We know that it’s not until next week but there is absolutely nothing wrong in being prepared for pancake day.
It’s fair to say that most of us are going to enjoy a pancake or two (or ten) but do we know why it is that each year we whip up a batter and get the frying pan out?
Pancake day is traditionally known as Shrove Tuesday. It marks the day before Lent in the Christian calendar and is a celebration and occasion to use up any foods that are considered to be rich or indulgent.
The name Shrove Tuesday comes from the word ‘shrive’. Traditionally Christians use the time before Lent to attend confession and ask for absolution of their sins in a bid to be ‘shriven’.
Lent also known as Ash Wednesday is the beginning of a 40 day fasting period in preparation for Easter. This preparation involves people choosing to eat plainer foods and refraining from eating any ‘treats’ or foods for pleasure. It is a time to be remorseful of our sins and an occasion to pay penance for them.
Although nowadays it is not as common for people to follow the specific religious practice of Shrove Tuesday or Lent and we may not always consider our actions as sinful and in need of being absolved in the same way- the concept does still hold relevance and is definitely something to consider in everyday life.
The modern world is one of abundance and convenience, we have access to a wide variety of food, drink and lifestyle that over time we have become very accustomed to. Unfortunately this convenience can lead to over indulgence, greed and addiction. Leading us to ask whether if the ability to have everything we want when we want it is good for us? For example have we lost sight of what a ‘treat’ is or what it really means?
Think about your life- has having a piece of cake, a bottle of wine, a fry up or a takeaway become a frequent habit?
This isn’t about denying ourselves enjoyable foods and drink altogether, the point we wish to make is that in order to truly appreciate the glorious selection of treats we have so readily available to us should be done so by enjoying them less often, making them that much more special when we do.
We don’t ever need a reason to make a change, try something new or give up something but whether you celebrate the religious aspects surrounding Pancake Day and Lent or not, it is still a wonderful opportunity for everyone to reflect upon the choices that we make, our appreciation of them and the effect they have on our lives.
First and foremost it is all about using a good batter recipe. It is generally considered that you must weigh things properly and do not guess your measurements. You also want to make sure that your batter is lump free by mixing it well.
Let it rest
In order to let the gluten develop in your batter mixture, let the batter rest for a little time before cooking.
Hot, hot, hot
Make sure that the frying pan or griddle is hot, hot, hot!
Make now, Serve later?
A controversial subject but if you have a lot of mouths to feed then save time by cooking your pancakes and stacking them on each other ready for later. Reheat in the oven when you are ready to eat them.
To flip or not to flip?
Another controversial subject, some people say not to flip your pancake at all whereas others disagree and say that flipping the pancake is all part of the fun. However, everyone agrees that you shouldn’t flip them too high and get them stuck on the ceiling.
Have fun with trying both sweet and savoury toppings.
Here are a few suggestions-
For sweet pancakes
Classic lemon and Sugar
Raspberries and blueberry
Banana and Chocolate spread
Peanut Butter and jam
Also try mixing chocolate powder into the batter for an even more chocolately taste or sprinkling crushed nuts over the pancakes for a crunch.
For savoury pancakes-
Ham and Cheese
Asparagus and Ham
Bacon and Egg
Bacon and Avocado
Also try mixing herbs into the pancake batter for a delicious depth of flavour.
Why not also try cooking or using your pancakes in a different way-