Pancake Day
Monday February 19th 2007, 10:09 am

Tomorrow is Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday, which is also called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday in parts of the United States. It is the day before Ash Wednesday, or the first day of Lent. Traditionally, it was a day to use up all the rich foods in the house such as eggs, milk, sugar and flour, and cook them into pancakes, before the forty days of fasting during Lent. During Lent you are supposed to eat only the plainest of food. When I was young, children were supposed to give up something they liked, such as candy. Other than giving up candy, we didn’t fast, and we ate foods we normally ate. Some families in my neighbourhood, didn’t eat dessert, ate more fish and less red meat during Lent, which they considered to be fasting. The only day we fasted was Good Friday, when we couldn’t eat meat, and always had fish for supper. I could last only the first week of Lent to be without candy, because I never was very disciplined when it came to sweets, and I am still that way.

In Newfoundland, they put small household objects into the pancakes. Children enjoyed finding objects which would tell their future. If a lucky person found a ring, they will be getting married. If they found a coin, they will become rich, and so on. This tradition was also used in birthday cakes when I was young, but due to the choking hazard, it isn’t done often now.

In one of my favourite cookbooks, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, you will find recipes for pancakes under griddlecakes, which must be an American term. I sometimes use packaged pancake mix, but the best pancakes are made from scratch. The recipe I like to use from this cookbook is very simple and good tasting.

3/4 cup of milk (room temperature is best)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg (separated makes fluffier pancakes)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Beat milk, butter, and egg lightly in bowl. Separating the white of the egg and beating it before adding to the mixture, makes a fluffier pancake. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and add to the first mixture. Cook on a heated grill and serve with maple syrup, fresh berries or whatever you like. I may even add some flax meal to the batter for more fiber.

I don’t like sweet syrup, so I prefer to use Carey’s no sugar added syrup, which is, by far, the best tasting of the no sugar syrups. The only place I can find it is at Walmart, in the diabetes section. I also like to cook blueberries into a blueberry sauce and serve over the pancakes. We always have sausages with the pancakes. The best sausages I have ever tasted are veal sausages from Costco, which have very little fat and are very tasty.

In our family we love pancakes, but seldom have them for breakfast. I prefer to have a high fibre breakfast, which regulates my blood sugar better. Every year I circle Pancake Tuesday on the calendar, as if it were a holiday. My son, daughter and I, waited in anticipation of having pancakes, syrup and sausages for supper, like it was a special treat, although my husband would have preferred something else.

Although I don’t give up anything for Lent anymore, I won’t give up my pancake supper.

Have a good day,