I’ve always found it kind of ironic that prior to the ‘fasting season’ of Lent many variants of the Catholic religion practised the art of using up all their rich foodstuffs such as milk, eggs and sugar. So traditionally, before consumption of these foodstuffs was restricted for the circa 40 days associated with the season, there was a day effectively tantamount to complete gluttony and hence the colloquial ‘Pancake Day’ was born.
I say effectively tantamount to complete gluttony but I guess that depends on exactly how much milk, eggs and sugar and other pancake ingredients are actually in your house at the time. If our supplies are anything to go by it would appear to a casual observer looking in our fridge and cupboards that we must not just keep several chicken coops in the back garden, but also a large head of dairy cattle and a cane plantation and not forgetting for one moment the windmill that grinds all the necessary flour from our impressive wheat field that we have tucked away in the corner.
We don’t by the way have any of those things – just we appear to have a penchant for amassing cake ingredients.
So despite not being catholic as a family, every Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday /Malasada Day (delete as appropriate); we continue to support at least this element of religious tradition in an attempt to dispose of some of the aforementioned forbidden items and maybe score some brownie points (although that is a different recipe altogether).
It is thus I find myself in front of the gas cooker, frying pan in hand waiting for that exact moment when the liquid batter fully evaporates from the surface informing you it’s time to flip the pancake. I am now quite practised in this art…many times in the past either the action has been too vigorous meaning a new kitchen ceiling design or alternatively not quite vigorous enough and I got to that uncomfortable position where the pancake had only half flipped and adhered itself to itself in an attempt to turn instead into something resembling an omelette.
Over the years various experiments have taken place with regard to fillings and garnishes however generally I return time and time again to the same basic sugar and lemon juice variety with occasional forays into an orange juice substitute. I’ve learnt to leave the Crepe Suzette and Kaiserschmarrn to those infinitely more culinary aloof.
Angus and Julia Stone wrote a certain line in a favourite song entitled ‘Santa Monica Dream’ but today it should be different; as today….
“Rob’s in the kitchen making pancakes”