Tillie Berry’s comprehensive guide to pancake day

Pancake day has ‘creped’ up on us again. It is a day of guilty pleasures for all of those who partake; whether it is an opportunity to have some fun with the kids or just a chance to treat yourself. But how did this day actually come about?

Pancake facts

Pancake day, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, immediately precedes Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of lent which is a very important part of the Catholic church’s liturgical year. Lent is traditionally a time of fasting so Shrove Tuesday is the last opportunity to use up eggs, milk and fats before embarking on the fast leading up to Easter and lo and behold pancakes were created, much to the satisfaction of many.

A bell would toll calling parishioners to confess their sins and it is rumoured that pancakes were slipped into their pockets while waiting in long, cold queues outside Catholic churches everywhere to keep them going.

Pancake day is celebrated across Europe – in France it is known as Mardi Gras – or Fat Tuesday – again in recognition of the time to use up everything in the cupboard before having to fast.

As with other Christian festivals, there are however theories that Christians have ‘borrowed’ the festival from Pagans and that pancakes were made to celebrate Spring and were symbolic of the sun!

It is estimated that in the UK alone Brits will use 52 million eggs on Pancake Day (that’s 22 million more than on any other day) and that we will eat on average 2 pancakes per person. That’s a staggering 117 million pancakes, 93 Olympic swimming pools worth of milk and 13 million kilos of plain flour.

Pancakes in books

Whatever their origin, the pancake has been featured in cookery books dating back to 1439. It’s not just cookery books however where the humble pancake has appeared, there are a plethora of childrens titles featuring pancakes but who amongst you can remember learning to read at junior school and graduating to “The runaway pancake” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1QRqpAOHu0

Pancakes in sport

If we’re not eating them, or reading about them, we’re also fond of flipping them while running – the ladies of Olney in Buckinghamshire can trace their race back to 1445. MPs, not to be outdone, also hold a Parliamentary Pancake Race in aid of Charity. Clearly it is not a tradition that is going to fade away for a long time yet.

Competitors ready themselves at the start line of a pancake race on Shrove Tuesday in UK.

G&T pancake recipe

For the more adventurous here is a recipe that is a little more out there and only for adults and which got a big thumbs up in the office: G&T pancakes https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/gt-pancakes

G&T pancakes – makes 10 – prep 5 min – cook 10 min

Ingredients

For the syrup

250ml can gin & tonic
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced (and zest for garnish)

For the pancakes

200g self-raising flour
1 egg
2 tbsp caster sugar
250ml can gin & tonic
oil for frying

Method

1) To make the syrup, pour a can of gin & tonic into a saucepan along with the sugar and lemon juice and reduce for a few mins until syrupy. Set aside.

2) Pour in the other can of gin & tonic and whisk the batter until smooth. Lightly oil a non-stick pan, set over a medium heat, add two spoonfuls of batter into the pan and cook for 1-2 mins on each side. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with the syrup drizzled over and finely grate over some lemon zest.

If that recipe isn’t for you, there is an endless amount out there, as well as hundreds of toppings you can experiment with, if you’re in need of inspiration then look no further. https://www.mumsmakelists.com/pancake-toppings/

Here are the KWIB team’s favourite toppings:

Kym – Cinnamon sugar
Paul – Maple syrup
Sarah – Sugar & Lemon
Suzanna – Nutella & banana
Tillie – Strawberries & chocolate

Let us know how you like your pancakes! Do you like to keep them traditional and simple or do you tend to go for new and exciting combinations? And if you’re somebody who likes to stay away from the hassle of cooking indoors then why not go out and have your pancakes served to you? Check out the “top ten” places to celebrate. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/pancake-day-2018-best-places-shrove-tuesday-food-drink-restaurants-pub-a8191196.html

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