Shrove Tuesday is that day when you really wish you had a crepe maker. Not only is it a great year-round addition for sweet and savoury foods, it’s the easy way to create perfect pancakes. No more burnt or broken efforts looking sorry for themselves.
‘Why should I go to so much bother?’ you ask. A pancake pan is fine.
If you knew the truth behind Pancake Day you wouldn’t say that. You’d want to do something extra special.
THE FORGOTTEN HOLIDAY
Somewhere underneath all of the batter bowls, lemons, hyper kids and sugar-strewn worktops there’s a real holiday, with a fantastic heritage.
In Brazil we get one of the greatest human spectacles in the modern world. Our humble pancake day transforms unapologetically into Carnival. Street processions and costumed revellers thunder through the palm-tree paths of Rio de Janeiro, bursting forth like a flame and disappearing in a whirl of colour and smoke.
In Iceland, instead of pancakes, they have meat and peas. Estonians have soup.
It’s a true holiday of the world.
To uncover our own traditions we have to go back to a land of castles and knights. Pancakecelebrations have been dated as far back as 1439 (perhaps earlier), in the time of Henry VI. Anglo-Saxon Christians would go to confession and would be ‘shriven’ (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to start proceedings that came to be known as the ‘Pancake Bell’. It can still be heard today in some places.
With Lent (the 40 days of fasting before Easter) approaching, it was the ideal time to use up any fats and eggs that might be left. Pancakes became the go-to meal and competitions became the norm, with points been awarded for the number of flips achieved. Apparently, it wasn’t unusual to see people rushing to church before the noon cut off time, clutching half-eaten pancakes.
DOING IT RIGHT
That’s why you need a crepe maker.
When you serve pancakes you’re not just serving a packet mix you got from the shop. You’re serving a rich tapestry of myths, legends, stories and lives, perfectly entwined in a global still frame. Whether you run a bar, hotel, restaurant, or are simply at home, fire up the crepe maker and know you’re part of history.