Pancake Day is here. Traditionally called Shrove Tuesday, and in some countries Mardi Gras, it always falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of the Christian celebration of Lent. Lent lasts 40 days leading up to Easter. Traditionally, since medieval times, these 40 days have been a time of fasting, with no meat and poultry eaten on Ash Wednesday or on Fridays.
Why a pancake?
As Shrove Tuesday was the last chance to use up eggs and fats, thrifty cooks asked what better use for these ingredients than to turn them into pancakes? Pancakes have been featuring in cookery books since 1439 and the habit of tossing them is equally ancient! Numerous pancake races will take place across the country this week.
The religious origins of Lent may not be as significant as they once were. However, many of us will be giving something that we enjoy for 40 days. Alcohol is a popular choice for a lot of people, along with chocolate.
Cutting down on alcohol and chocolate can only be a good things so far as your oral health is concerned. I’ve talked at length about the damage they do to teeth. Sparkling wine clings to teeth and the acid attacks your tooth enamel. Tannins in red wine stain your teeth by building up on tooth enamel. Do your teeth a favour this Lent – cut down on sugar generally. Even easy things, like not adding a spoonful of sugar to your cup of tea will help. Encourage your children to snack on cheese and drink milk rather than reaching for sugary snacks and fizzy drinks. And on Pancake Day, why not experiment with some savoury fillings, rather than lemon and sugar?