The Roman pancake was made by cooking a sweet batter consisting of egg, milk and water, beaten with a little flour, fried and served with pepper and honey. However, it was not until the 17th century that pancakes began to appear in printed cookery books. The recipe has remained almost unchanged since. Although a book printed in 1737 titled 'The Whole Duty of a Woman' included a recipe for pancakes using using 18 egg yolks and half a pint each of cream and wine!
The most popular time for pancakes in Britain is on Shrove Tuesday (this year, 17th February) which derives it name from the confessional service held on the day before Lent, during which you would be shriven of your sins. The day originated as a pagan holiday, a celebration of the arrival of spring and the vanquishing of the winter darkness and pancakes were served on this day to symbolise the sun and the re-emergence of light and heat.
The British pancake is traditionally drenched in lemon juice, rolled up and sprinkled with sugar. However, as lots of school children will tell you, a pancake is not just for eating but for playing a role in a pancake race. This tradition is supposed to have begun in Olney, Buckinghamshire in 1445, inspired by a disorganised housewife who had got behind on Shrove Tuesday morning and so had to race to church to be shriven, clutching her frying pan and flipping her pancakes as she went!
Pancake races are still held all over the country, including Westminster, where MPs take on the House of Lords in an annual charitable event called the Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race. http://rehab.ie/pancake-race/
I have lived in Abergavenny for 6 years and love the town. I never get tired of walking up Nevill Street and seeing those dramatic hills loom up in front of me! Abergavenny has a friendly atmosphere and...