Carnival, a festive time of the year beginning on the 12th day after Christmas (Epiphany) concludes with the celebration of Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday), the day preceding Ash Wednesday, which is also the beginning of Lent, falling this year on March 5. While Christians around the world follow the laws of fasting and abstinence by not eating meat and other foods during Lent, the consumption of milk, eggs and butter, once considered extravagant, was strictly forbidden, as well. With that in mind, the faithful who observed Lent used up supplies of dairy by making pancakes and other similar dishes, with the last day for consuming such foods being the day before Ash Wednesday, which we celebrate as Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday and Paczki (a Polish word for “donut”) Day. Besides pancakes, Dutch Babies, also called “Bismarcks” or “Dutch puffs” – a sweet popover-like breakfast bread, derived from the German “pfannkuchen” – would also make a fine Fat Tuesday treat, as would King Cake, a recipe I’m asked for time and time again come Mardi Gras season. I use my trusty cast-iron skillet for making Dutch Babies, with the 10-inch, two-quart size the perfect vehicle for making a plentiful portion for two. And, for King Cake, my bread machine comes in handy, doing an apt job of kneading the dough, leaving me the time (and energy) to decorate the cake with sugar crystals in the traditional royal colors of purple (for justice), green (for faith) and gold (for power). For many, Fat Tuesday represents the last culinary hurrah before Lent, which will continue for several weeks, for 46 days, until Saturday, April 19. For more delicious Fat Tuesday recipes, including those for fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, Orange Pancakes and Æbleskivers (Danish pancake balls), write me at email@example.com.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.