I find this time of year difficult. The fun of my birthday month is drawing to a close, the half term escape from reality is over, the bills keep piling up, and spring still feels like a million years away. The days are slowly but surely getting longer but it is cold, wet and grey and I am pale and run down and I miss my husband and life in the sunshine. I may be in full February Eeyore mode but at least there are pancakes to raise the spirits and fatten the waistline!
I love Shrove Tuesday, but am decidedly less keen on the lent bit that follows. Knowing that I have zero will power at the best of times, let alone when stuck in the full grimness of winter, I usually only consent to giving up pancakes until Easter which is much more realistic then relinquishing chocolate, biscuits, cake, or heaven forbid, wine. With this in mind I like to go out on a bang and attempt to eat as many pancakes as possible on pancake day. This challenge has now become something of a tradition (and a rod for my own back) and can be quite competitive, with elbows and knives out to bag the last one in each batch as we vye to be crowned Pancake King.
We start with a breakfast of American pancakes with syrup and whatever other toppings we can rustle up. This year was a good year as I had some blueberries and a tahini, fig and orange paste in the fridge which made for a delicious, semi-healthy stack to get the 2020 challenge off to a good start.
Lunch was a pancake failure. I had a non pancake based salad. Nil points. My son is arguing that his tuna wrap counts. It clearly doesn’t.
We made up for our shortcomings at dinner though with a feast of M&S crispy duck pancakes, followed by traditional crepes flipped and rolled up with lemon and sugar (the original and best).
That’s 23 pancakes consumed between us, in a 11.5 p.p.p* draw, but still not enough to beat the inaugural pancake challenge year which was first held in Abu Dhabi in 2015. We are definitely missing the back up support of the Dad pancake eating machine this year. I believe he did rustle up a batch for his tea tonight, but I’m not sure if the rules allow for it to be added onto the tally when we are in separate countries so the 2015 record may still stand.
The origins of this annual greed fest remain unclear. It’s possibly the latent trauma from my childhood resurfacing from the horrific time that we went to an Aunty’s house for pancakes and got two each for our tea and NOTHING else. As if that’s what lent is about! Luckily, my Mum took pity on us and drove home via McDonald’s, but my brother and I have never forgotten it. Some scars run too deep. As cathartic exercises go, this new family tradition is a good one and I hope it sticks as fast as the first pancake on the bottom of the pan.
*pancakes per person