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Recipes (Shrove Tuesday)

To provide an assembly leading up to Shrove Tuesday and Lent that explores the idea of a ‘recipe for life’.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To provide an assembly leading up to Shrove Tuesday and Lent that explores the idea of a ‘recipe for life’.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need an OHP/whiteboard and pen. Draw a large bowl.
  • Have ready the equipment for making pancakes: a clear mixing bowl, a tablespoon, a whisk or fork, 4oz plain flour, salt, 1 egg, ½ pint of milk or milk and water, a frying pan and cooking oil.
  • If appropriate, and with due regard to safety, you could actually cook pancakes on a small electric stove or gas burner during the assembly.
  • Alternatives to this are to send someone off to cook a pancake while you continue talking – they can then bring it back for children to taste; or have a ready prepared one in the best Blue Peter tradition.


  1. Remind the children that it will soon be the time of year that Christians call Lent. Ask them if they know what this means and why we celebrate it. Reference could be made to the story of Jesus fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4). Explain that, in the weeks before Easter, Christians use this time to reflect on the Easter story and to think deeply about their lives.
  2. How many of the children have heard of Shrove Tuesday? Explain that this is the day when people eat well before giving up something for Lent. It is called Pancake Day by some and it is customary to eat pancakes on this day. Some towns and villages still hold a pancake race.
  3. Let’s see what we need to make a pancake (demonstrate each stage). We need a recipe, which tells us what ingredients we have to put in our bowl and what to do with them. Produce a written recipe or explain that you have it in your head.

    First we need the flour. Add a pinch of salt. Make a well in the flour and next break in the egg. Then we add half the liquid and beat the mixture until it is really smooth. Finally we add the remaining liquid gradually, beating until it is well mixed.

    In order to cook the pancake we have to get the oil in the frying pan very hot before spooning a small amount of mixture into it. (This action can be mimed.) Show the children the frying pan with the ready-cooked pancake. The custom was then to toss the pancake and catch it in the pan. The children will enjoy watching you do this. Try not to miss catching it!

    If time allows you might like to ask the children what fillings they prefer in their pancakes.
  4. Recite the poem with the children miming the actions, reminding them of what you have just done:

    Mix a pancake,
    stir a pancake,
    pop it in the pan.
    Fry a pancake,
    toss a pancake,
    catch it if you can.
  5. Suggest that just as there is a recipe for pancakes, so there is a recipe for life. We need ‘ingredients’ to help us to live a good life. Let’s look at our picture of the mixing bowl. Ask the children what ‘ingredients’ we could use in our lives. Give them one or two ideas before inviting them to add some more. For example: kindness, truthfulness, helpfulness, patience, perseverance. Write their contributions in the bowl on the whiteboard/OHP. Read through them with the children.
  6. Continue by reminding the children that for Christians Lent is a time for fasting, a time for remembering Jesus who fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. Many Christians give up something for Lent, often an item of food. One little girl gave up her sweets and the pocket money she saved she sent to Oxfam. This was a very kind thing to do.

    Let us hope that we can put the right sort of ingredients into our lives.

Time for reflection


What is the recipe to improve ourselves and our lives?

A recipe for caring, a recipe for happiness and peace in the world, a recipe for success and not disaster.

What are the ingredients in your recipe?



Lord of the loving heart, may mine be loving too.

Lord of the gentle hands, may mine be gentle too.

Lord of the willing feet, may mine be willing too.

So may I grow to be more like you in all I say and do.



‘Give us hope, Lord, for each day’ (Come and Praise, 87)

Publication date: February 2008   (Vol.10 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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