That’s Just British…
Wit and Wisdom from Across the Pond [by Russ]

That’s British: Pancake day with Russ

Pancake day, aka Shrove Tuesday. I’m not religious, but it’s one of my favourite days of the year. Unlike the States, pancakes are not a regular food here, we don’t have them often. Instead, we have a day devoted to the tasty eggy and fatty goodness. Taking place before lent’s commencement on Ash Wednesday, Anglo-Saxon’s would go to confession and were shriven. Absolved of their sins. How did you know it was time, why you ring the pancake bell of course! Imagine that, oh no I’ve been an arse, guess the bell need to be wrong I’ll confess and eat pancakes. That’ll learn me

The date varies as it’s always 47 days before Easter Sunday this year it’s the 16th February. The earliest recipe book with pancake in dates back to 1439! 

The idea was to use up all your eggs and fat before fasting for lent. Now in the uk our pancakes are a thin flat cake, made of batter and fried in a frying pan. You drown it in syrup, lemon juice and caster sugar, and if you’re me, banana (ice cream sometimes) and hope you don’t fall into a sugar coma. 

Everyone knows to be a good pancake maker you have to be a good tosser. You have to toss the pancake to flip it over, no spoon or spatula.  This resulted in much comedy in life, from seeing them stick to the ceiling (dad), land in the sink (mum) or the dog bowl (me) 

So who wants a pancake, Brit style will here is what you do. 

Mix all together and whisk well. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, pour in enough batter to cover the base of the pan and let it cook until the base of the pancake has browned. Then shake the pan to loosen the pancake and flip the pancake over to brown the other side.

But Russ, I don’t wanna eat my pancake. Ok take it racing. What’s a pancake race? Glad you asked.

Ok so it’s a race, with a pan and pancake, running and tossing your pancake, first to cross the line wins. Wanna make it harder, then it’s fancy dress. 

The most famous pancake race takes place at Olney in Buckinghamshire. According to tradition, in 1445 a woman of Olney heard the shriving bell while she was making pancakes and ran to the church in her apron, still clutching her frying pan. The Olney pancake race is now world-famous. Competitors have to be local housewives, and they must wear an apron and a hat or scarf. Each contestant has a frying pan containing a hot pancake. She must toss it three times during the race. The first woman to complete the course and arrive at the church, serve her pancake to the bell ringer and be kissed by him, is the winner.

So there you go, another weird tradition here. 

Next time I wanna go reader’s choice, so give me some questions on the UK! 

Till then, I’ll leave you with Russ’ Brit word of the blog:

‘quockerwodger’ (19th century): a puppet-like individual whose strings of action are pulled by someone else.

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