Shrove Tuesday: Pancake Day!

12 Feb

All across the country today eggs are being cracked, flour is being measured and flat bottomed frying pans are being heated to the perfect temperature to get the golden thin pancakes that we Brits associate with Shrove Tuesday.

But why do we eat pancakes on this day? Shrove Tuesday marks the day before Lent begins – Ash Wednesday – and this was seen as a day of feasting in preparation for the coming fasting period. People would go and confess their sins to be ‘shriven’ (forgiven) before the start of lent and then they would avoid rich foods, like eggs, until Lent ended. Because of this, people would use up everything in their cupboards, with pancakes being the quick and easy way of using up all their eggs.               .

The custom of making pancakes grew and it is thought that on one Shrove Tuesday in 1445, one woman was still making her pancakes when the church bells rang out as the call to attend. Rather than be late, she ran to church with her frying pan and pancake in hand, and so the pancake races were born.

Today, people might not remember the exact reasons for eating pancakes, but it is still seen as day where you get together with friends and family to have pancake-tossing competitions, perhaps join in a race and squabble over the perfect pancake filling.

Becca and I are very much traditionalists on Pancake Day and lean towards a perfect flat pancake with a good old squeeze of lemon and sugar. Laila also likes the flat pancakes but fills hers with Nutella and banana. Emily loves a savoury pancake and will tuck in to one filled with ham and cheese.  Cecilia, controversially, enjoys a lovely thick drop scone (or Scotch pancake, as some people call them) topped with cream, fruit and syrup.

There is a massive choice out there of what you can put in yours. We’ll be tweeting throughout the day of different fillings you can use and we’d love to hear from you too. Tweet us your favourite filling to @purplegrapeteam #purplegrapepancake