Shove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, is a widely observed festival in the UK by religious types and non-churchgoers alike. Traditionally, the day before Lent is thought of as a time to take stock of ourselves and think about how we can repent for any wrongdoings. In contemporary times, though, this usually translates into trying to give up a personal vice for the duration, be it drinking, smoking or playing video games till 3am on weekdays.
Anyway, despite its Christian connotations, the occasion is widely believed to be pagan in its origins anyway, as handy Wikipedia explains:
Like many other European holidays, the pancake day was originally a pagan holiday. Before the Christian era, the Slavs believed that the change of seasons was a struggle between Jarilo, the god of vegetation, fertility and springtime, and the evil spirits of cold and darkness. People believed that they had to help Jarilo fight against winter and bring in the spring. The most important part of Shrovetide week (the whole celebration of the arrival of spring lasted one week) was making and eating pancakes. The hot, round pancakes symbolised the sun.
So before we all grovel off to the nearest confessional, let's make sure Jarilo gets his due and tuck into a pancake or two first. And if you're going to take charge of proceedings, there's no point doing it by halves.
As with pretty much everything – whether it's chilli sauce, pasta, or even deodorant – homemade is best, and we're happy to suggest a few places to start if Nan has yet to hand down that secret recipe.
Jamie Oliver's website has no less than 11 Pancake Day recipes, from healthy buckwheat crepes (technically a galette then, but we'll let the geez off) to indulgent American-style pancakes and even a vegan option. Purists might prefer Delia Smith's recipe for classic lemon and sugar pancakes. With just five ingredients (all of which are everyday staples), it's also the budget-friendly option.
For a more savoury twist on things, Wahaca founder and former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers offers up this recipe for chickpea pancakes, which she recommends serving with a potato and cabbage curry. (She also has a recipe for homemade Nutella, if you'd prefer to stick to the sweet stuff). Finally, Guardian writer Andy Hamilton recommends a trick we particularly like: adding beer to your pancake batter. Maybe a bit of penance isn't such a bad thing after all...
Those are some of our favourites, but what about yours? Do you observe Pancake Day as the flour gods intended? Got a secret for making perfect pancakes at home? And what vice will you be giving up? Let us know down below…