Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No Short Shrift in these Pancakes

IT is celebrated all around the world: Mardi Gras, Karnevale, Karnival, Shrove Tuesday, or in the UK plain old Pancake Day. Historically, this day marked the beginning of the 40-day Lenten fasting period when the faithful were forbidden by the church to consume meat, butter, eggs or milk. Thus people would use up these goodies in a last big party before the solemn fasting time began.

We marked the occasion first with a Karnival party at Emma's German school. As three years is the Great Age of Opinion, she decided not to wear the costume neatly laid out the night before. Instead, a pair of too-small pyjamas would be perfect to make a blue dog. So with a blue scarf-tail and ears hastily sewn on a hat in the car, Emma The Blue Dog was born. With sweets, balloons and oompah music, we enjoyed our own little piece of German revelry.

My family's tradition is simply eating crepe-style pancakes, so on Shrove Tuesday we had fun mixing up a sticky batter. The problem with Pancake Day is that it comes but once a year, and my pancake-making skills do tend to regress over that period. Luckily Thomas arrived home just in time and saved the batter from a fate infinitely worse than frying. My culinary prowess was redeemed the next day when we enjoyed German-style potato pancakes with delicious homemade applesauce.

Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake;
Toss the pancake,
Catch it if you can.
Christina Rossetti

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