Shrovetide and Snow Pancakes
From the number of hits my “Food Miles” article has attracted on the lynsted.com website I am assuming that buying local produce is an issue people are interested in. If you are, why not visit bigbarn.co.uk. This website identifies local producers who sell direct to the public in your area. If you have favourite local producers who are not on this website, let them know as Kent is underrepresented. The organisers of the website are running a campaign to get a local produce stall included in all supermarkets. This will enable farmers/producers to sell their produce in the supermarket and receive 75% of the takings (rather than the 9% they currently attract). Although one supermarket chain has agreed to this, “bigbarn” are not expecting a speedy introduction as they are sure that obstacles will be put in their way.
Food tradition: Shrovetide
The end of February heralds the beginning of Lent which this year starts on 1 March. Most of us know of Shrove Tuesday when pancakes are traditionally baked, but Shrovetide actually consists of four days. Egg Saturday when eggs needed to be used up as they were forbidden during lent; Shrove Sunday (or Quinquagesima); Collop Monday when collops (meat) remaining in the larder would be eaten and Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes were made in order to use up eggs, butter and milk before the fasting commenced. The first three pancakes needed to be put to one side and left uneaten. “One for Peter, one for Paul and one for Him who made us all.” Single girls would feed a pancake to a rooster. The number of hens joining in this meal signified the number of years the girl would remain unwed.
The tradition of eating pancakes before Lent pre-dates Elizabethan times. Thought to be symbolic of the unleavened bread shared at the Feast of the Passover, they were common in communities where the only method of cooking was over an open fire. During Chaucer’s time they were known as crisps or cresps.
A tradition from Victoria times was to make pancakes with snow. These were egg-free and very light.
Ingredients: (Makes approx 8 pancakes)
- 4ozs (100g) plain flour˝ pint (300ml) milk
- ButterA few spoonfuls of fresh snow
- Pinch of saltPinch of nutmeg
- Put the flour, salt and nutmeg into a mixing bowl and gradually mix in the milk to make a paste. Beat until smooth and then gradually beat in the rest of the milk.
- Heat a little butter in a heavy bottomed frying pan.
- Pour enough batter for one pancake into a small bowl.
- Gently fold in a heaped tablespoon of fresh snow.
- Pour the small bowl of batter into the hot frying pan and cook quickly. Tossing once (or turning if you prefer) once.
Personally I don’t think you can beat pancakes served with just a sprinkling of sugar and lemon juice. But you can of course use these pancakes for all your favourite fillings.