Today is Shrove Tuesday, or, as it is sometimes known, Pancake Day.
Traditionally, this is the day when Christians indulged in food they would be unable to eat in the fast of Lent, which begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday.
On Ash Wednesday, many Christians go to Mass and are shriven, or absolved of their sins of the previous year. To show they have been shriven, they have ash rubbed on their foreheads. These ashes are often made by burning the palm Sunday crosses from the previous year.
The eating of pancakes and other foods containing fat, eggs and other things forbidden during Lent gives the name Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday in many countries. In those places, there is often some kind of carnival as well as eating plenty of food as they won’t have much to eat during Lent. Well, that’s the origin. Nowadays, fasting is not so prevalent as in past eras.
Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter. It commemorates the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, being tempted by Satan. During this time, Christians are supposed to give something up and think about their lives and how they can be better people.
But we still like to eat our pancakes. Some people like them with lemon juice and sugar. Others prefer golden syrup. Some eat them with fruit, and/or brandy (think crepes suzette. Oranges and then brandy poured over and set alight.)
My Grandmother made delicious savoury pancakes. Some time ago, I did actually post her recipe, but as it’s Shrove Tuesday on the day my post comes out, I thought I’d post it again. So here it is.
125g large open capped mushrooms
½ x1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper
Fry the onion for a few minutes and add the mushrooms and tomatoes.
Continue cooking until all vegetables are cooked, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot on pancakes, rolled up. This makes an interesting first course or light lunch.
You can use bought pancakes, but please ensure they are not sweet ones, or you can make your own batter.
100 grams flour (4 ounces)
300 millilitres milk (0.5 pints)
A little oil for frying.
Put the flour into a basin and add the egg.
Beat well, and add the milk slowly.
Continue beating until you have a smooth batter.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add a small amount of the batter, enough to just cover the base of the pan.
When the underside is golden brown, turn the pancake and cook the other side until that, too, is golden. (You can try tossing it if you like!) Keep the cooked pancakes warm.
Add more of the batter to the pan, and keep on making pancakes until all the batter is used.
Divide the filling between the pancakes and roll up.
Serve and enjoy.
These can be eaten as a lunch, or as a starter at the beginning of a meal.
If you would like some more of my Grandmother’s recipes, and also others from my family and friends, buy Viv’s Family Recipes by clicking Here.
These recipes date back to 1909 and show us how our eating habits have changed over this time.