Project 365 – Day 31 – Pancake Day!

Photo by Alex Walker

It’s Pancake Day! I wasn’t sure if I would be participating this year, because I know that the calories will be enormous. However, in our family online group chat, I just received a photo from my daughter who has made them for herself this morning, as she lives in her own home now. Her photo was quickly followed by a prompt from my son to enquire if we are to indulge this evening. How can I refuse ?! Haha, I don’t need much encouragement!

I have been messaging a few friends about it as we all do talk of who will be making them and what our favourite toppings are. It’s quite a big tradition here in the UK and I was happy to see that even in these dark times of the Covid pandemic, that the shops have still made space on their shelves to promote this annual event. There are a variety of suggested tempting toppings to try. (try saying that quickly!) alongside pre-prepared kits for those who would prefer not to make them from scratch and yet still wish to participate. My mum, and my Nanna before that always participated in pancake day. I have great memories of making them, tossing them and eating them – of course! When we were children we would come dashing downstairs on a morning and mum would be at the oven, pan in hand and ready to serve until we were full. What a treat, and today as a mum myself – what a luxury having them made and served in such a way. Warm, heartfelt memories of happy times past.

Precious memories all wrapped up in a pancake

Writing this has triggered another memory of a story my mum used to tell us of Pancake Day in her teen days at school. She’d been in her cookery class and they were learning to make pancakes this day. In the momentary absence of the teacher, Mum had thrown hers so high that it had hit the ceiling! And somehow, her pancake actually stuck to the ceiling. Now, I must tell you at this point that mum wasn’t the best cook. She tried, bless her, but it wasn’t her strong point! I’m assuming that’s why it stuck – because I cannot imagine why it would stick if made correctly. She told us that soon all the class began to copy, and she laughed merrily at the memory of all the pancakes on the ceiling! It was later that the real fun began though. When the teacher returned to the room and the pancakes began to fall, one by one, causing such disruption in the room. Apparently the whole class was in an uproar. I can imagine it! What a wonderful memory for her to have shared with me, and for me to be able to relate to it as if part of my own history. I lost my mum just over a year ago, and so many memories are still painful to recall, at this point. However, this one just sprung to mind and it feels good to think about it, feel her with me again for a moment, and to share it here and now.

As soon as our children were old enough, I made them pancakes too. We had such fun. I would do as my own mum had, and would stand at the hob preparing and serving as quickly as they were consumed. No sooner had one pancake been served, than the other child was ready for their next one. Eventually they would slow down a little, and that gave me time to play. Tossing the pancake high into the air became the next part of the process. How high? how many flips? how many drops into the sink would be made lol! ‘Again mum’ and ‘Higher mum’, I’d hear them call to me, from the dining table visible from our open plan kitchen. Before long I had also taught them how to make pancakes themselves. Of course I never allowed them to do so alone for a very long time but eventually they were making them too. We would compete as to who could flip them best. Now that they’re adults it’s lovely to see them wish to, and enjoy, continuing the tradition.

What’s your favourite topping?

Our topping of choice has always been Treacle (Lyles Golden Syrup) Even the syrup takes my memories back to my Nanna as she too loved it and often used it in her baking also. But as a pancake topper, it’s just the best! Some people like them with melted butter and a sprinkle of sugar (told you they are very calorific!) And that reminds me of a dear friend who’s home I used to go to for our lunch. We loved pancakes, and they featured as our lunch for quite. She loved butter and sugar on them and so that’s what we’d have. Memories are interesting aren’t they? How they can be triggered by just a little thought and yet bring with them such strength of presence in all of our senses. As I am writing this, I am recalling, and I’m sure that I can taste (at least, my mouth is watering) the warm melted butter, coating the slowly dissolving sugar as I bit into a warm, soft pancake. Mmmmm.

So, as a family we have generally always come back to Golden Syrup as our favourite topping. However, I do recall that only last year my son and I did enjoy the butter and sugar ones too. Perhaps change is coming? We shall see by tonight’s choice. I also enjoy Nutella (a hazelnut chocolate spread) spread thinly over the warm pancake, with thinly sliced banana dotted over. Fold over half the pancake to resemble the shape of an omelette and hey presto another delightful dessert idea.

