Pancake Day, and why my scale needs fixing



It's Pancake Day here in Britain---a calorie laden tradition that precedes Ash Wednesday. 

Very sorry I couldn't post on the actual day, but I've just recovered from my carb hangover and am finally able to face a photo of a pancake again!




So, what is Pancake Day, you ask? Here in London, I've found that there are some very unusual holidays (Guy Fawkes Day, for example, in which they celebrate all things pyrotechnic), and this is one of them! If you like breakfast, breakfast for lunch, breakfast for dinner, or pancakes at any time of day or night, this could be the holiday for you!


In a nutshell, Pancake Day is the one day that England rids their kitchen of all of the food items that the Church once forbid during Lent.  In the Middle Ages, Pope Gregory the Great handed down the dictum---no eggs, meat or dairy (or sex or fighting) for the 40 days prior to Easter. 

This is an interesting concept which certainly begs further questioning. What I want to know is: did England have a disproportionate number of December and January Births? and did British generals use the 40 days to strategically plan war tactics during their 40 day hiatus? 
"Hello France. It's Pancake Day over here, and we are going to put a hold on our fighting until Easter, so please don't plan any invasions."  

These are the kind of questions that run through my brain as I rid my kitchen of all things egg, cheese, milk and meat related.

As I understand it, in the days before Lent, Brits were in somewhat of a celebratory mood as they used up all the things that would go bad if they weren't eaten. A puritan preacher in 1571 referred to Shrove Tuesday as a "time of great gluttony, surfeiting and drunkenness". (I had to look up what surfeiting meant---it basically means to eat or drink to excess, which does seem slightly appropriate in my case!) 

Continuing with the history lesson, the gluttony did refer specifically to pancakes in England, and a first reference was made in 1586 to  "Fast Eve of pan puffs." This day followed Collup Monday, in which everyone ate all the meat that they had. So basically after Pancake day, everyone became a vegan fish-eater. That is, until Easter, when there was another blowout feast....(so, gorge today, fast for 40 days, then feast again. what a cycle of deferred gratification!) 


Here in modern day, 2019 London, there are signs on the tube announcing Pancake Day specials, which all the breakfast places seem to run; the grocery stores have pancake displays, and I noticed one restaurant with a very yummy contest.

The Polo Bar offers this challenge: Eat 12 pancakes, slathered with ice cream, strawberry sauce and fruit within 15 minutes. If you can do it, the meal is free, and they throw in a bottle of Prosecco! Now this is one crazy morning. Imagine going to work after that!  And, in case you have plans to book your flights for next year's celebration, here is what the Polo Bar pancake contest looks like:




Please don't talk to me about pancakes for a while.  I need to sign off--- gotta run out and try to find someplace that will fix my bathroom scale. It is saying I weigh about 10 pounds more than on Sunday, and I know that can't be right!

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