Welcome to the online diary of the “London Ziegs,” as they journal their experiences relocating from the balmy climes of sunny Orlando, Florida to the more chaotically cosmopolitan environment of London, UK!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pancake Day

In many parts of the world, Tuesday was Mardi Gras -- the big party before Lent begins and we all have to focus on being better people. In the Maidenhead and the rest of the United Kingdom, Pancake Day was celebrated. Why pancakes? Well, the tradition is that butter, eggs, sugar, and other tasty ingredients are forbidden during Lent, so people had to use up these ingredients before confession time on Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday) to prepare for Ash Wednesday. The legend is that one woman was so involved in making her pancakes that she didn't realize it was time for the church service. She hurried to church but forgot she still had the frying pan -- complete with pancake -- still in her hand. And so we have Pancake Day! (For US people, these pancakes will look a lot more like crepes than the type of thing that you get at IHOP, Denny's, or Waffle House. Even so, I bought a ham and cheese filled pancake at the booth before the race. Still delicious.)

On Pancake Day, many towns have Pancake Races. In Maidenhead, teams of two from local businesses had relay races down King Street. The first participant had to flip the pancake twice while running and hand off the skillet to a second participant, who also had to run and flip the pancake twice. If the pancake flipped out of the pan, the runner had to pick up the pancake before continuing. Fancy dress was optional, but one team earned an award for coming dressed as a sword-wielding pirate and a construction worker in a hardhat. Fifteen teams entered this year, including the defending champions from Saisbury's, a local grocery store and sponsor of the event. Unfortunately for them, on one flip, the pancake flopped out of the pan, and one of the Wargraves' teams sprinted to victory.

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