Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ireland--Shrove Tuesday (Last day before Lent)

(This is a historical post from Mom, for information only.)

Shamrock Pancakes for "Pancake Day"
For most people in the UK, Shrove Tuesday means cracking open eggs, flipping and eating lots of pancakes.

It is significant in the Christian calendar as it marks the last day before Lent - a 45-day period intended for repentance and fasting.

Across the world, people celebrate the onset of the traditional temporary embargo on having fun and eating rich food in a range of ways - from eating pea soup to dancing and banging on samba drums to playing football.

What does 'Shrove' mean?

It originates from the Old English word "shrive" which is means "absolve".

While many followers of Christian denominations look to spend the day studying the wrongs they need to repent - it has long been seen as a day to enjoy foods and pursuits before Lent fast.

What is the link between football and Pancake day?

Since the 12th century, many towns and villages across the UK would play chaotic and relatively lawless games of football on public roads.

While many of these 'mob football' games have  since disappeared - villages such as Atherstone in Wawrickshire continue to play the game on public highways every Shrove Tuesday.

Around 2,000 people were expected to take part in this year's match, where the rules are simple  - the ball cannot be taken out of the town and you cannot kill anyone.

Information from: What You Probably Didn't Know About Pancake Day

A "wee" little Irish joke

Irish Customs for Pancake Day
In many countries, Shrove Tuesday was, and still is, a day of public revelry and carnivals. But, in Ireland long ago, it was usually a family celebration. For the faithful, Lent meant abstaining from eggs and all dairy products, so all of these had to be used up before Ash Wednesday.

Generally, the family, and sometimes friends and neighbors, gathered around the fire which was often fueled in part by the Christmas holly, saved just for the occasion. The pancakes were baked over the fire and the honor of tossing the first cake was always given to the eldest, unmarried daughter of the host. It was said that if she could toss it and receive it back into the pan successfully, she'd be married within the year; but, if it didn't turn or was dropped, she would remain single. Often, her mother would put her wedding ring into the batter for the first cake; if the daughter was successful in her toss, she would immediately divide the cake into enough servings as there were guests. The person receiving the piece that contained the wedding ring was doubly fortunate - they'd be married that year and their choice of a spouse would be a good one.

In addition to enjoying their pancakes, an Irish family in the old days would also have served generous portions of meat as the main course.

Usually, the contestants were housewives. Each of them carried a skillet which contained a large, very thin pancake. The idea was for the women to race to the finish line, tossing their pancakes as they ran. It was hilarious - especially when a stray pancake landed where it wasn't supposed to!

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
1 oz unsalted butter
Additional butter for frying
granulated sugar
lemon juice

1. Beat the milk and eggs together in a bowl. In another bowl, sift the flour and salt together; add half the milk and egg mixture, stirring constantly.
2. Melt the butter and whisk it in. Whisk in the rest of the remaining milk and egg mixture.
3. Allow the batter to stand at least two hours.
4. Melt 1 tbs butter in frying pan, add 1/4 cup batter and tip until the pan is evenly coated. Keep the pan moving as you cook to prevent sticking. When the underside is golden brown, flip the pancake and cook the other side.
Slide onto an oven proof platter; sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice and then, roll up.
Keep warm in a 300 degree oven until ready to serve.

Information and Recipe from Irish Culture and Customs

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