Thursday, 23 February 2012

Pancakes & Masks: When two cultures meet

Ok, so this post isn´t so much about Bilingualism as Culture but I think it´s equally important to teach my child(ren!)about the minority language(in this case English) culture as well as the majority language(Spanish) culture which they will grow up with. This Tuesday was Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday...whatever you call it! This English tradition mainly consists in eating pancakes and the traditional way is with lemon juice and sugar although you can eat them with anything you want,such as Golden Syrup, Maple Syrup, Nutella,jam just to name a few!Pancakes are different to the American variety as they are thinner and bigger,more like the French crepe.Here´s a photo of one I made last year (God,I sound a bit like Blue Peter!):

This is the recipe I usually make: Delia´s Basic Pancakes which usually turn out well, in case anyone wants to immerse themselves in British culture.

Needless to say, I made pancakes and Chloe tried her first pancake(which she ate as finger food, took forever to eat but ate a whole one apart from the bits that fell on the floor and in her highchair!)

Apart from that,there isn´t a lot more to Pancake Day that I can pass on to Chloe, especially at this age! In some parts of Britain, pancake races are held but I have never seen one as there weren´t any in my town. I can tell her about these races when she´s older and maybe we can watch a video of a pancake race,such as this one on You Tube: Although they don´t have anything to do with Pancake Day, I could also read her the following books about Pancakes to tie in with this tradition: The Runaway Pancake and Pancakes,Pancakes by Eric Carle (I´d also like to use either of these books in my EFL classroom to teach them about British culture but can´t until I´ve got hold of them!)

One custom that my Mum and I had when I was a little girl is I helped her to make the Pancake batter. Mum would bring the bowl with the flour and the eggs in and the jug of milk and two forks, then she´d gradually add the milk and we would beat the mixture with our forks till everything had combined together. This is another custom I´d like to pass on to my daughter.

This week is also Carnival in Spain, which meant that schools & academies had Monday and Tuesday off, so I got to spend more time with Chloe-yippee! I saw some really cute costumes, such as a ladybird but they were pretty expensive and I decided not to buy her a costume.I´m not a very crafty person either so I wasn´t going to make her a costume.However, in the end her Aunt has lent us a Minnie Mouse/cat type costume that was her cousin´s so she will wear it on Sunday. We usually go to my husband´s aunt´s flat to watch the Sunday end-of Carnival parade from her balcony, with the floats and dancing and music, although Chloe is probably still a bit too young to enjoy it at the moment. It´s quite long and can get pretty tedious after awhile! We have snacks and aperitivos such as tortilla, ham,lomo etc but I´m not really into nibbles!!!

On Ash Wednesday, there is usually the "Entierro de la Sardina" (The Burial of the Sardine), in which a figure of a sardine is burnt in the main square (don´t ask me why they chose to burn a sardine!).I have hardly seen this tradition as I´m usually working when the burning of the sardine takes place but when Chloe is older we will have to take her to see it!


  1. What a fun tradition!
    Do you know the book Little Bear's Pancake Party? Unfortunately it's not in print anymore, so you can only get used copies. I still remember it from when I was a little girl :) It came with a record, too (yes, vinyl!). I'd love to get my hands on it again!
    I haven't done much cooking with Aleksander yet, but every now and then he does help me mix a batter. I'm sure it will be more and more fun as the kids get older :)

  2. I haven´t heard of the book Little Bear´s Pancake Party but sounds good,Kate! I can´t wait till Chloe is older to be able to cook with her!