With Pancake Day 2021 not too far away, (Tuesday 16th February) and lockdown 3.0 still currently in place, why not give tossing some pancakes a go?
So why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?
Christian tradition stated that the 40 days before Easter are know as Lent, marking the time that Jesus spent fasting in the desert, by abstaining from many foods including meat, eggs, fish, fats, and milk. So, before the 40 days began, all temptation had to be removed – which is how Shrove Tuesday came to be – using up milk, eggs and butter and other fats. One of the quickest and easiest solutions was to mix them up and fry them as a pancake.
There are many different traditions all around the world, here are just a few!
In Greece, the day is called Apocreas which means ‘from the meat’. Meat is forbidden during Lent. Greek pancakes are called tiganites, they are generally thicker than our British pancakes and are often topped with honey and cinnamon, and sometimes with cheese, nuts, fruit, or vegetables.
In Sweden it is called Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday). Traditional Swedish pancakes can be a little more interesting. They have the usual thin pancakes, called pannkakor, which often come with whipped cream and jam! They also have plättar which are more like little English pancakes and are fried several at a time in a special pan. The Swedes are also known for having pancakes with saffron and rice or äggakaka (eggcake), which are very thick pancakes often served with lingonberries and bacon!!
In Iceland, the day is called “Sprengidagur” which translates to Bursting day! Their pancakes are known as pönnukaka. Generally, they are quite small, thick, and brown in colour. They cook them in a special pancake frying pan, which is never meant to be washed!
In Poland, during the 17th century they celebrated their version of Shrove Tuesday by eating large amounts of lard, bacon and vodka for an entire week! Nowadays there is a much healthier approach to tradition. On Fat Thursday, celebrated on the last Thursday before Lent they eat nothing but pancakes, pastries and jam doughnuts.
But nothing can beat a classic pancake, and you can choose whether to have a sweet or savoury topping. I love the classic lemon juice and sugar sprinkled on top, or maple syrup. But I have been known to have peanut butter and jam, and mozzarella and chilli jam!
DID YOU KNOW………
The world’s largest ever pancake, according to the Guinness World Records, was made in Rochdale on August 13, 1994.
The monster crepe measured 15.01 metres in diameter and was an inch deep.
It weighed an incredible three tonnes and had to be flipped over with the aid of cranes.
The pancake was later cut into 15,000 portions and sold off at 25p a slice to raise money for local charities.
Unfortunately we don’t know how much syrup was needed!
So what will you be having on your pancakes or giving up for Lent?