Celebrating a Traditional Shrove: Oven Baked Chips

“I buffet my body and make it my slave…” Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:27

Traditionally viewed as a day of repentance, Shrove Tuesday has become the last day for celebration and feasting before the period of fasting required during the Lent season for mind and body becoming cleared, prepared for Easter. The name “Shrove Tuesday” originates from the word “shrive”, which means to confess and receive absolution, and society believed it meant all bad things were forgiven on this day. Shrove originally refers to a period of cleansing, wherein a person will practice abstention and self-sacrifice. Through hundreds of years, Shrove Tuesday has evolved into a day of indulgence, during which people participate in as much pleasure as they can before Lent begins. Shrove and its customs originated during the Middle Ages.

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The practical, rather than religious reason for it was that food items like meats, fats, eggs, milk, and fish were regarded as restricted during Lent, so to keep such food from being wasted, many families would have big feasts on Shrove Tuesday in order to consume those items that would become spoiled during the next forty days. The English tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came about as a way to use as much milk, fats, and eggs as possible before Ash Wednesday began. In France, the consumption of all fats and fatty foods on this day coined the name “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras. In Hungary, people bake rich fat fried doughnuts. All things fatty…

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Originally beginning on Sunday, Shrove was a three-day celebration that culminated in large feasts on Tuesday night. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, the event was restricted to the Tuesday observance. Carnival became associated with Shrove Tuesday, in part from the Spring Equinox celebrations that were practiced by the Romans and the ancient tribes of Europe. Shrove Tuesday has a variety of customs around Europe. In England there are the annual Pancake Day Races, where contestants dress in aprons and scarves and race down a course flipping a pancake in a frying pan or skillet. In Eastern Europe, the Carnival celebrations include boisterous processions where people in large masks parade around and play jokes on bystanders. The masks (called “buso” in Hungary) are often individuals from traditional folklore. Men and women will dress as one another – I still have a fond memory of my father in my grandmother’s clothes – and engage in gendered mimicry. The day is filled with eating, drinking, fortune telling, and practical jokes.

“When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting” St. Jerome

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Ingredients
Root vegetables of choice, e.g. potato, sweet potato, carrots, squash, parsnip, suede, turnip
Olive oil and roasted pumpkin seed oil
Sea salt
Spices of choice, e.g chili flakes, pepper, garlic

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Peel the vegetables and cut them into thick, similar sized fries. In a large bowl toss the fries with oil, chili flakes, sea salt and garlic powder. Arrange evenly, not too close on a lined baking tray. Bake for about 40 minutes. About half way into baking turn them and return to oven, until the fries are golden and cooked through.

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The leftover portions of this make a delicious soup blitzed with some hot stock.

“If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do.” Hermann Hesse

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