bitzel said. "You use up all the lard and grease."

Although the meals offer little for those who are counting calories, they promise camaraderie and hearty eating for everyone else.

"Many townspeople and parishioners come every year," Ms. Sheridan said. "A lot of former parishioners always come back to Sykesville for the dinner every year."

Linda Greenberg serves as hostess for lunch but takes a seat with her husband for dinner.

"If you don't get there early, you are going to wait," she said.

This year, Ms. Greenberg expects a large turnout.

"The weather has been so terrible that people need to get out," she said. "People really look forward to this event."

Diners have a choice of blueberry or plain pancakes -- hot off the griddle. Mr. Schneider will man two pans with his spatula ever ready.

"I usually have the duty but I'm no champion flipper," said Mr. Schneider, a "builder not a cooker" by trade. "There really is no special technique to it."

He does have a tendency to overdo, he said. "They are always telling me not to cook 'em so big."

While bigger is no bother, thicker batter is not always better.

"You have to be careful that they aren't too thick in the middle," he said. "Then, your batter won't get done."

Diners can dribble homemade maple syrup over their pancakes. Ms. Sheridan mixes about four gallons of the traditional topping.

"We have King's [syrup] and applesauce ready for those who don't want homemade," she said.

Lunch is from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Supper is served from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $4 for adults and $2.50 for children ages 3 to 12. Toddlers dine for free. Information: 795-0767.

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