Shrove Tuesday

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


We are a bunch of heathens in our house. A catholic education (chosen for its proximity rather than its faith) has had little effect on my children, if anything it has strengthened their disbelief. However, the church year has a strong resonance for me. Doing a thing because it is the right time to do it, doing that thing as an expression of spirituality speaks to me of a balanced life, a deliberate life whether it is a life of faith or not and that is a positive thing. I may not believe but I embrace the opportunity lent brings for reflection, restraint and silence.


But mostly I embrace the opportunity it brings for eating pancakes. Religious festivals with food attached are my favourites. So later this evening we will be tucking into the pancakes I made this afternoon. Rolled up with sultanas, sugar, butter and lemon juice. Meanwhile Katie is complaining about having to sit through an Ash Wednesday mass tomorrow.


My March read for The Year in Books is A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor. It's my first Elizabeth Taylor and so far I am enjoying it.

30 comments:

  1. Would you kindly tell me the height of your lovely little Bristol blue posy vase? With a few yellow flowers it is Spring indoors for me. Thank you.

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    1. It's just 3 inches high Lindy.

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  2. Yes Pancake Tuesday, is the last day of eating what one wants in our house.
    Tomorrow Lent!! I never look forward to it, but once started, its good.
    Good to restrain from, reflect on and look forward to Easter especially Easter Sunday, the special meal, the egg hunt and for us the family blessing for the year
    Enjoy your pancakes, they look LOVELY

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  3. As a regular church-goer and liturgical geek, I love your posts about following the church year. We have thrown away so many traditions in our 21st century lives, that doing something just because it's the right time to do it can bring a sense of rhythm and balance back into our lives. And, as you said, any excuse for eating pancakes.

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  4. I wonder if I shall have pancakes later?

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  5. Ah yes I eat my last chocolate tonight before my Lenten abstinence....my kids don't endure the mass, they have all written sorry prayers at school, they then are burnt and the ash mixed with oil then the have a service to start lent.

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  6. These days we celebrate all kinds of festivals, feast days, and causes. There is nothing wrong with recognising Shrove Tuesday or Ash Wednesday and celebrating those. And Ede, Day of the Dead, Chinese New Year, Festival of Light and heaps of others. Run with it. People who celebrate Lent are a minority group in the world; so your children see a taste of that political situation too.
    Catholic Education?? I bet hardly anyone in your children's school has both parents in prison, or has six different step mothers or supports themselves by prostitution. You pay for an attitude and a cohort when you go to a Catholic school, and you get a group of teachers who work for reasons not always the same as those of other teachers. The outward signs of the religion are only a tiny part of what happens. Your children are also learning about their own view of life through comparing it with the view presented by their school.
    Shrove Tuesday worked. It invited thoughtful deeds and responses.

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    1. Indeed it has.
      My children's school is a state school for which we don't pay. It is a typical secondary school.It has an extremely wide intake of pupils many of whom are catholic, many more of whom simply live near the school.There are also plenty of muslim pupils. While I don't know if any have mothers who are prostitutes I do know of some children who have had a parent in prison. Not all the teachers are catholics or even Christians.

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  7. I am recovering from a serious pancake overdose! With six in the house it takes forever to make enough to feed us all but on Shrove Tuesday I am off duty and leave the cooking to my man. I am quite honestly the worst pancake cook ever. I love all celebrations that involve food, no matter what belief system they belong to.

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  8. Apparently I didn't make enough pancake batter this year. People were not happy. I did wash the floor in readiness, just in case, you know. But none fell down, so that was good. No sweet things for me now for the duration of lent. I always feel so much better without sugar in my life. But somehow it always creeps back in.

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  9. Retro Shrove Tuesday here with crepe Suzette for pud .... And that was after curried nut roast..... Am trying to empty the freezer so it was a happy coincidence rather than a 70's theme night.....shame I haven't got any flares to wear though!

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  10. I too like to mark the passing of time with these rituals, it is good to have things to look forward to, to mark the year and to engage with and spend some time thinking about what the occasion means or not! Hope that you enjoyed your pancakes, ours with lemon and sugar were lovely! xx

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  11. I got one pancake from my 2 egg batch of batter. ONE. If that's not a premature start to the abstinence, i don't know what is. Gannets that my children are.

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  12. We used your American pancake mix and very nice it was too. We managed to get 4 1/2 each, around 4" - 5" across, so a good size. Certainly couldn't eat any more than that amount. Very filling but light.

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  13. With just the two us to eat them, we had savoury and sweet pancakes out of one batch of batter - must remember to make them at other times in the year. Asked husband what he was giving up for lent - as he's more or less given up cake, sugar and anything high in fat his choice is a bit limited. He announced he would give up biscuits but as he only eats one a fortnight it sounds like cheating to me!

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    1. That does sound like cheating!

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  14. Gosh I love what you said about your reason for observing Shrove Tuesday - quite brought a lump to my throat.

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  15. I enjoyed reading this post Sue. I love the comfort of these food rituals. I cooked my kids pancakes on Tuesday morning, and I will cook an Irish inspired meal on St Patrick's Day to remember their Irish great grandparents and will attempt my Mum's fish pie for Good Friday. I think of my mum always on these days, she was a Sue as well.

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  16. Interesting what you say about your children's education strengthening their disbelief - I wondered if this was a subject that could be discussed at their school? My own Catholic upbringing and schooling certainly didn't permit any admission of doubt or - when I was in my mid-teens and agonising about it - a gradual and complete loss of faith. I often wonder what might have turned out if I had been able to discuss it with someone who wouldn't over-react as though I had committed some terrible sin?

