Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday – better known as Pancake Day. You Americans might know it as Mardi Gras. All of the European countries have a tradition for the day before Lent, and in England it involves making pancakes to use up all of your naughty fattening foods before the Lenten season.

I discovered it was Pancake Day in London when I was in Selfridges over the weekend, and saw the display of Aunt Jemima boxes with a sign for Pancake Day on the 24th. But pancakes here are much better; they are thin like crepes, and traditional fillings (besides nutella) are jam, honey, and simple lemon juice and sugar.

The other way I knew it was Pancake Day is when I saw signs for Islington's Pancake Race qualifying heats. There is a funny tradition in England of pancake races; even the two houses of Parliament have a race pitting each house against each other. The races involve running with a pancake in a frying pan and having to flip it 3 times before crossing the finish line (with the pancake in the pan, obviously).

At work, our weekly Wednesday tea party was held a day early and the lovely Rose whipped up a batch of pancakes and a variety of fillings (courtesy of Sainsburys) for us all to enjoy. Five hours later, I'm still stuffed.

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