Happy Shrove Tuesday! Shrovetide is the day to use up all the fats and meats forbidden during Lent. In our neck of the woods we ate paczkis (pronounced punch-keys) and type of yeast raised doughnut. They are different then the jelly doughnuts that the local bakeries now pass off as paczkis. My grandfather's fifth wife (what do you call a fifth step-grandmother), Mabel, made the best ones around. Which was strange because she wasn't known for being an especially skilled cook. Anyway, she would bring our family a large dry cleaning bagful. So many that they cover the entire little round table in our breakfast nook. They were so good warm and fresh. And they didn't have any jelly filling. Which was wonderful because none of us liked jelly doughnuts except for my father. It was the only pastry he knew the name for so when we sent him to the bakery, we knew what he'd be returning with. Which is why we never asked him to pick up any goodies!
In England they eat pancakes on this day. A nice tradition. I'd much prefer a pancake to a jelly doughnut any day. Especially when they are made with this recipe:
Overnight Buttermilk Pancakes
2 C. flour
2 C. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate overnight. The next morning prepare as usual.
These are the nicest, tenderest pancakes you'll ever find. And since they are mixed up the night before, they are so easy to have ready for a nice breakfast.
Speaking of pancakes reminds me that it is getting time to tap the maple trees, as we are having warm sunny days and cold nights. All you need is a spile and a bucket to collect the sap. Then it's just a matter of boiling the sap down to make syrup. The old instructions caution against boiling the sap down inside the house because it causes so much steam, but now days with advancements in high powered vents for kitchen ranges, I don't think it's such a problem. At least, I've never had a problem. It doesn't create much more steam than a long day of canning.
When I was a little girl, we used to take school field trips to a sugar shack. This was an old-fashioned operation where the sap was boiled in big vats over a wood fire, not the modern-day evaporators. Those images have stayed with me forever, but I do marvel at the strong nerves the teachers must have had to take a classroom of five and six year olds to such a potentially dangerous place. I'm sure now days with its lawsuits and such, it could never be done.
So do you celebrate Shrove Tuesday?