No doubt there will be pancakes at tonight’s fundraising meeting, but just in case, my daughter and I had some for breakfast. In fact, I was woken up especially early “because it’s pancake day!” to give me time to make them.
As I groggily mixed the flour and egg and milk and set the frying pan to heat up, it occurred to me that everyone probably has their own favoured pancake recipe. When I first made pancakes I used the Delia recipe, but these days I don’t weigh or measure anything, I just chuck stuff in a bowl and stir it until it looks right. It generally works, and it suits my personality much better than getting out the kitchen scales and doing things ‘properly’.
Everyone has their own favourite toppings, too. My daughter and I love golden syrup and lemon juice, while one of her friends will only eat pancakes if they are coated in tomato ketchup. One of the tutors at my theological college used to make the most wonderful orange pancake sauce which I’ve never been able to replicate. Our taste in food is as unique as we are, clearly, and some of the best pancake parties I’ve been to have been those with a ‘bring and share topping’ rule – enabling each person to try everyone’s favourites, perhaps enjoying something new, perhaps confirming their own preferences.
Whether it’s syrup, lemon juice, orange, or ketchup, there seems little point in trying to be frugal about pancakes. Their whole function on Shrove Tuesday is to use up some of the luxuries that will be denied during Lent. So making the most of this last ‘feast’ is absolutely related to the way we approach the fast of Lent, whether or not we’re actually going to be giving up a particular food. ‘Deny yourself’ we are often told at the start of Lent. But this isn’t about denying who we are – we are still unique people, with unique tastes, preferences and desires. But Lent is a good time for each of us to reflect on how the person we are impacts on those around us and on the wider world.
So much in Love Life Live Lent is not about denying ourselves, but rather about revisiting who we are; doing things a bit differently in the belief that what we do can profoundly affect who we are, as well as affecting others.
As you eat your pancakes (whatever topping you put on them), think about how the person you are, in all your individuality, makes a difference to the world around you, and how, during Lent, you are going to make that impact even more into something which really does change things for the better.