Pancake Tuesday always reminds me of home. It takes me right back to my childhood in Kilcarn Court. Carefree days filled with laughter and fun. Of course there was the odd cross word or seven, sure haven’t I already described the madcap happenings in the Byrne household! And, what house is devoid of a raised voice now and then?
When Pancake Tuesday rolls around it’s like I step back in time. I can see my Dad, just in from work, mixing the batter while Mammy Byrne gets dinner out of the way. They always worked well together in a kitchen environment. Years of working in hotels together I suppose. Each could almost sense without asking what the other needed next. Over my childhood I had watched them work away in companionable silence in the busiest of kitchens.
I remember the stack of pancakes getting taller and taller even as I tried my best to scoff them as they came of the pan. We’d ask Dad to flip them higher, and higher, in the hope that they would stick to the ceiling.
In my mind’s eye I can see the scene, myself and my sister still in our uniforms. Mine in disarray, hers worn with a coolness that I could never imitate no matter how hard I tried. It’s funny, it’s not the eating of the pancakes that has stayed with me over the years rather it’s the ritual of making them. The time spent as a family making a tradition that has been carried forward.
In my kitchen pancakes are a firm favourite. I think we’ve tried every variation at this stage. The thing that remains constant is the making of the pancake. It somehow has the power to draw everyone into the kitchen, and once there, the sharing begins. Joys, fears, hopes and dreams come rushing out as we prepare what can only be described as comfort food.
Sometimes we’re not even aware that we’re carrying on a tradition. It’s just what we do.