Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Shrove Tuesday.


Today is Shrove Tuesday, so this evening we rather swapped places; that is, I made and cooked the pancakes, and Ann took over the photography department. I'd just tossed (and caught) the first one when Ann took the above picture, and in the photo below, I'm tucking into the  fourth one. I must confess  that for the first time I can remember,  when I tossed the third one - I DIDN'T catch it - it went on the floor (Oh the shame of it !!!!)   I think I must be skidding a bit. All the rest went allright. I suppose that we get out of practice when we only excercise a skill annually. I think a new Act should be passed proclaiming a Shrove Tuesday every threemonths, so that we all get more practice (and MORE pancakes). We eat ours the traditional way,  i.e. with a squeeze of lemon, muscovado sugar, then rolled up and a little castor sugar sprinkled along the top. I don't think it can be improved on.



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Now to the answer about yesterday's mystery object. The point about the object illustrated yesterday is that it is a sturdy, reliable pistol;  BUT, if you examine the lock closely, you'll find it has  a plain, unsophisticated  (albeit workmanlike) lock. The only real outward sign of this is the lack of a bridle to the frizzen (i.e. the steel), but there are several other small signs of a lack of refinement that usually went into officers' or duelling pistols. This one was made for the protection of a gentleman's coach. The coach guard was usually armed with a blunderbuss, more often than not a brass barrelled one. The point about the brass barrel, as most of you spotted, is that travelling  in English weather, they were less subject to corrosion than iron. This led to brass barrels being used at sea or when travelling in a horse drawn carriage. They were issued  (as anti highwayman devices) to a liveried footman, or more probably a liveried outrider to a private carriage. In other words it was a servant's pistol. The usual name for them, and they are fairly rare items, is therefore 'livery pistols'.  When they were made they probably cost about a quarter of what would have to be spent on duelling pistols. The same is still true. When such a weapon comes up for sale it probably makes between a third and a quarter  the price of a good dueller.  For me it is a part of our social history.

10 comments:

Z said...

Russell will have to wait until next week for his pancakes - I agree with you that the classic sugar and lemon is the best, though I used to serve other options for the children too. My daughter regularly makes pancakes for breakfast at the weekend. Remarkable. With Nutella - delicious, but you can't really move much afterwards, you're so full!

Liz said...

This year we actually had pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. I cannot remember the last time I made pancakes but they turned out OK. We went 'old school' with lemon and sugar and I was surprised how nice they were.

Pat said...

Yours looks yummy. I took the lazy way out and had an excellent,
thin, slightly tanned one with roasted peaches and vanilla ice cream.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Z. I too think that a nice, crispy pancake served with muscovado sugar and lemon juice is the best and simplest way. Most years two friends of ours in town hold a pancake evening on Shrove Tuesday where all sorts of savoury or sweet fillings are tried. But this year they are in the Galapogos Islands, so I don't know what they'll be having with their pancakes. Possibly a side dish of the blue footed Booby Bird, or a giant tortoise ? Thjink I'll stcik to that lemon juice and sugar recipe.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Liz. Glad to hear your traditionalists, too, in this matter.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Pat. Thank you. Quite agree about 'thin, slightly tanned pancakes'. Must say you roasted peaches and vanilla icecream, with pancake, sounds delicious, and a pretty good pudding, though.

Mike and Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nea said...

Or pretend you're Swedish and eat pancakes every Thursday with pea soup and mustard.... Although I still prefer them with lemon and brown sugar:)

Mike and Ann said...

Yes, if we had to toss pancakes every Thursday, think what expert pancake makers we would have become by next Shrove Tuesday.

Crowbard said...

I confess I've taken to tossing omelets to get them nicely tanned on both sides, it works fine as long as you cook 'em long enough to be almost set all the way through!