If we were in New Orleans, we would be celebrating Mardi Gras today. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual Lenten sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season.
As a Christian, I prefer to think about today as Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), observed in many Christian countries through participating in confession and absolution, the ritual burning of the previous year's Holy Week palms, finalizing one's Lenten sacrifice.
Shrove Tuesday is observed by making a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs we need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth we especially need to ask God's help in dealing with. This moveable feast is determined by Easter. The expression "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the word shrive, meaning "absolve".
As this is the last day of the Christian liturgical season historically known as Shrovetide, before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one might give up as their Lenten sacrifice for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations. Like "Fat Tuesday", referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, it was traditional in many societies to eat pancakes or other foods made with the butter, eggs and fat that would be given up during Lent. Many Christian congregations thus observe the day through the holding of pancake breakfasts, as well as the ringing of church bells to remind people to repent of their sins before the start of Lent. On Shrove Tuesday, many churches also burn the palms distributed during the previous year's Palm Sunday liturgies to make the ashes used during the services held on the very next day, Ash Wednesday.
So let's celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Let's have a stack of pancakes and make ready for this year's Lenten season to begin.
If you need a good pancake recipe, here you go...
- 1 cup (5.5 oz) flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 tbsp melted butter
Heat a griddle or non-stick pan over medium to medium high heat.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl and make a well in the center. Next, mix the rest of the ingredients together in a measuring jar, then pour into the dry ingredients.
Whisk all the ingredients together, but do not overmix, or the pancakes will be tough (it’s okay to see a few lumps).
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour batter onto hot griddle or pan to make 2 or 3 pancakes.
When bubbles start to form and pop, flip the pancakes with a turner, and continue to cook until the pancakes rise nicely and are golden brown on both sides. Adjust the heat accordingly, if necessary.
Serve these buttermilk pancakes immediately with real maple syrup, fruit syrup, honey and/or fruit.