Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the feast day before the start of Lent or Ash Wednesday.
The name originates from the word ‘Shrove’ which refers to the Anglo-Saxon Christian practice of going to church to confess sins. To be ‘shriven’ was to be absolved of sin.
Falling 47 days before Easter Sunday, Shrove Tuesday was historically the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before fasting for Lent and pancakes are a perfect way to do this. Pancakes were so popular that the bell that called villagers to confession was playfully referred to as the ‘Pancake Bell’.
The pancake itself is seen in cookery books dating as far back as 1439. Even the act of flipping a pancake is old, as seen in this passage in Pasquil’s Palin in 1619:
‘And every man and maide doe take their turne, and tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne’
Not just a way to rid the house of tempting foods, pancakes also have a symbolic meaning, which is down to the ingredients themselves.
Eggs symbolise creation and birth and Flour, the staff of life; Salt is wholesomeness and milk to symbolise purity.
More recently Pancake Day has become more secular, moving more towards a celebration of the humble but tasty pancake. Lent is also observed as less of a religious homage to the struggle of Christ, but rather a test of one’s resolve against every day addictions like chocolate.
Establishments up and down the country celebrate by experimenting with their pancake flavours, be it savoury or sweet, thin crepe or cakey buttermilk, pancakes stand as one of the world most versatile and beloved food.
We look forward to welcoming you to Morley Hayes this Shrove Tuesday to sample all our tasty desserts and sweet treats!