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Happy Pancake Day!

So there was this one day I had a terrible craving for pancakes. You know how it is. We went to a Little Chef (a better than average side-of-the-highway fast food chain) and I ordered some. Imagine my surprise when — expecting a big, fat stack of flapjacks, dripping with butter and syrup — placed before me was one thin crêpe, folded over, with a squeeze of lemon. A perfectly good crêpe, I have to say, but not what I meant, yo.

This is what Brits call a pancake. I’ve since seen them sold as fairground food at village fêtes — very large ones, cooked to order on portable griddles and topped with a variety of things. They’re nice. And when I want a stack of flapjacks, they’re dead easy to make.

Anyway, it’s Pancake Day AKA Shrove Tuesday. British Pancake Day traditions go back hundreds and hundreds of years, the main one being a footrace. Women (and sometimes men dressed as women — a thing British men will do at the drop of a chapeau) run with a pancake in a skillet. Sadly, they don’t have to flip the pancake the whole way, but they do have to give it a couple of turns.

There are also street football games some places. I get the impression street football games aren’t so much games with rules and winners and people keeping score as, just, a mob of people in the street kicking a ball around. Whatevs. I don’t do sprot.

Pancake Day is always a small surprise. I think of Britain as being so secular — and I think of Lent as being Catholic — but the CofE is closer to Catholicism than I’d realized, and they do have pancake ingredient displays in the supermarkets beforehand. No fasting tomorrow though.

Me? I’m having pizza tonight.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 17, 2015, 10:05 pm

Heh. I follow Big Ben on Twitter. He usually goes BONG BONG BONG at the hour, but today he’s going PANCAKES PANCAKES PANCAKES.

Comment from P2
Time: February 17, 2015, 10:18 pm

Little Chef…I remember them.. Along with the ubiquitous Happy Eater… I don’t remember ever eating in either one tho.. I probably missed out on an experience….

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: February 17, 2015, 10:38 pm

OK, you’ve got my cravings fired up now! Sourdough pancakes? or buckwheat? Oh, GOD! The pressure! Maple syrup, apple butter, or honey? Why do all the difficult choices fall to me?

Comment from LesterIII
Time: February 17, 2015, 10:51 pm

Buttermilk pancakes with blueberries AND raspberries, IN the batter and not this cheating/lazy BS just putting them on top.

Nursed my worst hangover ever on 2 days worth (eight actual meals) of them with about 3lbs of bacon. Don’t judge me, I was still active duty on a 96.

Now I gotta make pancakes. And fasting is only suitable for summoning creatures from the netherworld, which is what all this weeks shenanigans is about anyway.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: February 18, 2015, 1:19 am

Lester…YUMMMMMMMM How many pancakes per meal and what was the pancake to bacon ratio?

My favorite thing to do was slather the bacon with real maple syrup and then passout from the meat/sugar coma that ensued. Ah the good ole’ days.

Comment from LesterIII
Time: February 18, 2015, 3:36 am

To this day, I believe a proper stack o’pancakes should consist of no less than 4 large (plate diameter) cakes. Back then it was more typically 6 or 7.

The bacon-cake ratio varied, but typically was heavier in the morning, post workout. Eating & sweating through hangovers were key to my drinking success.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: February 18, 2015, 3:37 am

The first recipe I memorized as a child was cornbread. The second recipe I learned by heart was pancakes, or hotcakes as my mother called them. Husband wants pancakes or waffles every weekend. If not Saturday, then Sunday, and frequently both days. He covers them in peanut butter, then syrup, but I want a fried egg with mine. For pancakes, I still use my mother’s cast aluminum griddle—it’s 70 years old and she left it to me in her will.

We always give the same wedding present: a Black & Decker electric waffle iron (the thin waffles, not those thick ones), because Husband believes every man should have waffles on the weekend (even if he has to make them himself).

