The time before Lent has always been given to feasting and revelry. Variously celebrated as Carnival, Mardi Gras, and Shrovetide, it represents the last chance for Catholics to indulge in meat, alcohol, and other decadent foods until Easter. The festivities have given rise to several food traditions. Obviously meat and pastry are common, but since the celebrations often include a parade, many types of street food are made. Venetian fritoles (fritters) are an example.
For Canadian Catholics the day before the start of Lent is called Pancake Tuesday. While they are masquerading in Venice and dancing in Rio, we are sitting down with our families to have breakfast for dinner. Apparently the tradition started as a way to use up the butter and eggs in the house before Lent.
Below is a picture of my pancake dinner from this year (shared with co-workers after a shift): cornmeal pancakes, smoked sausage, and apple slices, with butter and maple syrup.
1. Duncan, Dorothy. Feasting and Fasting: Canada’s Heritage Celebrations. ©2010 Dorothy Duncan. Dundurn Press, Toronto, ON. Page 78.