Shrove Tuesday

So is anyone giving anything up (or taking anything up) for Lent? As aforementioned, I’m being crazy enough to try the challenge of no sugar for the following 40 or so days. I’ve managed no chocolate before, on several occasions, which is really quite amazing given my normal state of chocolate addiction. The first time I managed it I continued to buy chocolate bars, but stashed them away until Easter, by which time I had collected about a dozen bars. That was quite a nice Easter…

The name comes from a Germanic word meaning to impose a penance upon a person. Which is probably roughly what a woman giving up chocolate feels it is: a penance. I’m looking at this rather as a challenge than as a penance, but it will be difficult. Originally, of course, the giving up of things, especially foods, comes from the Church. Which is why we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. It’s an easy and tasty way of using up those things which good Christians aren’t supposed to eat during Lent; must admit, I think Swedes have a better idea with semlor. Other languages call it Fat Tuesday. The Church reckons we should be eating plain foods. Nothing fancy, nothing heavy, nothing rich. Boring, really.

I’ve always preferred savoury pancakes over sweet ones. I suspect this is because when I was younger, my dad used to make us drop-scones for breakfast on Sundays, and the best topping ever for a freshly made drop-scone is melting butter and a strong cheddar cheese. Melting cheese has to be one of the best toppings for practically all savoury meals.

A couple of years ago, my friend and I were both giving up chocolate. We had pancakes slathered in a very rich chocolate truffle sauce. Very rich, very sugary, very sickening. It was just as well I was giving up chocolate, because I didn’t feel in the slightest bit like eating chocolate for quite a while after that.

But this year, I’m going for a real challenge, with no added sugar (I need that stipulation so that I can still eat fruit). It means I’m going to have to be inventive about cakes and chocolate. It’s going to be interesting. I found an anonymous quotation once, which I feel accurately sums up what Lent is going to be like for me:

“Hell hath no fury like a woman who has sworn off fudge and chocolate…”

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