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: February 18, 2015, 6:02 am

Pancake Day? I have no idea what you’re talking about

Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: February 18, 2015, 7:21 am

I thought pancake day was March 16th, when we celebrate The Feast of Our Lady of the Pancake, Rachael Corrie.

That could be just me.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: February 18, 2015, 3:40 pm

Re: breakfast. Stoaty, you wrote at Christmas that you like to have soup for breakfast. What kind of soup? I’m having left-over potato soup for brunch (the third heating), and it reminded me to ask about your breakfast habit.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: February 18, 2015, 4:24 pm

Definitely one for you:


Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: February 18, 2015, 4:27 pm


(Sorry, I was too busy making pancakes yesterday to post this on the correct day)

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: February 18, 2015, 4:50 pm

Here in Da Swamp, we’ve just emerged from The Annual Insanity, aka Mardi Gras. When I was a kid the MG parades went by a half block from my house, and that was cool. But nowadays I’d have to fight my way through traffic, find a place or pay to park, stand for two hours looking at papier-mache floats I’ve seen before, and then fight my way back. No thanks. My dream would be to leave town the Thursday before the first parade, not come back until the Thursday after Mardi Gras, and head to a place where they never heard of throwing stuff from floats.

I’ll have to remember the pancakes.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: February 18, 2015, 4:59 pm

head to a place where they never heard of throwing stuff from floats.

Well, up here in Northern New England, we party by quietly drinking until blind & then staggering home in the snow alone. Parades are generally a fire truck driving up Main street, & a fat guy singing “God Bless America”. These are held when the last snow finally melts (we call this day July 4th). It’s fun!

Comment from mojo
Time: February 18, 2015, 5:13 pm

There’s a little joint (on what passes for a main drag around here) called “The Joy of Eating”, which I first went into because I enjoy a good literary reference. They make the BEST breakfast, Yankee-style. Flapjacks, eggs, hash browns, bacon to die for, and the best toast I ever et. Or you can get a nice steak with your eggs. Seriously. I try to make it in about once a week.

Te gustibus non disputandum est.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: February 18, 2015, 6:46 pm

My mother has a pan just for pancakes (British pancakes, not Aunt Jemima). If they’re made right they will be thin enough to cook through without flipping. And they should be cooked in lard. Sugar, lemon juice, maybe a dollop of raspberry jam. Make them one at a time and eat them while they’re piping hot (so best eaten round the kitchen table and not in the dining room). Yum.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 18, 2015, 8:21 pm

Deborah, I make a concoction I call “cream of shit from the garden soup.” In the summertime, it’s literally whatever’s available from Uncle B’s raised beds. In Winter, I grab a handful of soup-appropriate veg from the fruiterer. Usually parsnips, carrots, bell peppers, onions. Occasionally something exotic like a mooli or celeriac. Add herbs and spices, pressure cook for 15 minutes, blend.

There’s no fat added to the base recipe (and certainly no meat), because that makes it go off quicker. Before serving, I pour the base into a bowl and add cream, or milk and butter, or shredded chicken and milk, or whatever…and nuke.

Julia, that weasel has a terrible overbite.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: February 18, 2015, 9:13 pm

Oh I remember you writing about this before—catchy name 😉 But I didn’t remember you telling us that you ate it for breakfast. Had to look up mooli—that would give it a kick. Sounds very nutritious.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 18, 2015, 10:24 pm

Mooli added a nice, slightly spicy taste to the concoction, but it made the entire house reek of cabbage farts. For days. Seriously, Uncle B made me promise never, ever to bring a mooli across our threshold again.

Comment from drew458
Time: February 19, 2015, 8:19 am

I don’t know what you are referring to, but I promise you, here in New Jersey a mooli is an entirely different thing. Most of them aren’t vegetables either.

Pancakes are properly served with Taylor’s Pork Roll, although bacon works too. Drown them in syrup and butter, eggs onna side. But now Uncle Al has me craving the apple butter!

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: February 20, 2015, 6:51 am

The weasel in the topper and cape is a classy looking fellow.

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