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Whats in Wapping

A Wapping pancake for Shrove Tuesday

A Wapping pancake for Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day marks the day before Lent in the Christian calendar.

Racing with pancakes is a tradition in the UK and dates back as far as 1445 [...read Wikipedia].

Participants race through the streets tossing pancakes in the air, hopefully catching them again in their pans whilst running along.

For a local race, head to nearby Cathedral Square just south of the river where teams compete and raise money for good causes [...view details].

Wapping writes about pancakes

A piece for Pancake Day from our Wapping Up Your Street writer Gillian Lawrence:

This year Pancake Day falls on
International Women’s Day so I won’t be
in the kitchen flipping!
When I was a girl after the war, Mum
used to be an out-of-necessity expert
flipper at least once a week. Remember
then that meals were the only time when
people ate: there were no crisps or
grazing on snacks between meals. There
was no extra money and no extra food.
People said “I have to get home for my tea”
meaning they must as that would be the
only meal until breakfast the next day.
Mum would soak orange lentils
overnight and, with an onion, a knob of
butter and a hock of boiling ham, she’d
conjure up an odoriferous filling soup
which was ladled out to each of her eight
children. Whilst her bowl of soup was
cooling she’d be in the kitchen making
each of us one thin pancake. We’d watch
her at work wedged between the cooker
and the work-table. Traditionally mum’s
lentil soup was followed by her pancakes.
The pancakes with sugar and a squeeze of
real lemon were our puddings.
Her mother-in-law lived in Shoreditch during the war.
Sometimes she came in after dinner to
baby-sit whilst my mother went to the baby clinic.
(I only know now that my mother was always ‘ pregnant’,
a word we never dared use then!) The pair of them would
reminisce over war stories.
My grandmother talked more than once
about the bomb on Hermitage Wharf
where the Memorial Park is now in Wapping.
It was sadder, said my grandmother “because civilians
were killed. Ordinary men and women. Terrible it was”.
We children just listened. We were never expected
to talk anyway.
The two women always turned to us children
You never want to live through a war.

Seven years ago I ate sugary, deep-fried
pancakes and buttery grits during Mardi
Gras (Fat Tuesday) in New Orleans just
ahead of Hurricane Katrina striking.

Last year on Shrove Tuesday, Florine
from Sierra Leone fried me some plantain
and arranged small cinnamon-flavoured
pancakes on my plate. She is already
planning Lent 2011.

Kind thanks to Gillian Lawrence who runs Up Your Street, the events service for Wapping seniors and enjoy your pancakes!