Image Credit: Loleia
Pancake Day is the name that Shrove Tuesday is better known as in the UK.
Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian festival of Lent. Lent is the period of forty days before Easter when traditionally one would fast and pray, in remembrance of the forty days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert whilst being tempted by Satan.
Since the date of Shrove Tuesday is governed by the date of Easter, it occurs on a different day each year, usually in mid to late February or early March.
So what has that got to do with pancakes? Well, traditionally one would want to eat up all the rich food in the house and have a really good meal before the fasting began.
Pancakes would use up eggs and butter and any other leftover food could be added to the pancakes.
Nowadays, Pancake Day is a great excuse to eat pancakes for dessert, slathered in sugar and lemon juice or spread with Nutella.
A great British tradition on Pancake Day is that of pancake races, where racers compete against one another to run over a certain distance with a frying pan and pancake. The pancake usually has to be tossed a certain number of times in the course of the race.
Races are held all over the UK, and the most famous one is the Olney Pancake Race held at Olney in Buckinghamshire. According to legend, a housewife who was making pancakes heard the bell calling her to church and ran to church still wearing her apron and holding her frying pan. Consequently the participants in the races usually wear an apron.
In many countries Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as the festival of Mardi Gras, which literally means Fat Tuesday. This will be the culmination of a festival of which may take place over days or weeks before Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras may be celebrated with street festivals and parades, dancing, music, most famously in New Orleans in the USA and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
In other countries it is known as Fastnacht and may also be celebrated with carnivals and parades, or as a Women’s Day where women take charge!
125g plain flour
A pinch of salt
A little oil for frying
Of course you should turn it by tossing the pancake; however if you hope to actually eat any of the pancakes you will need to turn the pancake with a slice of some kind, or make at least twice as much batter to give you a chance to practice!
Serve with sugar and lemon juice.
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