The day before Lent begins means a stack of pancakes for lunch and more after dinner. Or that was how it was when I was a child.
I would come home from school for lunch and Mum would have made a big stack of pancakes, frying-pan sized, made from freshly-mixed homemade batter. Simple: flour, eggs, milk, beaten until smooth then poured into a frying pan spoonful by spoonful.
The first one was always less than average. The frying pan was never hot enough, and the skill of pouring just exactly enough batter to make a thin pancake forgotten since last year. The second one was always better.
A perfect pancake was extra-thin, it filled the whole frying pan and it was cooked just long enough to give it dark brown grooves of caramelised loveliness on each side.
There was no messing about with exotic toppings in our house. This was a pre-Lent ritual, designed to get all the flour, eggs, sugar and butter used up before the fasting began. Each pancake would be spread with butter, sprinkled with a liberal amount of sugar and finished off with a good squirt of lemon juice. The three toppings would mingle into a sweet-and-sour liquid of perfect viscosity.
Mum always stacked the pancakes one by one, topped individually as described above, then when the whole stack was done she would slice them into wedges like a cake. Personally I always preferred to eat my pancakes whole, rolled up, with butter, sugar and lemon juice added fresh each time. This is how I do it myself when I make pancakes in my own house.
Anybody else doing Pancake Tuesday? Anybody got any other family rituals you want to share?