I spent a summer as a nanny living with a family in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. It was incredibly idyllic; we lived across the street from a quiet lake where we could go swimming and kayaking. Walk a little further down the road, venture into the woods, and you would find yourself on a stretch of the Appalachian Trail.


Over winter break, I went to visit this family at their new home in England. The house they live in now is the father’s childhood home on the narrow, crowded street of a small town down by the coast. Compact and congested, the town certainly lacks the spacious air of the home I shared with them two years ago.

The night I arrived was February 28th, also known as Fat Tuesday in New Orleans or Shrove Tuesday in England. It is traditional in England to eat pancakes for supper on Shrove Tuesday, because traditionally that day is the final hurrah before the start of Lent, a fasting period that lasts until Easter. What better way to use up all of the decadent ingredients in your house than stir them all into a big mixing bowl and cook them into pancakes? That is what we did with some milk, flour, butter and eggs. These pancakes closely resemble French crepes–they are thin rather than thick and pillowy like their American cousins. I made them in class with my students on Monday (we were obviously not observing a very strict fast) and they were a huge hit. Traditionally served sprinkled with granulated sugar and soaked with lemon, they are a delectable treat that can serve as dinner and dessert, all rolled into one!



Carnival Pancakes

(Adapted from Nigella Lawson)


⅛ cup (or 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, plus more for frying

1 cup flour

1 ⅓ cups milk

1 large egg

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Combine flour, eggs and milk in a bowl and whisk firmly.
  3. Stir in the melted butter.
  4. Melt some of the remaining butter in a shallow pan. Ladle 2-3 teaspoons of batter into the pan then quickly hold it up and swirl, so that the batter forms a quick, thin pancake covering the base of the pan.
  5. After a minute, flip the pancake and cook for 30 seconds to a minute on the other side.
  6. Repeat until you have a delicious batch of pancakes!
  7. Serve with fresh squeezed lemon and granulated sugar.

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