IT'S PANCAKE DAY...
The problem is this: What do we consider a "pancake"? If you look at the picture of the "pancakes" above they will not look like the pancake most every American is used to. Here in the UK pancakes are made with just flour milk and eggs, maybe a bit of butter. For those of you who cook, you will notice an essential ingredient missing: Baking Powder and baking soda! In other words the British "pancake" has no leavening agent to make them raise so they come out very thin and flat--which is, as I think you'll see in any cookbook, a CREPE!
Another difference is the topping. As any red-blooded American knows it's maple syrup and butter all the way. Ok, ok, I know that in IHOP there is a whole rack of syrups and some people have other favorites like blueberry syrup but if you think of pancakes (you Americans that is) the first image that comes to your mind, traditionally is this:
|See, nice light, cake-like inside|
On the other hand, here in the UK, the preferred and traditional way to serve "pancakes" is with a squeeze of lemon juice and sugar.
Or you can see in this video how Delia Smith (the UK equivalent to Julia Child or Betty Crocker) does it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE0KEtWAmEw
As you can see on the video, tossing your pancake is very popular and they even have pancake tossing competitions and pancake races in places and villages.
I was, by way of contrast, going to look up one of my old recipes for pancakes from scratch but I think everyone pretty much knows how to do it--if not, go to any recipe or food site: www.southernliving.com, www.allrecipes.com or even YouTube.
My favorite pancake is buttermilk pancakes and the easiest way, and what for me turn out the best, is to just use Bisquick and follow their recipe. I always used buttermilk rather than milk even though there's buttermilk powder in Bisquick. I just like the extra flavor.
Check out the price of Bisquick here from Amazon:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bisuick-Bisquick-PUSA-567g/dp/B003ZZ8E7I/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1329838117&sr=1-1 That roughly translates to about $8.00 a box!
So, back to "Pancake Day". One thing I do have to say about the Scots, in the grocery stores you can buy what's called Scotch pancakes which are very similar to what we would call a "Silver Dollar" pancake. It's the same as our pancakes just smaller. The one thing they don't do "right" is that they usually eat them at tea or dinner as a dessert with butter and/or jam. Sometimes they just roll it up and eat it in place of a scone, in fact Robert insists that pancakes like I make it are really what they call "drop scones".
And there you have it, another cultural difference and I have had my annual rant. You will usually find me shouting to the TV: "THOSE AREN'T PANCAKES!" today. As far as I'm concerned, Shrove Tuesday ought to be called Crepe Day not Pancake Day!
However you spend it, here's hoping your day is just how you like it: either sweet and tart with lemon and sugar or rich and sweet with maple syrup!