Erik Petersen: Happy Love Pancake Day
TODAY while people in Rio or New Orleans are doing rum shots off each other's torsos, we are eating pancakes.
Thanks, Protestant reformation. Thanks a lot.
But hey, that's all right. Because later this week, we've got an even better holiday. We've got Valentine's Day, the day that divides the world into precisely two categories – those who will die alone, and those who must prove their love via commerce.
We're not always this lucky. The two days don't always fall this closely together. Normally, our day of Enlightenment-approved pancake bacchanalia comes a bit apart from the day when we're either in a pub drinking away our sorrows alone or in a restaurant drinking away our sorrows with one other person.
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But this year, the calendar conspires to give us these two blessed days in rapid succession. In these economically austere times, I say we take advantage of it by rolling them into one.
My day – I call it Love Pancake Day, and I suggest we celebrate it on Wednesday – is simply about making this nonsense as painless as possible.
You might assume here that what I want is a single holiday that combines all the best in Pancake Day and Valentine's Day. Don't be stupid.
We celebrate these days out of obligation or because corporations tell us we have to. Well, I say enough. What I want is a way to get out of all this as quickly as possible without angering all the relevant parties.
And let's not be naïve here – there are relevant parties. There are major corporations making serious coin off from Valentine's Day. And, less obviously but just as importantly, we cannot ignore the cash windfall that would be lost by the international batter industry if Pancake Day just went away.
No, annoying the Valentine's Massive and the Pancake Cartel is a trouble we don't want. So we'll still buy things. Things like fancy batter. Special Love Pancake Day eggs. Romantic syrup if we want to give our Love Pancake Day the vibe of that most sensual of countries, Canada.
But we won't buy silly love-y status symbols. On Love Pancake Day, there are no flowers. There are no presents. No restaurants shall be booked, no bottles of reasonably priced cava shall be purchased. You merely present your beloved with a pancake. Or maybe a galette if you're a poetry-writing fancy-pants.
My day works for one simple reason. Love, like pancakes, is uncomplicated. You have access to flour, eggs and milk every day of the year; you don't need a pre-Lenten day of crepe-based debauchery to enjoy it. Likewise, if you are in love you can share that love regardless of whether you on one particular day procure Tesco's midrange mixed bouquet and a Groupon for dinner and dessert at a chain Italian place. And the pancake is also that most versatile of dishes, able to be enjoyed by one as well as two. So if you happen to be spending this Love Pancake Day alone, you can simply adjust your mixture without worrying that it's all gone wrong.
Or you can head for Brazil or Louisiana with a rum bottle and an open mind. Either way, you'll have a better time.