A month today it will be pancake day! Hurrah! I know you can and probably do eat pancakes at other times, but somehow pancake day pancakes are best (apart from the pannekoeken made by our Dutch friends!)
At home, growing up, we only ever had lemon juice (freshly squeezed, no JIF lemons then, or any other form of lemon juice) and sugar. Mum used a spot of lard to grease the pan and I still do when I make them, unless we have veggie chums with us. When I went to school and heard other people say they sometimes had jam, marmalade or even mincemeat, I was horrified! It just didn’t seem right! now of course I don’t mind what people choose, whatever they like! I think my mind was changed when I first went to Manchester and in Piccadilly Gardens – not the actual gardens, the shops around – there was the Pancake House which offered all sorts of variations; being on a tiny grant I hadn’t much money, but as I stared at the menu with garish photos of the pancakes with different toppings and fillings, I promised myself that one day, when I was earning and could afford it, I would treat myself to a pancake with cherries and whipped cream – it seemed so exciting and exotic! by the time I could afford it the Pancake House had closed! However, I still think of it every time I’m in Piccadilly Gardens!
My favourite topping is probably bacon and apple, as my Dutch friend has shown me, but I still like the traditional lemon and sugar. Here is what Philip Harben has to say about pancakes:
The traditional day for the serving of pancakes in England is Shrove Tuesday, sometimes called Pancake Day. I have never been able to find a really convincing explanation why this is so. One theory is that Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the forty-five day fast called Lent, and all butter and eggs would have to be used up; pancakes were chosen as a means to do this. The explanation will not hold water at all: to begin, the Church bars meat during fasts, but not eggs or butter; secondly, the amount of butter used in the making of pancakes is negligible. Nevertheless there is no doubt that the eve of Lent would be a natural day upon which to indulge in a good tuck-in: nothing could be nicer for the purpose than pancakes; pancakes require eggs and Shrove Tuesday is bang in the middle of the egg flush season.