Pancake Day!

PancakeNicola here, blogging about food (which I seem to do quite often!) Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Day, Mardi Gras and various other names around the world. Like many festivals that have become popular celebrations, Shrove Tuesday originated in the Church calendar and is still observed as a religious festival by many people.

The name Shrove Tuesday comes originally from the word “shrive” meaning to absolve, as it falls just before the beginning of Lent. The name Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday” is more descriptive, however, as it gives a clue to the theme of eating up all the rich food you might then forsake during the 40 days of Lent, when people would be expected to fast and pray. Meat, eggs and various milk products were forbidden.

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Pancake Day

Pancakes and baconNicola here. Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, a date that is a particular favourite of mine for two reasons, firstly because my husband and I had our first date over a pile of homemade pancakes on a Shrove Tuesday long ago and secondly because, well, I just love pancakes. Here is a picture of yesterday's feast!

In the Christian tradition the 40 days of Lent, which begin today, are a time of prayers and fasting, abstaining from a whole range of foods, including meat, eggs, fish, fats and milk. Shrove Tuesday itself was the day you were summoned to church to be “shriven” and confess your sins before Lent. The shriving bell would be rung to call people to confession.

Shrove Tuesday therefore was the very last day you can indulge in treats for 40 days. After that, all edible temptation has to be removed. So the making of pancakes was a great way to use up eggs, butter and other stocks of food that would be out of bounds for the following 40 days.

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