Archive for February 21st, 2012

“There is hardship in everything except eating pancakes.”
― CH Spurgeon –

I love traditions. I don’t go overboard (except for at Christmas when my Mother and I would turn the house into Santa’s Grotto if we were allowed!) but there’s something poignant and real in being able to repeat a notion, a thought and a thing because it’s tradition. I think that I get more from keeping to traditional things than I do from the idea behind them. I don’t celebrate Christmas because of Religion, but because we’ve always done it and it’s such a special time. So with all that being said – today is Pancake Day!

Usually we end the day with a pancake but this morning I insisted that we have them for Breakfast before everyone went off to work/college/back to bed. (Only kidding!) Lately we seem to have more time to sit as a family of four and eat breakfast together and I’ve really enjoyed that. This morning was no exception.

Before we became ‘Americanised’ we had those thin crepe type pancakes that are just perfect. Always we added sugar or lemon – or both – just lightly to give it a little taste. I love crepes but the best way to eat them is to be wandering around the winter markets in Paris or Cologne absolutely freezing. Nowadays at home we have thicker American style pancakes with a spreading of syrup. I tried chocolate sauce this morning just to be different. No. It was too early for chocolate.

Traditionally we don’t chuck our pancakes in the air and try and catch them back in the frying pan. But because it’s Pancake day – we did. I did some digging around on the internet to try and find the origins of such a strange action and came up with Pancake racing. The act of racing around like a person possessed, with a frying pan and some strange substance sizzling inside can be traced as far back as 1445. They were crazy even then. Contestants would race to the finishing line whilst tossing their pancakes and the one who got their first and did the most amount of throwing around their food – won!

That tradition is said to have began back when Pancake day was declared a half holiday. At eleven am bells used to ring at church and apparently one woman was behind with cooking her pancakes and raced down the street throwing it in the air to finish it off. Odd I know.

This time last year I was working a sheltered housing accommodation for vulnerable/elderly people. It’s a beautiful place and it was barely a month old. It housed 52 apartments or ‘flats’ – but really they were just like holiday apartments. We decided to set up a pancake day and all the residents turned out, some who hadn’t even moved in yet had heard about it and came up with their fifty pence pieces to have a plate of tradition. It was amazing, we made about 100 pancakes right there and then. We made another few dozen more afterwards because we ran out! It was absolutely amazing to see the looks on people’s faces who probably hadn’t had a pancake for decades.

So tradition is important, not just to me but to many people. Through the good and the bad, there have been the things and the days where we’ve done something just because it’s done and despite everything we managed to keep it up. I love it.

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