Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Pancake Day

It was only as we were walking round Asda yesterday afternoon that I remembered what day it was - Shrove Tuesday, or as we more commonly call the day before Ash Wednesday, Pancake Day.

It is a long-established English tradition that pancakes are eaten on the day before Lent starts in order to use up all those rich foods before the fast begins.  Just like Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  And just in case you are unaware, Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday.  So, we had our pancakes for dessert, topped in the traditional way with lemon juice and sugar.  And just for the record, English pancakes differ from the American version, which is more like what we call a drop scone.  And we don't eat pancakes for breakfast!

Another long-established English tradition is the pancake race.  This originated in the Buckinghamshire village of Olney back in 1445 and has been, it is thought, held there every year since, making yesterday's race the 569th!  The story is that a woman living in the village was so busy making her pancakes that she forgot the time.  When she her the church bell being rung to announce the imminent start of the shriving service, she raced to the church still holding her frying pan and wearing her apron.  So now, pancake races involve running while carrying a frying pan and tossing the pancake.


joeh said...

Looks like a fun tradition.

Sarah said...

I made drop scones the other day to my grandmothers recipe which differs slightly from most of the American versions of pancakes that I've seen as it contains bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar and of course we had pancakes for tea on Tuesday, mine the traditional way and Miss Mac's with chocolate spread and marshmallows.

I grew up in a small village in Devon and have very fond memories of the pancake races we ran.