Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shrove Tuesday... aka the Last Pancake

A few months ago my friend Robin and I started doing these weekly dinners. At first it was just a means of survival for me after my breakup. A way to see a friendly face that didn't involve boozing it up, more a ladies lunching outing complete with gossip, sharing our dating woes (and some successes) and providing support for each other as we were 2 girls far from home.

With her being a fellow Texan at first we started with our favorite Texas BBQ place in the city, then it was their fried chicken off shoot and somehow from there we fell into an ethnic food kick, both of us being adventerous eaters. There's been Indian, Korean, Ethopian, etc. So when she suggested I come by her church tonight for a traditional Swedish Shrove Tuesday pancake supper I couldn't resist. It's not what you typically think of when someone mentions ethnic cuisine... but it does fit the requirement.
For those not familiar with Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, it is the day preceding Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Pancakes are associated with that day because they were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk, and sugar, items which  people historically abstained from during the 40 day fasting period of Lent.

The pancakes we had tonight were traditional Swedish pancakes, which if you aren't familiar are very thin, like a crepe and almost crispy. Some were rolled up with cheese, others topped with lingonberries or strawberry jam. All were delicious and eating pancakes for dinner had a touch of personal nostalgia for me as it reminded me of when my Mom would make breakfast for dinner whenever my Dad was on call when my sisters and I were little. For me, it was a wonderful food with which to say goodbye to milk, eggs, cheese and butter-and meat- for 40 days. And to have that all come to an end while in the company of a wonderful and supportive friend, who could ask for more?

Swedish Pancakes
3 eggs 
2 1/2 c milk
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
Tbl butter, melted
1 tsp sugar

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with half the milk. Beat in flour, sugar, and salt until smooth. Stir in melted butter and remaining milk.

2. Heat a griddle or large skillet with a small amount of vegetable oil and/or butter.

3. For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle and cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes. With a spatula, turn the pancakes and cook until golden brown, about 1/2 minute. Serve immediately or keep warm while making the remaining pancakes. Serve with lingonberry or strawberry jam.

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