23 Feb 2009

Bannocky Day

Bringing in the Shroves,
Bringing in the Shroves,
We shall go rejoicing,
Bringing in the Shroves.

Brightest and best of the Shroves of the morning,
Shrove on our darkness and lend us thine aid:
Shrove of the east, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our Shroves will lead to thine aid.

All God's Children are shriven toda-ay
No more Shroves for days and da-ays
Forty days is not so long
Burn your Shroves, you can't go wrong

One of our family's most favourite events of the Christian liturgical year is tomorrow.

Now I have a confession (gag!). We don't belong to a liturgical Church, so we don't shrive, confessing our sins to the local priest and receiving forgiveness before the Lenten season begins. We don't place all of our shroves in a large metal shrovorium, either.

Goodness, we don't even observe Lent!

We don't eat 'hodgepodge' either, since the pig's tail holds very little attraction for any of us - the ancient food of Shrove Tuesday day is a dish made of peas, beans, coarsely ground corn and potatoes with pig’s feet, tail and head. Now that pig’s tail is very special. It is said that if you are first to find it in your serve of hodgepodge you will be the first to marry. Personally, I would prefer to find the wedding ring in the Christmas pudding, but there's horses for courses, as they say, and who am I to judge?

The requirement to eat up all the leftovers before Lent, though is one tradition that we're all for...a little gorging on Fat Tuesday (the day's other name), 'never hurt nobody'...as they say. That's why we're glad that the other traditional food on Shrove Tueday is pancakes. Plain. Normal. Flour and Milk Pancakes. Yep, that kind. No pig's tail within cooee.

So. Our family's traditions are these:

  1. Eat meat for the three days leading up to Shrove Tuesday.
  2. On the day itself, eat an obscene amount of food.
  3. Let the food be pancakes.
Now, who would guess that the simple combination of milk, flour, eggs, salt and butter could make something quite so sumptuously, magnificently delicious? Especially when the chief pancake maker in our family is not me, it's Jemimah's daddy.

It is quite obscene, the number of pancakes that will be consumed at our home tomorrow night. Little Black Sambo ain't got nuthin' on this Australian pancake eating family.

When Black Mumbo saw the melted butter, wasn't she pleased! "Now," said she,"we'll all have pancakes for supper!"

So she got flour and eggs and milk and sugar and butter, and she made a huge big plate of most lovely pancakes.

And she fried them in the melted butter which the Tigers had made, and they were just as yellow and brown as little Tigers.

And then they all sat down to supper.

And Black Mumbo ate Twenty-seven pancakes, and Black Jumbo ate Fifty-five but Little Black Sambo ate a Hundred and Sixty-nine, because he was so hungry.

The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman

Tomorrow at 11:00 am, you'll find us in the main street of town at the local Uniting Church's Pancake Day celebration. Jemimah and I will have a stack of two or three pancakes with maple syrup and a bit of a chat with some of the townsfolk. It's always a fun occasion, and the proceeds go to the charity UnitingCare.

Come tomorrow night you'll find us gathered around the dining room table, stacks of warm pancakes in front of us, eating away. We'll look rather like the family pictured above. Well, okay, I probably won't be wearing a kerchief.

Certain works are forbidden on Shrove Tuesday: mending, sewing, hair combing, rope twisting and grindstone milling. According to custom, disobeying these bans will bring about summer storms. Winds will rip off roofs, chicken will scratch in gardens, meat will have worms and fingers will swell. Now, you wouldn't want to be responsible for any of those, would you? Who cares if your hair looks a little messy just once a year!

Have a great day. We will. Yum!


  1. I'm learning a lot from you Jeanne!

    We celebrate a similar holiday here, Maslenitsa, by eating stacks of Russian pancakes called bliny, which are somewhat similar to the French crepe.

    Enjoy the fellowship, pancakes and syrup!

  2. mmm... Pancakes. Which of course means that Easter is 6 weeks away. Which sounds awfully far away, but it will come very quickly. Note to self: I need to find some more Easter hymns.


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