One of my favorite little treats of my life in Minneapolis was Pancake Tuesday. Basically, it's an Anglican Mardi Gras tradition to eat pancakes for dinner that evening. I always celebrated PT with Karen, Darlene, and occasionally Bev and Bill. Sometimes we'd find some church in the neighbourhood that was serving overdone pancakes to raise money for their youth, but usually we'd just go to the Perkins in Highland. (Note to CPM...I live in England and I have to spell like them at work now, so you're going to have to live with the extra u's and the transposed er/re's for awhile. I'm sick of people making fun of my spelling. Live with it.) While it's always a treat to have pancakes for dinner, when you pair it with a Perkins Mushroom and Cheese omelet, well, it's near perfection as an annual event. This whole Pancake Tuesday was a new thing for me, but I played along because I got to have dinner with people I liked and that dinner consisted of more forbidden carbs than a bowl of pasta with a side of garlic bread.
So imagine my surprise today when I got an "All Users" message announcing that next Tuesday is Pancake Tuesday at WORK...beginning at 1045 there is a pancake brunch for all employees to celebrate Shrove Tuesday.
I don't know which shocked me more...the celebration of a tradition related to a church holiday in the office or the fact that it was THIS one we were celebrating. I keep forgetting that, historically, the UK has never been shy about a state religion. (Unlike the US, which only implemented a state religion a few years ago.) Plus, I suppose pancakes are pretty innocuous...I think even Hindus and Muslims can eat them as long as they're not cooked in lard with a big side of bacon. Vegans can't, but they like to be difficult so they don't count.
But wait. There's more....
This favourite tradition of mine originated in Olney, which is about 10 miles from here. Yes, I am in the veritable cradle of civilization as far as Pancake Tuesday is concerned. Seems an industrious housewife needed to clear her pantry in preparation for Lent, and she came up with the pancake dinner to do so. The idea sold like hotcakes (couldn't resist; sorry), and soon the tradition had spread throughout England. Not surprising. I mean, who can resist a sweet, cakelike confection as dinner? It's only surprising that it's just Anglicans that do this.
So next Tuesday about the time my Midwestern friends get up, I will be just finishing a big plate of cakes drizzled in delicious maple syrup. (I'm not going to trust the English to proper syrup. There's a bottle in the cupboard that I got as a gift in Canada this week, and I'm bringing it as my colonial contribution.) Perhaps I'll even introduce the mushroom cheese omelet as an accompaniment. While I'll miss my Perkins night out with the Girls, this will come awfully close. And you know, you could always have pancakes for dinner yourself, kind of a global feast in spirit, if not in person.