Today Mardi Gras is a celebration of overindulgence, cheap plastic beads -- and the obligatory flashing that comes along with them. But Fat Tuesday was not always such a morally bankrupt holiday. Its roots lie in eating lots of rich and fatty foods that were prohibited during Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday. To use up all the foods, mostly dairy, that couldn't be eaten during Lent and therefore might go bad, diners would create meals that incorporated the soon-to-verboten ingredients. Pancakes were one of those meals, so Fat Tuesday is also often known as pancake day. Here in Denver, National Pancake Day offers people a way to celebrate without having to lose their tops for some crappy string of plastic purple beads. For more on the softer side of Mardi Gras and pancake day deals, keep reading.
See also: Fat Tuesday, free pancakes, free Champagne and more on this week's culinary calendarMore »