Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Pancakes - good or bad?

Happy Pancake Day!

I have to admit that I wasn't very smart when I did my menu plan for this week and on the table tonight is actually baked chicken Parmesan meatballs in tomato cream sauce - fancy! - instead of pancakes.

In Scotland we have Scotch pancakes instead of crepes on Shrove Tuesday. Of course, we just call them pancakes! I think the English call them dropped scones to differentiate them from pancakes aka crepes. Did I ever mention that all these nationalities that make up the British are properly weird!!?

I'll just have to hope that someone will bring in pancakes to work today so I don't have to go without on a day where you're allowed to treat yourself.

But that bothers me. Why am I "allowed" to treat myself on this day and not others? And for that matter, why do we label some foods as "good" and some as "bad"? Who's to decide which is which?

It's making me think of the ways in which we label our foods

I've noticed that there is so much pressure on people these days. As much as I love the internet, you see the lives of other people and assume that they are superwomen with high-powered jobs, clean houses, well-behaved kids and rocking bodies. Unlike me, you tell yourself.

Fear not - you can have all that, too, according to the media etc. All you have to do is undertake this diet, follow this plan, avoid these pitfalls, get up at 4am and have a positive attitude.

It's bloody exhausting.

And then I've got to create a perfect meal in just 15 minutes and am given this never ending list of  what's good and what's bad. Cheese is too high in fat, chocolate is high fat, dairy is, well, dairy, meat is evil, vegetables have too much sugar, potatoes have carbs - it's enough to drive you to drink. And yay, you can have a glass of wine because it's high in anti-oxidents. But don't have wine because you'll raise your risk of whatever disease you can think of!

Sigh! I'll just sit here and chew my piece of parsley, then.

In my own case, my Ulcerative Colitis means that I have extra problems with what I can eat. I can't tolerate seeds, nuts or grains - so wholemeal things are out the window. It's white bread all the way. The "bad" bread! Vegetables do things to me that I won't upset y'all by talking about (begins with p- and ends with -oop) and plenty of other "good" things leave me in agony.

So I've decided that the people who designate things as "good" or "bad" don't know what they're talking about as every single person is different.

But no-one should finish eating and feel such guilt over whether they have eaten enough of the "good" stuff. No-one should decide to skip meals because they think it's healthier than eating "bad" foods.

No-one should feel any guilt over food at all.

So my new motto is this:

Harold's Planet: Everything in moderation, including moderation...

If we take away the guilt over the foods we're told are "bad" and we stop telling ourselves that these foods are forbidden temptations - they lose their hold over us.

Have as much chocolate cake as you like.

Drink as much coffee as you want.

But...and here's the hard bit...remember that having a licence to do something doesn't mean you should do it all the time.

Just know that you're allowed to treat yourself to a piece of cake when you've been sweating your arse off (sorry for the swearing, mum!) or not eating snacks between meals for a week.

You're allowed to do whatever you want. Just listen to your body, learn to hear the signals of what it needs (rather than just wants) and food will stop becoming an obsession and start becoming a real pleasure.

So that's what' I'm giving up for Lent - labelling food as "good" or "bad" in order to stop my terrible obsession with food.

And now, since this has been a bit of a ranty post - I will leave you with the recipe of my favourite pancakes from Be-ro.


100g (4oz) Self Raising Flour
50g (2oz) salt
1 medium egg
4 x 15ml tbsp milk to mix
few drops lemon essence (optional)


1 Mix flour, salt and sugar, add egg and gradually beat in enough milk to make a thick batter.
2 Add essence, if used.
3 Cook 2 or 3 at a time by dropping spoonfuls of the mixture on a moderately hot, well-greased griddle.
4 Cook until the underside is golden brown and the top is covered with bubbles, about 3 minutes.
5 Turn and brown on the other side. Serve buttered, hot or cold.
N.B A baking griddle should be well-greased, then heated until a little water sprinkled on the surface skips about in balls, evaporating. A frying pan makes a good substitute



  1. I love pancakes - *our* pancakes. I do like dinner pancakes (crepes) as well but they're too much of a faff in my humble opinion. And you've got to keep them warm in the oven whilst you cook the rest? No thanks. I'll have a (real) pancake any day thanks very much.

    Oh and yes, no swearing! :oP

  2. Yeah - I like crepes too but even the thought of making them is tiring! I'll let someone else make them for me - even though not one person made any (or even proper pancakes) into work. Useless bunch!!
    That's why crepes are for one person - you just eat them as you make them. That way, you'll never know how many you've eaten!! ;)

  3. Very interesting read Josie.
    I love both types of pancakes and switch them up regularly for our Sunday brunch! I made the wee ones on Tuesday for breakfast! Yummm! :-)


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