Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Why are you eating pancakes today? It's all about Easter, innit. Whether you call it Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, it's the day before Lent starts. Lent, you will remember, is 40 days of abstinence in sympathy for Jesus' 40 days of starvation in the desert. (He was obviously in the wrong place because the deserts I've been to have offered dune-buggying, belly-dancing, brothels and a lot of fast food among other diversions.) So today we use up all our rich food - eggs, milk, flour and butter - and make pancakes in preparation for the next few weeks' fasting. You might choose to use up any other combination of rich foods, but I'm not taking responsibility for that.

Mini Dutch pancakes

Not only is the whole country as flat as a pancake, but The Netherlands is famous for its poffertjes (above) - mini pancakes eaten with sugar. Whether you are tucking into pancakes drenched with sugar, lemon, maple syrup, Nutella, jam, or stuffed with savoury delights, spare a thought for the inhabitants of Iceland and Finland who celebrate by eating salted meat and peas or pea soup. In Newfoundland, cooks put fortune-telling tokens into the pancakes: A coin means wealth, a nail means they will marry a carpenter (or possibly a trip to A&E), etc.

Have you decided what to give up for Lent? Can you resist temptation for 40 days? Maybe you could resurrect your new year's resolutions if they have flagged (and if you can remember them). You should also be ready to confess your sins today. Anything you want to tell me?

YumYumBubblegum's pancake recipe

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