Shredded Pancakes


I trust that you all enjoyed your pancakes back on Shrove Tuesday. A few years ago, whilst in Austria, I enjoyed the shredded pancake, which is known as Kaiserschmarren.  Kaiser means emperor and Schmarren means something like a shredded dish.


The Austrian pancake is thought to have been named after the Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916), who was very fond of it. There are quite a few stories about its origins.  One says that the Empress was hopeless at flipping pancakes, so decided to play to her strengths by shredding it and then topping it with jam.  Another version recounts how a poor peasant woman was flustered by having to entertain the emperor; in her panic she also made a mess of tossing the pancake.  She covered up her mistake, however, by pouring jam all over the shredded pieces and the emperor was delighted by the sweet concoction.


Whichever version you like both make the point that an apparent pancake disaster was turned into a triumph. Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, was the day before Lent; the forty days of preparation for Easter.  We are now in the last stage of it, which is a period of time usually known as Passiontide.  The English word passion has its roots in a Latin word for suffering. For centuries it referred pretty much exclusively to the suffering of Christ on the cross, the Passion of Christ, long before we started using the word passion to refer to anything else.


There are many things that could be said about the Passion of Christ. It certainly shows that in a world full of innocent suffering the Christian faith has innocent suffering right at its heart. But we should also remember that the cross is a victory; what appears to be a total disaster is actually a triumphant victory.


When Jesus died on the cross He called out ‘It is finished’; the work is completed (John19:30). It is only through the cross that Christ can enter into the realm of death and rescue those trapped there.  It is a bit like a successful raid on enemy territory to free hostages and to bring them home.


The mess we might make with our pancakes is trivial stuff compared to the current mess of the world. But when confronted with our world’s challenges the cross, which speaks of a God who knows all about innocent suffering and is triumphant against death, should give us hope.


Father Michael


Posted By: valerie

Comments are closed.