THE FLIPPING BEST DAY OF THE YEAR

9 Feb 2021 | Student Advice

Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday is normally a day of fun, good food and strange toppings. However, there is also a great deal of history surrounding the day, with the earliest known English Pancake recipe dating from the 15th century.

The history

The exact date of Pancake Day tends to vary between February 3rd and March 9th but always falls 47 days before Easter. This year Pancake Day will take place on the 25th of February.

Shrove Tuesday is the traditional ‘feast day’ which takes place on the eve of Lent (Ash Wednesday), the 40 days before Easter that Christians believe Jesus spent fasting in the desert. During this period, Christians would mark this time by praying and abstaining from certain foods like, meat, eggs, fish, fats and milk.

The word “Shrove” comes from the Old Roman Catholic practice of being ‘shriven’, meaning to confess ones sins. Traditionally, on Shrove Tuesday, a bell would be rung to call Christians to Confession where their sins would be absolved – this was known as the Pancake Bell and is still rung today. After Church, the absolved would return home to use the ingredients they would soon be prohibited from consuming in a night of indulgence.

Pancake recipe

Across the world there are hundreds of types of pancakes. There are fluffy American, spherical Danish Aebleskiver and delicate French crepes to name but a few. Be adventurous and try out any of these recipes but you also can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned British Pancake.

Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil, plus a little extra for frying
  • lemon wedges to serve (optional)
  • caster sugar to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Put 100g plain flour, 2 large eggs, 300ml milk, 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil and a pinch of salt into a bowl or large jug, then whisk to a smooth batter.
  2. Set aside for 30 mins to rest if you have time, or start cooking straight away.
  3. Set a medium frying pan or crêpe pan over a medium heat and carefully wipe it with some oiled kitchen paper.
  4. When hot, cook your pancakes for 1 min on each side until golden, keeping them warm in a low oven as you go.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and caster sugar, or your favourite filling. Once cold, you can layer the pancakes between baking parchment, then wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 2 months.

Fun facts

Few celebrations can exist as long as Pancake Day without a couple of strange traditions arising. Here are a couple of fun facts about how Pancake Day is celebrated around the UK:

 

  • Did you know that Pancake Races occur annually across the UK? Generally, the sport exists as a relay race between teams, with each team equipped with a frying pan and a pancake. Each member of the team must run the length of the track, flipping it all the way.
  • A Pancake Race has taken place in Olney in Buckinghamshire since 1445. The tradition is believed to have originated when a local woman heard the church bell while she was making pancakes and ran to get there in time, frying pan in hand.
  • In the 17th Century, some Polish people celebrated Shrove Tuesday by indulging in lard, bacon and vodka for a whole week before fasting for Ash Wednesday.
  • ‘Mob Football’, ‘Folk Football’ or ‘Shrovetide Football’ is an historic game which is believed to have taken place on Shrove Tuesday. However, it is a little more violent than regular Premier League Games. Mob Football has almost no rules and is played across an entire town, with goals at either end. The game is slightly less popular now (and a little less violent) but games do still occur in places like Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Cornwall.

Happy pancake flipping to you all, we hope that you’ll enjoy your feast day (and share your pictures with us @fusionstudentsuk!)

By Ilona Cabral

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