Discovering American Pancakes

My late Uncle, and Aunty live in America, and as a teenager I got to visit them many times with my Mum, Brother and occasionally with my Nanna (mum’s mum) too. There I discovered the true American style pancake, served with Maple Syrup and wow! – I discovered another new favourite. The pancakes there were smaller in diameter, and thicker than the ones we had at home; but I loved them too. And they weren’t just for one day haha – pancakes everyday and I felt like I’d won the lottery. As an adult, we have taken our family to the States on holiday several times, and each time our children loved to sample the American pancake. In fact, both our children went to New York for their school trip, and I recall our daughter telling us when she returned, that they’d been taken to ‘Ellen’s ‘ for their breakfast. It was on British Pancake Day, and when the waitress enquired what the order would be – the whole group shouted simultaneously ‘pancakes’ – the waitress shared that she’d not been aware of this British National Day and so it was fun for the group to discuss and share this with the staff there, whilst tucking into their delicious breakfast.

Goodness, I didn’t realise just how many memories I have tied with the simple pancake. No wonder I love them so much ! And don’t forget, they can be enjoyed with savoury toppings or fillers too – have fun and experiment!

Sorry – I went off topic a little today, and no healthy lifestyle changes were included were there? Nevertheless I have enjoyed recalling some wonderful memories and feel that my whole family have been with me in the writing of this article – and that is something that I shall treasure as a very special gift from today. I know I will feel my lost (and distant) family again tonight as my son and I make our pancakes together.

For those of you who don’t know about Pancake Day in Britain, here’s a small section of an article published in the Telegraph news website.

Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?

Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up rich, indulgent foods like eggs and milk before the fasting season of Lent began.

But although it is enshrined in Christian tradition, it is believed that Pancake Day might originate in a pagan holiday, when eating warm, round pancakes – symbolising the sun – was a way of celebrating the arrival of spring.

As well as making and eating pancakes, we Brits love to hold pancake races, where people run while flipping their pancakes in a pan.

Legend has it that the tradition was born in the 15th century when a particularly disorganised woman in Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while mid-way through making pancakes. We hope she gave one to the priest.

If you wish to read more – click here for a link to their website and full article

Photo by Alex Walker

Debbie’s Simple basic pancake ingredients

  • 5 table spoons of plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • enough milk to make into a pouring consistency. The runnier the mix, the thinner the pancake.

Method

To prepare

  • sieve the flour into a bowl
  • create a well in the middle of the flour and break the egg into the hole
  • mix some of the flour into the egg and slowly begin to add the milk, mixing the whole time to avoid lumps forming.

And that’s pretty much it – So simple!

To cook

Next, add some oil to a frying pan (butter is really nice, but if using it just remember that it burns faster than oil so keep an eye out for that. I also think that olive oil is healthier than butter – every little helps lol) Heat the pan and add the mix – enough to cover the base of your pan. As the pancake begins to cook it will become unstuck from the pan and you should be able to ‘move it around’ when moving the pan from side to side. Once you’re happy that one side is cooked – with a flick of the wrist, toss the pan quickly enabling the pancake to leave the pan and flip into the air – turning over in a summersault and landing ready to cook the other side. OR use a spatula to turn it over haha!! But I do recommend that you have a go at tossing at least one of your pancakes, because it’s just FUN

Now go and choose a fabulous topping and enjoy. 🙂

** and if you do have a go … please let me know how you got on in the comments.

This Daily Post is part of a personal Project where I aim to make lifestyle changes every day for a year, using a photo a day that I will take to inspire my focus of change, or to reflect the implementation of that change. Today being Pancake day, I felt that it would be good to share this post here in Focused Friends too, as it sort of developed into a longer article and I thought that it may be good to share with a different audience. An overview of my project is available to read via my home page, and please do feel free to join me on my journey of change (click here). Thank you for joining me today, and if I inspire you please do ‘like’ my updates and encourage me on my journey. Or, if you have constructive tips to share, please do add a comment.

Could I also ask that if you share any of my ideas / blog content, or photos, that you cite me as the author, many thanks.

(c) Debbie Walker

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