    Lent - always a failed battle to give up sugar.... many years later I managed it with ease, but oh, the torment of attempting it in childhood!

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    1. Yes, indeed they are allowed to discuss religion and their personal beliefs quite freely and other religions are studied in accordance with the national curriculum. My biggest beef with the school is that while they recognise and respect religions other than Christianity they do not acknowledge any form of Christianity other than catholicism. I come from a non-conformist protestant background and it really bugs me, even though I don't actually believe in any of it.

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  17. Anonymous11:20 am GMT

    I do enjoy reading your blog and also reading the responses, I feel as if my thoughts are appearing on the page. Love pancakes never get to eat them though as my son is the original gannet! Product of a Catholic school, mostly positive with strong female role models in the Dominican nuns( giving clues to my age here!) but would call myself a catholic while not agreeing with most of the gender based rules. "Do unto others" covers a lot for me.
    Anyway this is prompted by todays post which I thoroughly enjoyed, keep it up!

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    1. 'Do unto others', the Golden Rule sums it up for me too.

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  18. Sue, starting with the dazzling photo of the glistening pancakes, this post is a gem. What you've expressed about an approach to observing special times of the year, within and without official religious rituals, connects with my own current thoughts. The Golden Rule is surely a wise guide to life.

    For years now, I have stopped chocolate intake during Lent. It's become easy for me to manage this, so for the past couple of years, I've also renewed my attempt to be more attuned to the Golden Rule, and to not become drawn into others' negativity. Generally, this second Lenten practice also improves my overall quality of life...and maybe that of others, too.

    Now...I want to find my little crepe pan. I don't think I have used it this century! You've inspired me yet again.

    xo

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  19. I'm afraid raising my daughter Catholic made her an atheist. I'm not Catholic, but I do like the Church seasons, Lent, Advent, etc. I like reading cook books that are mixed with stories, one of my favorites it Like Water For Chocolate and I just finished An Omelette and a Glass of Wine.

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  20. This is the first year in which there has been no call for pancakes. A new season in my life I suppose, and one that has to be embraced. We went out and laughed at Jeeves and Wooster instead.
    'As you sow, so shall you reap' is a good rule too.

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  21. Fascinating post, Sue. I like the way these religious festivals punctuate the year and it makes me think about traditions, about the days I was brought up to celebrate and acknowledge, and how I want my children to know these traditions.

    I went to a Catholic secondary school, although I am not Catholic. John Major came to visit once to give a speech and one of the girls in my class heckled him, in front of all the cameras. It made the lunchtime news. The teachers pretended to be shocked by I think secretly we were all quite proud of her. x

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  22. not at all keen on elizabeth taylor myself, i always feel slightly depressed by her fiction.
    the pancakes look yummy, i made them too and they were delicious. at one time i had a queue of eager children [5] who are now making their own pancakes, but i would never miss a pancake tuesday !

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  23. As you know, I'm another one for observing the year's Christian rituals and festivals, despite being a non believer myself. But things have been a bit fraught here of late and I somehow forgot about our pancakes ... I've not been forgiven yet!

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  24. Anonymous4:40 pm GMT

    I was a Catholic and went to a Catholic school. I was a believer in my youth although not in all the church teachings. My education taught me to question and to doubt and to probe. We discussed 'everything', nothing was off limits and no view point unheard. It taught me about doing the right things because you want to not and because you get punished if you get caught. Inevitably I am not a Christian any longer. I do not know enough to be an atheist. I believe in a 'god' or 'goddess' - genderless really, who is everywhere and nowhere and infinitely unknowable with my human capacities. However, I feel it, so for me it is true. Therefore I am not atheist and not agnostic either because I do have some knowledge of a personal kind. There is no right or wrong to people's beliefs.

    I am most grateful for my catholic education, probably more than of anything else. I found it kind and gentle and accepting, especially in my formative years. After it, I lapsed very well and happily. I like lapsed people more than anyone else too. So I find kindred people when I talk to lapsed Catholics.

    I also like pancakes but often forget about them. The biggest problem I had when a member of the catholic church was the to me, meaningless ritual without pleasure in them just conformity. Now I remember them with affection. But for me they still are without meaning. If I still believed in Christianity I would be a non conformist protestant but as I don't when I see virulent anti papist behaviour, as I do far more than I would ever have thought, it makes me feel a pull back to the old religion. I have many protestant friends who are incredibly rude about Catholics and often very ignorant about their beliefs too. That said, Catholics don't get told properly about what protestants are about either. The main battle ground seems to be over Mary, the mother of Jesus. Ignorance on both sides abounds.

    I did not send my daughter to Catholic school because you deny someone a place who is a Catholic and I am not. The school is over subscribed and should not have to take my daughter. Faith schools can not be replicated without the faith part as like it or not it is a huge part of it. I dislike the clamour for places from people who don't care about the ethos. I could not find it within myself to become a 'plastic' Catholic for two years in order for her to become accepted as a practising catholic. Ironically my Catholic upbringing told me that was not the right or proper thing to do as it would be predicated on a lie. She survived a poor education at a bad school and received a decent education despite it all.

    As an aside I find it strange that so many people look to lent as a useful dieting tool. That is surely not meant to be the point?

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  25. I have never read an Elizabeth Taylor either, I look forward to hearing what you think.

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