Sunday, March 6, 2011

Recipe: Mardi Gras is almost here! Time to Celebrate!

There's a thing I've dreamed of all my life, and I'll be damned if it don't look like it's about to come true—to be King of the Zulu's parade. After that, I'll be ready to die. – Louis Armstrong

Carnaval Parade in Rio. Photo: Marcus Correa, Flickr ccl
Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday. These are all names for the same celebration.

Mardi Gras (the French term for Shrove Tuesday) refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. The week long celebration ends on Tuesday in the eating of rich, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Christian Lenten season, beginning on Ash Wednesday. 

Photo: Old Skool Cora, Flickr ccl
In English countries, the day is called Shrove Tuesday, associated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins. One shrives oneself of sin before the run-up to Easter.

In Canada, Mardi Gras celebrations are common in major English Canadian cities like Toronto, St. John's and Vancouver.

In French Canada, Quebec City and Montreal hold Mardi Gras celebrations, with events such as music festivals, comedy festivals, food festivals, and street parties.

Worldwide the most famous Mardi Gras celebrations are in Rio de Janeiro in Brasil, followed closely by New Orleans in the USA.

In essence, the celebrations of excess leading up to Ash Wednesday are a way of “getting it out of your system” before the 40 days of penitence, confession and sacrifice. The custom that is most common in Nova Scotia is the eating of pancakes on Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday. It is a symbolic way of using up the fat in the larder before Lent, so it’s not a temptation during your sacrificial fasting. (Which very few actually do...)

If you go looking for pancake mixes or syrup on Tuesday sometimes you are out of luck. The custom has become ingrained in the secular culture so firmly that even those without any religious conviction feel the need to make pancakes on that day. And why not? They’re very tasty, and you get to eat breakfast for supper!!

So I’ve found a good pancake recipe and an interesting syrup for you to try. I’m posting today so if you do need to go buy anything you have the time to do so.

This pancake recipe is from posted by dakota kelly. They wrote: "This is a great recipe that I found in my Grandma's recipe book. Judging from the weathered look of this recipe card, this was a family favourite."

Photo: Noema Pérez, Flickr ccl
Good Old Fashioned Pancakes
Prep: 5 Min  |  Cook: 15 Min
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Vanilla Honey Syrup
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Combine honey and butter in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until the butter melts and the two are combined. Remove from heat and stir in milk and vanilla. Allow to cool before serving.


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