Posted: 6th March 2000
It is 'That time of year' again! The one where we all are supposed to 'give up something for Lent'. I sincerely hope that none of you are giving up h2g2 for Lent... although that might be construed as the 'supreme sacrifice'!.
Here, in England, 'Ash Wednesday' is preceded by 'Shrove Tuesday', a wonderful day when we all have a good excuse to eat 'pancakes' something akin to the French 'crepes' but usually thicker and possibly more delicious. The tradition started way back in the Elizabethan age, and is probably one of our more popular ones. The most usual way to serve them is with lemon and sugar, although they are just as good savoury... cheese, ham, 'Marmite'... you name it, we will try it! The mixture is best made a few hours before required in order to 'let it stand'. This is supposed to make it cook up better, although I am not convinced this is true!
One of the most interesting sidelines of Shrove Tuesday is the running of the 'Pancake Race' This has become something of a tradition in many villages, most notably Olney, Bucks. A pancake race has been run here since 1445, with a few breaks for war etc, and is taken very seriously. Rigorous training is undertaken by the competitors (all female), who not only have to run a course 'tossing' as they go, but have to make their own mixture and costume: an embroidered and sequinned skirt ,which takes on average 300 hours to make, and a lace headscarf. The prize at the end of all this exertion? A kiss from the curate!
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