Tuesday, 16 February 2021

PANCAKE DAY - CIVIL COMMOTION from John Taylor's 'Jack A Lent'

 Moreover, it is a goodly sight to see how the

cooks in great men's kitchens, do fry in their master's 
suet, and sweat in her own grease, that if ever a 
cook be worth the eating it is when Shrove- Tuesday 
is in town, for he is so stewed and larded, roasted, 
basted, and almost over-roasted, that a man may eat 
the rawest bit of him and never take a surfeit. In 
a word, they are that day extreme choleric, and too 
hot for any man to meddle with being monarchs of 
the marrow-bones, marquesses of the mutton, lords 
high regents of the spit and the kettle, barons of 
the gridiron, and sole commanders of the frying- 
pan, and all this hurly-burly, is for no other purpose 
but to stop the mouth of this land- wheel Shrove- 
Tuesday. At whose entrance in the morning all the 
whole kingdom is in quiet, but by that time the clock 
strikes eleven, which (by the help of a knavish 
sexton) is commonly before nine, then there is a bell 
rung, called the pancake bell, the sound whereof 
makes thousands of people distracted, and forgetful 
either of manner or humanity : Then there is a 
thing called wheaten flour, which the sulphery 
necromatic cooks do mingle with water, eggs, spice, 
and other tragical magical enchantments, and then 
they put it by little and little into a frying-pan of 
boiling suet, where it makes a confused dismal 
hissing like the Lernean snakes in the reeds of 
Acheron, Styx or Phlegethon) until at last by the skill 
of the cook, it is transformed into the form of a 
flap-jack, which in our translation is called a pancake, 
which ominous incantation the ignorant people do 
devour very greedily (having for the most part well 
dined before :) but they have no sooner swallowed 
that sweet candied bait, but straight their wits for- 
sake them, and they run stark mad, assembling in 
routs and throngs numberless of ungoverned 
numbers, with uncivil civil commotions.