Think Outside The Pan For Pancakes

Shrove Tuesday is later than usual this year, falling on March 1st. The date is a significant one on the Christian calendar, marking the start of lent and the build-up to Easter. While many people - often for dietary reasons rather than spiritual ones - like to give things up for lent, Shrove Tuesday is a time to be rather indulgent with pancakes.

This actually arises from the original old English tradition of fasting during lent, which meant all the fatty ingredients had to be used up on Shrove Tuesday itself. All these would be mixed together to create pancakes. While Britain may be more secular now, the tradition remains.

It is worth noting that the English customs differ from those overseas, such as the Mardi Gras /Fat Tuesday tradition seen in parts of the US, where the ‘King Cake’ is eaten instead. This may be why pancakes in the US are not a traditional food eaten on a particular day of the year, nor cooked in the British style, but a thick, fluffy, familiar staple coated with syrup - often for breakfast!

This is important to note if you are looking to create something photogenic on Shrove Tuesday. Before even thinking about your backdrop board, it is important to have something that stands out. That means the first thing to do is avoid simply devising something that looks like it’s been served up in an American diner.

However, it is also possible to have some very standard pancakes here in Britain too. The most common tradition is to have them cooked very thinly, rolled up and then doused with lemon and sugar. If you are doing this, emphasise the lemon element with a slice of it on top of each pancake.

This may be enough to satisfy some, but for pancakes that stand out, you must think outside of the box - or pan.

Some people like to add rather different sweeteners, like jam, squirty cream or chocolate spread. But to really go to town, various fruits could be tried.

Fruit of various colours always look photogenic together, so try an array of pancakes with blueberries, slices of banana and strawberries dripping with red juice. To emphasise this further, have more of these ingredients loose around the pancakes on the plate.

Another way of doing things differently is to try savoury pancakes. Fillings could include mincemeat, grated or melted cheese, gooey eggs with dripping yolk, or even something vegetarian like chopped mushrooms.

With the pancakes themselves being a beige hue, it makes sense if your backdrop has a bit more colour about it. But be careful to ensure it is not one that clashes with the fillings. That may not be easy if you have different colours, so it is useful to work out exactly what ingredients you are using to begin with before selecting the backdrop.

This means you should be ready to experiment by cooking up a few pancakes and trying different fillings to see what they look like before you hit upon your final choices. That way, you can be sure of being able to present something that looks wonderfully enticing on camera.

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