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Thursday 11 February 2016

Fast ... or Feast?


Shrove Tuesday.  Pancake Day.  Mardi Gras. 
The last day of "fat eating" or "gorging" before fasting for 40 days.

Oh, how I enjoyed the glorious Pancake Days of my childhood.  From recollection, we only ate them once a year and they were such a joy to rush home to, skipping through the lanes at lunchtime between school and home - how happy I must have looked!
Of course, it’s the cruellest of dishes demanded of the poor cook.  My Mum must have hovered over the stove for hours, cooking pancake after pancake and by the time the last child was being served up, the first would have been queueing up expectantly for their second, third …  Did poor old Mum ever get to sit down and enjoy a pancake, I wondered on Tuesday when we kept with tradition. 
I  was only cooking pancakes for two and I felt like a martyr! 
But I did get to enjoy these:

Served simply, with lemon juice and sugar, just like Mum used to make ‘em. 
Does it get much better?
Yes, it does, it turns out!!
There was a Boxing Pancake Day!
 I had a fair bit of batter left over.  What to do? J. 
With sliced banana and crème fraiche, the pancakes made a luxurious breakfast treat. 
You can find a pancake recipe here .  I use a half and half of milk and water for the liquid element for a lighter batter. 
Make pancakes.  Eat.  Enjoy!
So,  the idea traditionally is that we eat pancakes then we deprive ourselves of fat for 40 days, or more likely nowadays, we deprive ourselves of something specific ... something that maybe we like a lot!
It is said that if you do something for more than 30 days, it becomes habit, so you may find that after 40 days the change is longer-lasting.
I have previously given up things like wine and crisps and you never really rush back to carry on where you left off afterwards and, indeed, it may bring about a more lasting habit change.
I haven’t come up with anything to give up for 2016 … yet.  Have you?  How's it going on Day 2?!!
Right, that’s how it's done here, for those who choose.

Traditions vary from country to country.  For example, at this
time of year, the Swedes make delicious cakes called semlor as

Changes over time mean that the traditional treat is available to those lucky Swedes during the first few months of the year and right through to Easter (according to Wikipedia and from my slaveringly jealous observations!)
What a Feast!

A la perchoine.

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