Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Welcome to the 6th Annual CafeAnonsBall!

Once again - if it's Shrove Tuesday then you know it's time again for all of us at the cafe to celebrate our "CafeAnons" - all of you who drop by, drop in, and drop out of the cafe all year long and we never learn your name. 

We know that today we're not the only ones celebrating, either, and we'll check on our friends down in The Big Easy and see how they are doing!  You can check in on them here.

This is our 6th year celebrating all ya'all who hang out and sometimes wipe out while spooning up the pudding and dodging flying pies.  And we know that we have had a few pies flying this year!

Here are links to the CafeAnonsBalls from the last four years:
So pull up a chair and find your favorite table and let's celebrate that you are welcome - those we know and those we don't know - or don't know that we do know!  You know - and of course, so does Someone Else, something perhaps wise to keep in mind!


Ever wonder how Shrove Tuesday got started? Here's a short history:

For centuries, the English have celebrated Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, with merriment and antics and, especially, great quantities of pancakes. In fact, the fried flat cakes became so important to the holiday that is has also been called Pancake Day, or Pancake Tuesday.

Long ago, strict Christian Lenten rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products, so keen housewives made pancakes to use up their supplies of eggs, milk, butter and other fats. They could be easily made and cooked in a skillet or on a griddle. Families ate stacks of them, and pancakes were popular with all classes.

The rich Shrovetide pancakes were eaten as a ritual or symbol of self-indulgence before the fast. Early English recipes called for wheaten flour, eggs, butter or lard, a liquid (water, milk, ale or wine) and flavorings such as white or brown sugar, spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger), orange flower water, scented sugars or liqueurs.

The pancakes were fried in butter or fat and served flat or rolled and sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with preserves or doused with alcohol. A special pancake, called a quire or pancake of paper, was made very thin and usually stacked. It was likened to a quire of "wafers" or writing paper.

Even the church bells that rang early on Shrove Tuesday morning summoning everyone to confession and to be "shriven" became known as Pancake Bells. They also reminded all to use up the "forbidden foods" before Lent. An old London rhyme went "Pancakes and fritters, say the bells on St. Peter's."

Now we know!


This being a CafeAnonsBall - we might need a refresher on exactly how to dance without stepping on everyone's toes (this might have been helpful to know earlier, eh Anons?).  Here's a short refresher - test on Friday:

Yes, it is Pancake Day, a food that's yummy and when thrown harmless - perfect for our CafeAnons!

Pancakes are being whipped up in the cafe kitchen as we speak and will be served hot with butter and syrup, your choices of fruits and garnish and chocolate bits for the IHOP fans amongst us.

Feeling inclined to whip up your own pancakes - well here's a lovely recipe that was a hit at the Cafe a few years ago:

Bette's Oceanview Diner, 1807 Fourth St. (between Virginia Street and Hearst Avenue), Berkeley, CA; (510) 644-3230. Open daily for breakfast and lunch.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Choice of berries, sliced bananas, raisins or chopped toasted nuts (optional)
Oil for griddle
The ingredients. The baking powder, baking soda and buttermilk work together to make these the lightest pancakes possible. -- Stirring the batter. The batter begins to react the minute the wet ingredients are added. Stir quickly and don't overstir; there should still be lumps in the batter.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Lightly beat the eggs with the buttermilk, milk and melted butter.

Just before you are ready to make the pancakes, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once, stirring just long enough to blend. The batter should be slightly lumpy. If you want to add fruit or nuts, stir them in now, or you may sprinkle them on the pancakes while they are on the griddle. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat (375 degrees on an electric griddle). Pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto the griddle or skillet, spacing the pancakes apart so they do not run together.

When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes and the undersides are lightly browned, turn and cook for about 2 minutes longer, until lightly browned on the bottom.

Serve immediately on warmed plates with the topping of your choice. YUM!

Ready for some tunes - here are some classics from our First Annual CafeAnonsBall:

And now let's get things going with a special dedication to all our CafeAnons - this one's for you:

Here is another dedication - this one goes out to all our friends at Church of the Apostles, Fairfax, as they say farewell this week to their church home on Pickett Road. Love you all!

We've probably set a record this year with the number of Anons dropping into the Cafe this past year. Sometimes the postings are insightful and heartfelt, and sometimes Anons find themselves hurling through the front door. But today we celebrate them all, though we know it's not without drama. This ones for you all, a tune to play as you post:

This one is from a great friend of Truro, Matt Maher - a great tune and a prayer for a time such as this.

Need inspiration? Time to return to Middle Earth:


Okay time to check in on the gang down celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans:

Live shot from the EarthCam in New Orleans.

So it's getting late which means it's time to pull out a Dylan tune. How about this one - left off of Mercy Me, it's one of my all-time favorite Dylan songs.

This morning I was driving to Truro for the Tuesday Morning Alpha Course and this song came to mind - feeling sad that we all may be leaving our church homes very soon, but still knowing that what we really have will be strengthened, the church family that, God willing, will grow and blossom where ever we may be planted. To God be the glory.

So it's true - we may not know our CafeAnons by name - but know that since God knows your name, we will count you as friends. This has been an amazing six years and the cafe is not just one person, but all of you over the years who have dropped by, pulled up a chair, ordered a pie and shared your heart, your frustrations, your dreams with others here. At the end day, behind every post is a real human being, a real person and even though indeed we may not know your name - it is true, God does. And I pray that He will bless you, that you will know that He loves us through the best and the worst of times, and we have hope not because we are so right, but because He is so good. Nothing escapes His attention, no nothing, not even in these thin hours - He is alive and He is at work and the power of His love will shine into the darkest places. I thank God for each of you. God bless you.


Anam Cara said...

Note re:
"Long ago, strict Lenten rules prohibited the eating f all dairy products, so keen housewives made pancakes to use up their supplies of eggs, milk, butter, and other fats."

These "rules" are still practiced by Orthodox Christians today. The teachings seem a little complicated, but can be learned quite easily. You can find things about that here:
and here:

For us Great Lent starts next Monday. So while we have already given up meat as of last Sunday, we don't go into the full fast of also abstaining from dairy until next Monday, also called "Clean Monday."

I'm having our home group over for pancakes tonight. Stop by if you get a chance!

Unknown said...

YAY!! :)

DavidH said...

BB, I appreciate the blog. We share some pop culture interests, if not always views on other matters. (Sometimes I post as anon, sometimes with my handle, so hopefully I qualify to join the ball.)

I was surprised to read in this entry that Apostles is saying goodbye to the Pickett Road property this week. Are there more details somewhere?

Anonymous said...


They were generously offered space by Whole Word Fellowship in Oakton. No point in dragging things out.

Anonymous said...

I showed up for the ball this year, fully expecting a warm welcome and a good time. Instead, I found the hall empty and no one around to hob-nob with. I had a solitary drink and slunk off into the night.