Wedged in after the indulgence of Christmas, all those New Year's resolutions to not indulge so much, the partying of Superbowl Sunday when everybody over indulges in drink and potato chips as a kind of rear-guard reaction to watching healthy sporty types and surviving a miserable January of failed resolutions, comes Shrove Tuesday.
A day when everything of an indulgent nature should be hoovered up before the abstemious period of Lent. Yet another opportunity to repent and redeem one's wickedly gluttonous ways. Except Valentines Day follows this supposed 'last chance' to indulge, when chocolates, champagne and fancy dinners will abound (for the few lucky ones, at any rate). So basically, there is always an excuse to celebrate, and indulgence is always justifiable.
What is not justifiable, however, is buying a big plastic tub of gloop labelled 'Pancake Mix' from the supermarket in order to create the beloved traditional rounds. Sacred Bleu, I dread to think what those lovely chaps en France would say, who use those clever, flat, batter-scraping devices with such flair and skill to create the thinnest, most delicate and delicious crepes (best eaten when wandering around a sunny square in Normandy I'll have you know). 'Zut alors!' indeed.
One can also get 'Pancake Mix: American Style'. Well, I'll be bound. Those are not pancakes as we know them. Rather skyscrapers of thick, layered carbs, dripping with syrup and, inexplicably, bacon. Pig on a pancake?? Two hands, a knife and fork, thick set jaws, resilient teeth and a constitution that is not susceptible to heart failure are all required to tackle those bad boys. And now you can produce them out of a tub apparently.
No. The way to do them is on an Aga. The only way. With everybody wanting to help and assist. With flushed cheeks and a dash of manic stress. With everybody wanting the first one. Even though the first one is inevitably always a failure. And with major experimentation going on.
Nothing beats the old classic of grated cheese (cheddar preferably) and dollops of ketchup. Squelchy and lip-smackingly disgusting. In the best possible way. This how to do Mardi Gras baby. A Frenchman did once tell me it was 'crepe', but I think our pancakes are actually pretty darn good!
I have bets on J consuming the most, though Father will no doubt give him a run for his money. Raise the ketchup bottle in acknowledgement of my absent self, chaps!