This week sees 2020’s Pancake Tuesday arrive once again in proximity to the start of the Christian period of atonement Lent and is celebrated to this day by followers and the secular alike.
As displays of ingredients and garnishes populate our stores, we wanted to take a look at the origins of this tradition and look at how it’s being marked in an increasingly post-Catholic Ireland.
It follows on from a tradition common in England before the start of the Lenten period of self-deprivation of using up all surpluses of rich foods like eggs, butter and cooking fats to avoid temptation to break the Lenten fast.
Due to Easter being a movable feast based on the phases of the moon there is no set date for Pancake Tuesday but it will always immediately precede that year’s Ash Wednesday which will in turn predate Easter Sunday by 46 days.
The proper religious name of this feast reflects this dynamic: Shrove Tuesday (from shriven, to have confessed your sins) representing the sort of clean plate that will be recreated across many households this Tuesday.
Strictly speaking, adherents would have had to abstain totally from meat and dairy in favour of fish, bread and vegetables during this period according to English Heritage.
More traditional toppings include the classic jam, lemon juice and caster sugar, though new ingredients and savoury twists on the classics abound today.
We’ve gathered some examples of both below from Twitter to inspire (or disgust) you ahead of the big day.
Hazelnut spread, and one big brand in particular has emerged as a modern favourite.
What are your favourites to include in a pancake and what is an absolute no-no for you? Let us know below the line!