Shutterstock pancake picture 2020
Food

Military Get Flipping Competitive Over Pancakes On Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday: history, pancake recipe and how the military does it

Shutterstock pancake picture 2020

Shrove Tuesday tends to be embraced by the British Armed Forces – especially those on deployment around the world as they uphold our traditions, like flipping pancakes.

Catering teams across the services have been showing how it’s done and getting competitive over their pancake-flipping prowess on Pancake Day – showing us their flipping skills, and best way to whip up a batter recipe for the annual tradition.

Many have been posting their expert pancake batter-mixing skills on social media – with a healthy dash of rivalry in the mix.

In Brunei, the British Army Garrison was challenged to a bit of friendly competition between chefs to test out their pancake-flipping skills.

Army caterers showed how they can turn their hand to anything - including catering for a vegan diet.

The Welsh Guards, Wales's Senior Infantry Regiment which also has a ceremonial role as the guardians of the royal palaces in the Household Division, says that the British Army is always conscious of fitness and as a result, it has seen a rise in vegan diets.

This year, the regiment's chefs, aimed to help save the planet with a vegan pancake recipe.

Meanwhile, the Red Arrows have been showing the world the only way to crack Shrove Tuesday.

The chefs at RAF Brize Norton have been showing the world their technique for mixing the batter recipe, cooking in the pan and flipping the pancake.

Basic Pancake Recipe

There are, of course, variations on the depending on the chefs and their own cookery take on the pancake recipe but the basic pancake mix is flour, eggs, milk, vegetable oil and a pinch of salt.

An easy recipe would consist of:

100g of plain flour

2 large eggs

300ml of milk or semi-skimmed milk

1 tbsp of vegetable oil

Pinch of salt

Method

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to a smooth batter.

If there’s time, set aside for up to half and hour, otherwise just ten minutes before cooking.

Wipe a pan with a thin spread of oil – perhaps using kitchen roll to spread it finely over the pan for instance.

Heat a frying pan and when hot, ladle in a mix of batter.

Cook for about a minute on each side – flipping the pancake once it’s set enough to do so.

Add whatever toppings you want - sweet or savoury.

Pancake photo - Edith Wells copyright 2020
Super sweet pancake toppings. Copyright: Edith Wells 2020.

History of Pancakes and Pancake Day

What Is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday is an annual date in the Christian calendar that dates back to 1000 AD, with references to pancakes in cookery recipes dating back as far as the 1400s.

Also known in some countries as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day, the event is a traditional feast that precedes the first day of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

Christian countries mark the last day of feasting before the fasting period of Lent by consuming pancakes – in effect, gorging on fatty foods and using up eggs before the fasting begins for the Lenten season.

By the Middle Ages, there would have been a time of feasting on foods made with butter, eggs and fat during the Shrovetide season that would then be given up to fast at the start of Lent.

Historically, Christians would go to confession to be ‘shriven’, or absolved, from their sins and a bell would ring out to call people to church – a tradition that still continues today in many Protestant and Roman Catholic regions.

Why Do We Still Make Pancakes On Pancake Day?

Well, we all like food - whether Christian or not, so the annual event is now fully entrenched into cultural tradition.

Nowadays, Pancake Day is celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike in many Christian-based societies around the world but there are differences in how pancakes are prepared and presented.

A traditional English pancake differs from its counterparts around the world, such as America for instance, as it is a thin, flat, fried layer of batter that is flipped to cook both on sides – before it is served immediately from the pan while still hot and flavoured with either sweet or savoury fillings or complements.

It's not unlike the French crepe.

Favourite toppings or fillings tend to include sugar and the juice of a squeezed orange or lemon but other toppings have developed over the years such as chocolate spread and banana, maple syrup or a variety of savoury toppings for those with not-so-sweet a tooth.