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Pancake Day

In many parts of Europe, Shrove Tuesday is the end of a weeklong festival of debauchery where people wear masks and fancy dress, parade about town on floats, throw streamers into the air, and drink far too much. Carnival, from the Latin ‘carne vale’ (‘farewell to meat’) is a festival to die for all over Italy, Spain and Germany, traditionally a last blow-out before the privations of Lent. Sadly, there is no such bacchanalia here in England. What do we do? We toss a few pancakes around.

Still, you’ve got to make the most of what you’ve got, and it must be admitted, tossing pancakes around can be fun. For those of you who haven’t got a handy pancake recipe, here’s one to feed two people. Sift two ounces of plain and two ounces of buckwheat flour into a mixing bowl with two pinches of salt. Make a well and put in two large eggs. Whisk the eggs in with the flour. As you whisk, gradually add a mixture of 7 fluid ounces of milk and 3 fluid ounces of water from a jug. Whisk until all the lumps are gone. Put a (preferably thick-bottomed) frying pan on full heat, add a little oil, and after a minute or so turn down to medium heat. Pour in some of the pancake mix so it fills the bottom of the pan. When the pancake starts to sizzle,, make sure with a spatula that it isn’t sticking to the pan, and toss it into the air, twisting your wrist a little so it flips over. Pick the pancake up off the floor, and start again. Who needs Mardi Gras? AG

Mardi Gras it ain’t. But let’s celebrate it anyway