Lent will begin this week on Ash Wednesday (February 17th). Originally a time for preparation for baptism at Easter, it came to be forty days long largely because of two episodes from the scriptures. When the Israelites fled out of slavery in Egypt, they wandered in the desert for forty years before entering the promised land. After Jesus’s baptism, the Holy Spirit drove him out into the wilderness for forty days, where he fasted and underwent temptation.
The journey to the cross combined with these examples of fasting led followers of Jesus in the early Church to mark the season of Lent by fasting themselves: abstaining from meats and fats, and eating fewer and simpler meals. To get ready for Lent, people began trying to use up these foodstuffs so as not to waste them–which led to a tradition of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. (That’s also where we get another term for the day: Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday.)
Since we can’t gather for pancakes and sausages this year, here are a pair of videos to help you enjoy them at home. Blanche offers a video teaching how to make her incredible apple sauce for pancakes, and Matthew offers a how to video for pancakes–and the mysterious pankegg.
Blanche’s apple sauce: