Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)
Customer: Waiter, will my pancake be long?
A Welshman, an Englishman and an American were having a drink.
At first they talked about cars and farms, and true to form, the American had the swankiest car and the biggest farm. Then they got to talking about children's names.
'My son was born on St David's Day', remarked the Welshman, 'So - look you, we obviously Christened him David.'
'That's a real coincidence', observed the Englishman', My son was born on Michaelmas Day, 29th of September, so we decided to call him Michael.'
'That's remarkable', piped up the American, 'Exactly the same thing happened with my son Pancake.'
It was Shrove Tuesday and Mrs Thomas was making pancakes for her sons, Aaron 6, and Kelvin 8.
As usual, the brothers began to argue over who should get the first pancake. Their mother saw a wonderful opportunity for a moral lesson.
'If Jesus were sitting at the table, He would say, "Let my brother have the first pancake".'
Quick as a flash Kelvin turned to Aaron and said, 'Aaron, today you can be Jesus!'
Reader's Pancake Joke, Complete with Funny Picture
What did the young pancake say to the old burnt pancake?
Jenny Loves Her Pancakes
One February Jenny went to her psychiatrist. She told him, "My friends said that I had to come see you because they think I have a problem with pancakes."
The psychiatrist says, "Why do they think that?"
"Well," Jenny replies. "Because, I just like pancakes."
"That's not a problem," the psychiatrist responds. "I love griddle cakes too!"
"Really?!" the Jenny exclaims. "Then you should come to my house, I have a whole attic full of pancakes!"
Pancake Joke For April Fool's Day
On April 1st John's mother put a fire cracker under the pancakes.
She blew her stack.
When Was Shrove Tuesday in 2011? - 8th of March
Remember that it's Easter that fixes the date for Shrove Tuesday. Therefore working backwards, we have Lent with its 40 days of fasting before we get to Easter. Now Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, so the day before is when cooks use up all the 'naughty foods'. In the olden days two 'naughty foods', which are not allowed in Lent, would be butter and eggs - ideal for making pancakes. Hence Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day.
Curiously, when calculating Lent, Sundays don't count, hence Shrove Tuesday is actually 47 days before Easter Sunday.
Date for Shrove Tuesday 2011
The earliest possible date for Shrove Tuesday is the 3rd of February, while the latest possible date is the 9th of March.
Shroving is a ancient British custom in which children sang or recited
poetry in exchange for food or money.
Knock, knock, the pan's hot
*Truckle cheese is barrel shaped and is often mature Cheddar.
America (USA): We believe that American style pancakes are particularly thick or fluffy, and best served with Vermont maple syrup and butter. Some American cooks add a little vanilla, while others add blueberries; most also add baking powder to create their 'griddlecakes'.
Canada: Canadian pancakes are moister than American ones but still served with maple syrup.
China: Chinese pancakes are fried in sesame oil and are apparently superb with duck.
Finland: Finnish pancakes are ideal for people with a sweet tooth, these should be served with jam, whipped cream, berries, cinnamon and sugar, honey or maple syrup.
France: Will can support the fact that the French excel at crepes [sweet] and galettes [savoury] and often served with a bowl of local cider.
Germany: The Germans tend to make apple pancakes which are baked in the oven. They also have 'Puff' pancakes, which look like English 'Yorkshire Puddings'.
India: Indian pancakes sound scrummy; savoury pancakes are prepared with ginger, garlic and cayenne. Mung beans may also be part of the recipe.
Italy: Calzonia are common in Italy, they are more like an enclosed pizza than an English pancake.
Mexico: The renowned Mexican pancake equivalent is the wheat tortilla; Will has also eaten them made from maize [cornmeal].
Netherlands: 'Flensjes' are crepe cakes, usually made with apples and occasionally rhubarb.
Nigeria: Nigerian pancakes are often served with beans, tomatoes and shrimp, making a complete meal.
Norway: 'Krumkakes' are thin, crisp, cone-shaped cookie-like crepes, often served at Christmas. They are sometimes made with a special flat iron which leaves a decorative pattern.
Poland: Will and Guy's friend, Kinga Sadkowska, tells them that Polish pancakes, 'Nalesniki', are thin crepes which are usually served with a special cottage cheese filling. Lovely.
Russia: The regular Russian the pancake of choice is the 'blini': which is small and thick, ideal with sour cream or caviar.
Sweden: The Swedish Raggmunk is made from riced potatoes.
Welsh: The Welsh make their pancakes with buttermilk or sour cream.
Perhaps you are able to add to this list? We would like to get to 20 types of pancakes.? If so, please let us know. We particularly prize funny pancakes.
Why Pancake Day is Celebrated Less in the USA
Much of America celebrates Mardi Gras on the day before Lent. That's the same day as Shrove Tuesday, and as there is no contest between pancakes and a parade followed by a party, Shrove Tuesday gets overlooked anywhere where they celebrate Mardi Gras. Incidentally 'Mardi' is the French for Tuesday and Gras means fat, hence 'Fat Tuesday'.
In modern English, the word 'Shrove' has no meaning outside of pancake or Shrove Tuesday. Academics can trace shrove to the past tense of the verb shrive, which itself means absolution. This derivation helps to cement the meaning of eating up luxury food before the penance of fasting during Lent.
If you bring to mind other old words such as Yuletide (Christmas) and Eastertide, then it will be no surprise that there are lesser known '-tides', Allhallowtide (Halloween), Whitsuntide (Whitson) and Shrovetide. My point is that Shrove Tuesday is the last day of Shrovetide.
In the 21st century, Shrove Tuesday is most strongly associated with pancake activities.
Shrovetide football in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England is something different, a unique game. On Shrove Tuesday, and also on Ash Wednesday, the Up'ards play the Down'ards, its a no hold's barred game of football with the goals three miles apart.
Instead of a kick-off, Shrovetide has a 'turning up' where a dignitary throws the special ornate ball into the crowd and the game starts. The event first came to the wider public's notice when in 1928 the then Prince of Wales (Later abdicating King Edward VIII) got caught up in the mêlée. Without modern-day protection officers he got sucked into the scrum and came out with his nose bleeding.
The only rules are:
The 2010 game was of the most controversial for some years. Eventually the committee decided that at the end of day one Dave Spencer's goal be disallowed because it was "goalled" AFTER the 22.00 deadline. The amended result was a 1:1 draw.
In 2008 there was a sensation when the Up'ards were accused of cheating by having a counterfeit decoy ball. Each year a new ball is crafted with most ornate design. The Down'ards claim that a crucial time they were distracted by this fake impostor of a ball. To get any progress along the 3 mile pitch you need brains and subterfuge, as well as brawn and speed; selling the proverbial dummy is OK, but introducing another ball threatens the integrity of the game. The stewards' enquiry is likely to rumble on.
Thanks to Adrian Tierney-Jones and The Telegraph online for researching these lovely old games. It's interesting how they are all held on Pancake Day, and all involve a large number of people over much greater distances than modern football pitches. These games seem timeless in both senses of the word.
The Ball Game
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