Monday, February 15, 2010
A Scandinavian-Inspired Shrove Tuesday
Some call it Fat Tuesday. In New Orleans, it's called Mardi Gras. In Merry England, it's Pancake Day. Whatever it's called, Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent begins, is meant to be set aside for two things: shriving (going to Confession) and feasting!
This year, I am combining our family's British and Scandinavian heritage in our Shrove Tuesday celebration. We'll still have pancakes, but this year, they will be in the form of Cheese Blintzes with Blueberry Sauce . Technically, a blintz is Eastern European, but Swedes make their own version, known as Swedish pancakes.
For dinner, we will be feasting on Apricot-and-Prune Stuffed Pork with Mustard Sauce, a traditional Swedish dish for Shrove Tuesday. Alongside, I will be serving Swedish brown beans, another staple dish for the day, and a luxuriant dish of fingerling potatoes cooked in cream and dill. Dessert will be semlor, sweet buns filled with almond paste and whipped cream and served in a bowl of warm milk--a must for any Swedish Shrove Tuesday celebration!
I know that most Catholic celebrations tend to be centered on the traditions of nations that are still primarily Catholic, such as France, Italy, or Poland. England and Sweden are certainly not considered Catholic countries, but perhaps that is why the traditions have been guarded and cherished so fiercely through the centuries--so much so that even non-Catholics and secular citizens in these countries tend to participate in Catholic cultural traditions, such as the eating of scrumptuous semlor. In any case, I thoroughly enjoy drawing from my own rich cultural heritage for our holiday celebrations, and I feel blessed that there is truly so much to learn and to celebrate!
How will you be celebrating Shrove Tuesday? Do you follow your own heritage's traditions, draw from those of another culture, or invent your own?