Shrove Tuesday falls 47 days before Easter, it immediately precedes Ash Wednesday and will always be between 3rd February and 9th March but what isit? Why do we celebrate it? And why pancakes?
The word shrove derives from the English word shrive, meaning to be granted absolution for one’s sins through confession and penance. Traditionally, a bell would be rung to call the villagers to confession and Anglo-Saxon Christians would go and admit their sins to a priest. They were then ‘shriven’ or absolved from their sins. This bell later became known as the Pancake Bell and is still rung today.
Shrove Tuesday is the customary feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. It is the last opportunity to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar before the 40 day Lenten fast; these types of rich foods are not generally eaten during this period.
Each ingredient is thought to represent one of the four pillars of faith – eggs for creation; flour for the staff of life; salt for wholesomeness and milk for purity. The practice of mixing the ingredients for pancakes is disputed and for some, it has Pagan roots and for others, it is of Christian heritage.
Traditional English pancakes are made of batter, fried in a frying pan and served hot with sprinkles of sugar and a splash of lemon juice. Today there are a variety of pancakes to suit possibly everyone’s dietary requirements including vegan, dairy free, paleo and gluten free. Pancake toppings have also been given a contemporary revamp where we see sweet potato, coconut, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds making an appearance.
Whether you have a Britannia, Ilve, Rangemaster, Mercury, Falcon, Bertazonni or Lacanche, why not get inventive and make some delicious pancakes on your range cooker tonight…..happy flipping!!