Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pancake Day, the English Mardi Gras (please try to contain your excitement)

Hello friends and family,

I'm back.  Both in Blighty and the blogosphere.  And despite my reputation as arguably the worst blogger in said sphere, I'm going to give it another go.  Ahead, my musings on England, and English pancakes.

On most days here, I learn something new about England.  Today I learned, via the blogosphere, that it is "Pancake Day", or more accurately, Shrove Tuesday.  It is the English version of Mardi Gras  - there is even a Pancake Race, if anyone fancies a sprint, decorative headgear and throwing pancakes.  Say what parades, beads and general debauchery?


Something learned early on is that English pancakes are not the delicious puffy savoury/sweet loveliness that one expects from an American kitchen.  They are dense, thin, crepe-like, and sold packaged in supermarkets.  And I won't even start on the "maple syrup" or the "bacon".  Needless to say I am not making pancakes, or throwing them, on this Pancake Day.  I will bide my time until I go to Perkins with Mom, order the eggs benedict and steal a bit of her pancake breakfast.  Or, if you're more inclined than I, you can make apple pancakes and home fries and be sure to invite me over for the morning fiesta.

As I sit here (or rather, lie here) writing about, and therefore drooling over, said delicious goodness, the Olympics are in full swing.  The screen is replete with hard-bodied men and women (hello skin tight suits!), pushing themselves to the pinnacle of athletic performance.  I've found that Great Britain (as they force them to compete as one nation, rather than Scotland, England and Wales, as they much prefer to do), is generally rubbish at most Olympic sports, especially winter ones, as winter as we mid-westerners know it does not exist here.  (I mean, their best hope for a medal is in curling.  Superior and world-class athletic prowess?  Maybe not).  Therefore the peoples of Great Britain, care very little for the Olympic games and poor Neil has been bored out of his skull as I make him watch cross country skiing or figure skating.  But he's been a trooper, as I've had to sit through "Steven Seagal: Lawman" for him.  I'm not kidding.  I've actually watched it.  Lawman aside, it is one definite perk of my jobless state that I get a two-week long date with the Olympics.  Couch-sitting preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London (their response to my request to make this an official sport still in transit), for which I do hope the Great British people will get at least a tad more excited.

Well, I'm back to training as I wait to hear back from the IOC.  And perhaps some cookie baking.
Peace out.


  1. Since I was your first follower on Twitter, I may as well be your first comment too. Hello, and welcome to the blogosphere. I look forward to following your English adventures. Where in the Midwest are you from? Wherever it is, they certainly hired good English teachers. Your writing is a pleasure to read!

  2. I didn't know there was a pancake race, you live and learn, eh? I don't get the winter Olympics at all, its probably a British thing.

  3. Thanks for the comments, and thank you so much for the nice compliment! I'll have to show my English boyfriend, who likes to joke that my "English" isn't, and that I am a proud (and loud) speaker of "American". :-) (and btw, I'm from Wisconsin) Yep, a pancake race - get your headgear ready for next year :-).

  4. Ooh, no, no no! You DON'T buy English pancakes at the supermarket! Not real ones anyway! French crêpes perhaps, but NOT English pancakes! English pancakes are somewhere in between crêpes and pancakes - not as thin as the former, thinner and bigger than the latter. Traditionally (in our house at least) they were served with lemon juice and granulated sugar. Yumm!

    Yes, winter Olympic sports are not so popular in the UK! I do remember watching ski jumping and downhill skiing on TV on Sunday afternoons - but ice hockey or XC skiing? No!

    Pancake Day is definitely not Mardi Gras!

  5. Ahhh, I didn't say you should buy pancakes at the supermarket, but you sure could! As is unfortunately evidenced by a quick search at any of the grocery stores :-) They are a little thicker, but still crepe-y. They are just so different from American pancakes. This took me aback the first time I had them, but since have learned my lesson. The same name most definitely does not mean the same thing...pancakes, french dressing, chips, etc...

  6. My Cook back in the blogosphere! It's about time, I say! I love your posts...I may have some recipes to share, especially for beets & meat. :) Beets are the other thing I'm going to grow in my garden. All this talk about crepes and pancakes is making me hungry. Top o' the morning to you!

  7. Cook!!! And once I get two more posts up, I'll beat my all-time record! :-) I'd love your recipes. Not sure how much of a fan I am of beets, but if my Cook says it's good, then it must be! (right?!) I can't wait for you to start your garden. I'm starting the "yard-waste-removal-project" tomorrow, which involves burning all of the stuff (twigs and the like!) in the yard. Hope it's legal! Playing with fire!