Monday, February 19, 2007

Shrove Tuesday "Pancake Day"

While Pancake Day doesn't seem half as wild and exciting as its partner Mardi Gras, I still look forward to this day with a surprising amount of pleasure. There's something about the start of Lent that offers me the same anticipation as the start of the New Year. The opportunity to shed the past and move forward with a renewed sense of purpose. It must have been all those years at a C of E boarding school with chapel everyday and the comfort of ritual. I remember during Lent there was always additional Communion for those of us who could face the earlier than usual start, brisking the bitter spring mornings where the low mist from the lake hung over the playing fields like a swirling duvet, to capture a piece of early redemption before breakfast. Maybe it's the memories surrounding Pancake Day that I love - I still use the same worn and seasoned crêpe pan that my mum used and a recipe brought home from school one day by my brother in his grey shorts and flat cap. The tangy sweetness of the lemon and sugar melting on one's tongue into an acid syrup.
I'm looking forward to the fact that this year Jay will understand it's Pancake Day (if not the sentiment behind it) and that for tea he'll enjoy bite after bite of perfectly rolled crêpes ladened with castor sugar and freshly-squeezed lemon, that he'll watch me flip the thin pancakes over and shout for me to do it again. He loves his Papa's American style pancakes, thick and fluffy smothered in maple syrup, but I know his English tastebuds, when confronted with the delicate slips of cooked batter, will allow the taste to creep into his subconscious, lingering until he's old enough to take the crêpe pan to his own home and recall madeleine memories of his own.
Until then, I'll be the one using the crêpe pan, absolving my sins with every beat of the eggs, milk and flour, stirring away the past and pouring a new tomorrow into the hot pan only to watch it be gobbled up by a growing, hungry little boy with blue eyes and a cheeky smile.

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