Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Shrove Tuesday – aka Mardi Gras (redux - 2014)

It’s that time of year again: time for people to give up (again) the things they swore (on New Year’s Day) to give up, but let themselves off the hook by mid January.

It is to be the end of the gluttony we indulged ourselves in since the end of the previous Lenten Season. For those living under rocks, the pagans, and those who fell asleep during Sister Veronica’s ‘liturgical calendar’ class in school:  Shrove Tuesday:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrove_Tuesday

For those more interested in the secular aspects of the day, this may be more to your liking: Pancake Day: http://britishfood.about.com/od/festivecooking/a/pancakeday.htm

It is not all about eating those things we (in the UK) call pancakes, but more closely resemble the thin (25 mm), rolled up things - the ‘posh’ folk call them ‘crepes’  - than the thick (80 mm) stodgy doorsteps the Yanks make. The colonials also traditionally parade through the streets in costumes, drink in excess, throw - and beseech others to throw - strings of beads at fellow revelers. Some will attempt to accumulate a dozen or more strings of beads before being satisfied with that activity. In New Orleans (pronounced by the locals as 'Nor-lins'), many women-folk seem to believe it necessary to provide on-lookers a different type of satisfaction as they conduct all those activities bare-breasted. I have never been there to witness it - yet!  

More sedately, it has been a tradition for hundreds of years, in the small English village of Olney, for the women there to participate in a foot-race whilst holding a frying pan and tossing the pancake that it contains. There are many videos of that event, but this is the most informative – and best footage: Olney Pancake Race:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ngal2tQ17fA

In case the sight of that exertion (I mean the foot-race, not the bare-breasted bead-tossing) made you hungry, I have provided the following recipe. 

I use a heavy 6” pan and generally follow Mrs Hughes' recipe. For two people, I use only 2/3 of the ingredients and with 2 ½ tablespoons of batter for each crepe (to ensure they are thin and light) I can easily make 10 of them - onto which I drizzle a small amount of honey. I did that very thing an hour or two ago.  

Here are the assembled ingredients and 'tools': 

Note – the photo shows raisins – an acceptable alternative to currants which are far more difficult to find in the US. You may use 2%, or Vitamin D, milk if you wish - or the lower-fat, skimmed milk that I chose.

I keep the heat at medium-low to make sure the crepes do not burn:

Then, when turned out of the pan, they are barely browned on each side:

 After adding the small quantity of sugar and lemon juice, I roll them then drizzle on the honey:

Enjoy - Lent starts tomorrow!

In case you may want second helpings of the preceding, here it is in slideshow format:

Shrove Tuesday - 2nd helpings

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