Monday, March 09, 2009

Pancake Tuesday

Tuesday before last was Pancake day in the UK. This is another name for Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent. It's called Pancake day because the 40 days of Lent traditionally formed a period of fasting, during which only plain food was eaten, therefore rich ingredients such as eggs, milk, and sugar were used up immediately prior to the commencement of the fast by making pancakes.

Eating pancakes is complemented by pancake racing. This is said to have originated when a housewife in Olney, a small town in Buckinghamshire, where the most famous race is held to this day, was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the special confession service before Lent. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake - tossing along the way - and since then we hold pancake races on the day.

Every year I try to make it to a pancake race, which is a bit tricky as pancake races take place in the middle of the working day, so I usually end up to one near the office. This year I had the opportunity to venture further afield, and ended up in the City of London, at the pancake race organised by the Worshipful Company of Poulters, one of the Livery Companies (one-time trade associations) based in the City of London.

Contestants competed in gowns and fancy dress, all wearing aprons and holding pancake pans. If you've spotted the guy in bandages above, worry not - his injuries were fake and not sustained during the race.



Run and toss!

Toss some more!

The winners in each category received a copper pan.

Whereas those who didn't do so well received a wooden spoon.

In case you're thinking this is too weird to be true, here is a short video of the grand final, with the winners of each category competing against each other:


Shionge said...

What a nice tradition :) Thank you for sharing all the lovely photos.

Now me gonna get some pancake hehehehe..

Mediterranean kiwi said...

this is hilarious! thanks for telling us about this crazy tradition, next time i'm in london around this time of the year, i must remember to look it up!

Karen said...

I remember a post on Pancake Tuesday from last year. How long have we been blog friends, Tinsie??

Do you get to eat any pancakes at these races?

Tinsie said...

@ Shionge: I know what you mean, I get a craving for pancakes every time I re-read this post :-)

@ Mediterranean Kiwi: Do, it's good fun, although it doesn't last very long. The whole thing is usually over within an hour. On the plus side, there are several pancake races to choose from, wherever you are there's bound to be one nearby.

@ Karen: More than a year, but less than two years, as there's no comment from you on the pancake post from 2007 ;-)

There's always a stand that makes pancakes for the race and also sells them to the visitors. Mmmm!

Karen said...

Okay, I'm in. I don't think I could stand to go watch if no one offered me a pancake...

Saretta said...

That strikes me as very English, you all know how to be silly and have fun!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tinsie said...

@ Karen: Or you could make your own at home ;-)

@ Saretta: You can say that again haha!