Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday and Vintage Aprons

My kids love Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day as they sometimes refer to it). They are not alone in loving pancakes and having them for dinner is extra special. Shrove Tuesday celebrations can be communal and have more recently included connections to the Catholic traditions of Mardi Gras. The Cathedral where the children sing holds such a supper but yet again our family activities did not mesh with the event. We usually prepare two batches of pancakes (one egg-free for me) and have them with maple syrup and sausages (mild Italian are not traditional but are preferred). I thought that since this post is mostly about food it would be the perfect opportunity to share some recently acquired vintage aprons. They were all found on the same day, at the same thrift store at fifty per cent off. I have found fewer and fewer decent aprons lately and the prices have been going up so findinf so many good ones on sale was a special event. This one appears to be home-made and uses an eye-bending print. You certainly would not want a whole garment made out of this fabric but an apron is just fine.

This one is also hand-made and uses french seams to join the panels. I love print as it reminds me of delftware. My pancake recipe is very basic: 1-2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, 2 Tbsp. melted butter or oil, 2 cups of flour, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt. Whisk the liquids together, mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients and stir out most of the lumps. Pour out batter onto a med-hot griddle or skillet (buttered or oiled depending on how much seasoning there is). When the bubbles in each cake have popped and the edges have dried, flip the pancakes. Finish cooking and serve hot!

I really love this apron especially for the deep pockets and the orange seam binding; it also appears to be hand-made. The pockets go all the way to the bottom of the apron and would be perfect for house-keeping supplies. The print suggests the 1950's to me. When I made the second batch of pancakes I increased the milk to 1 3/4 cups and added a powdered egg-replacer or you could use the usual amount of milk and use a flax seed and water egg substitute. In the past I have used other milks(rice, soy, etc.) with success and have even used water as my liquid (pancakes are a bland food, but water makes them too bland in my opinion). I chose to make my pancakes buckwheat and substituted 1 3/4 cups light buckwheat flour and 1/4 cup chickpea flour for the all-purpose flour used for the rest of the family. Do not be discouraged by the taste of uncooked bean flour in the batter. Just don't taste it after all you would not taste the batter if it has raw eggs would you? I also added 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum as it tends to improve all gluten-free baking.

This apron will go with my other gingham smocked and chicken scratch aprons. It looks like it has had a pretty hard life but I couldn't leave it on the rack when I was bringing home all the others. I have other green gingham aprons but not the darker shade which works well with the black embroidery thread navy ric-rack. Pancakes were a weekend ritual when I was growing up and one of the few foods that my Dad had learned to make. We have continued that tradition and Number 3 makes excellent pancakes on his own. Our weekend mornings have tended to be busy so the tradition has waned a little but Shrove Tuesday should help that.

My daughter really liked this apron and insisted that I buy it! She loves the high waisted short skirts that are in fashion right now and this apron mirrors that trend even though I suspect it is almost as old as me. Our daughter likes to bake so a full bib apron is more practical for her but maybe she will want to take this apron when she sets up her own home. The batter for pancakes can have many variations but it is universally thicker than the batter for crepes. Sour milk and butter milk make excellent pancakes and require a little more baking soda. I have had pancakes made with over-ripe banana puree, rolled oats, chocolate chips and even left-over egg nog (before my egg allergy). It really does not need to be a special day to have pancakes for dinner; they can work very well when you have nothing else planned and not a lot of time. The ingredients are most likely in your kitchen and substitutions work surprisingly well.


未來 said...
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gardener-b said...

I think the thrift stores are beginning to suspect that there is demand for vintage aprons...and rising prices reflect that. Pancake tuesday brings back many childhood memories although I usually prefer a crepes now.