Tuesday, 8 March 2011

P-p-p-p-p-p-pancake Day: A History and Demonstration

Pancake Day is celebrated across the UK at the beginning of March. It always falls on a Tuesday but the exact day is decided by the High Lord Viking of York, which, sadly, is just a ceremonial title these days.

Vikings duel for the right to flip the first pancake.
Pancake Day dates back to the 'Time of Vikings'. The vikings, once they had pillaged a monastery for its sugar and lemons, would celebrate with crazy amounts of mead and pancakes. Eventually the vikings stopped pillaging and settled in parts of the British Isles. They showed the locals the method of making their pancakes and since then the day has been celebrated every year.

Some people believe pancakes were the secret to the vikings formidable fighting prowess. There are several accounts, including one by the Venerable Bede, have viking warriors going berserk and slaying dozens of enemies just to recover their pancake batter.

Today I made pancakes for the first time since I was a boy. Back then I used bread instead of flour and they were disgusting. since that time I have felt the shame of all vikings looking down on me from Valhalla and laughing.

But today I tried again!

Welcome to Valhalla!
They were OK but the batter was a bit thick so they were closer to American pancakes (the history of which can be traced to the first Vikings to Land in North America). But never-the-less I think I have pleased the viking gods.

Now I can no longer move and am desperately trying not to fall asleep. Just like a true viking.

I didn't follow this pancake recipe closely enough. A full photographic record of my pancakes can be found here.

Enjoy your pancakes.

Mark