We hope to have a flipping great day

Sean O’Sullivan, Dragon’s Den

Will you make pancakes today?

The term, Pancake Tuesday, is entirely alien to me. In the US, we called it Fat Tuesday. People fatten up before Lent — the last splurge. I have no childhood recollection of Shrove Tuesday. We didn’t make pancakes.

Any childhood memories of Lent?

There was always some new commitment to make. Lent was about self-discipline — mostly trying to have more discipline doing homework. Mom was very focused on making sure everyone was moving ahead at school. As I got older, I’d give up alcohol for Lent. It was a kind of mini-resolution — you’d have your New Year resolution but it was so much easier to keep a resolution for 40 days.

Do you observe Lent today?

I usually try. Over the last few years I’ve given up some fairly major things — alcohol and coffee. These are things I’d typically give up for Lent so my Lenten resolution will be to exercise four days a week. I relate Lent to the religious themes of sacrifice, clarity and cleansing of the soul. Studies on fasting show it benefits us mentally, helping us keep our edge as we age.

John Spillane, musician

Will you make pancakes today?

My wife or I will make them – some years we’ve let it slip. I have great memories of Pancake Tuesday. It was always a brilliant surprise. My mother would make loads of pancakes with sugar and lemon — we never thought there was any other kind. It was the only time we had lemon in the house. My brother and I got the recipe when I was about 14. If something so wonderful could be done on Shrove Tuesday, couldn’t it be done anytime? We went on quite a craze where we binged on pancakes.

Any childhood memories of Lent?

We’d give up things — well, we did and we didn’t. A lot of messing went on. The real giving up only ever happened once or twice.

Do you observe Lent today?

I don’t. I’m a very lapsed Catholic. Sometimes, walking through town on Ash Wednesday, I see all these fellows with ashes on their foreheads — the Church still has some power. It’s a reminder of the old days. Fasting’s probably a good thing but to each their own. I find religion scary and dangerous.

Sinead Kennedy, TV presenter

Will you make pancakes today?

Absolutely. Growing up, pancakes were part of our staple diet — Mom made them every weekend so it wasn’t a special treat on Pancake Tuesday. On that day, it just meant we were able to have pancakes instead of dinner. I like them smeared in chocolate, with sugar and butter, no lemon.

Any childhood memories of Lent?

It was quite a big deal around my First Communion — what were you going to give up? It was always sweets. I never kept up Lent though — there was never a hope. You had to pretend.

Do you observe Lent today?

Not at all. I always say I will, that I’ll watch my language or won’t bite my nails, but it’s like new year’s resolutions — you have the best of intentions but never follow through. I have friends who observe Lent. It’s a good excuse for sorting out your diet or cutting out sugar — that it’s only 40 days helps psychologically.

Sean Rocks, radio broadcaster

Will you make pancakes today?

Definitely — with butter, lemon and sugar. I don’t understand why you’d use anything else. Chocolate Nutella! What’s that about? I hated butter as a child — I only ate it on pancakes.

As a child, I’d be sent to the neighbours for the special pancake sieve. There was only one on our street. You’d come in from school and ask, ‘Are we having pancakes?’ My mother would tell us to go into Mrs McElvaney, next door, for the sieve. Mrs McElvaney would say ‘Oh, we’ve just finished with it — it’s gone to Mrs Corrigan’. We’d be sent around the entire street and never get it. We’d go home and my mam would say ‘Oh, we got it while you were out’. To this day, I don’t know whether it was the street’s way of having fun or my mother’s delaying tactic, knowing the sooner she made the pancakes the more we’d eat.

Any childhood memories of Lent?

Getting up as a family to go to early Mass and going off sweets.

Do you observe Lent today?

I have more of a self-denial thing in November. I know I’m going to be having a really nice December, so in November I cut back a little on the vino and hold a few bottles for Christmas.

* Sean Rocks presents Arena, RTÉ Radio 1’s arts/entertainment show (weeknights 7pm–8pm)

Neven Maguire, chef

Will you make pancakes today?

Definitely. This year I’ll make them for my wee twins too. I use a simple pancake batter, vanilla pod and lemon zest. I often make savoury pancakes for my wife Amelda. As a child, we’d get off the school bus and my mother would have the pancakes ready — these thin crepes with loads of icing sugar and butter.

Any childhood memories of Lent?

I always went off sweets. My twin brother and I would get a big box and we’d collect Maltesers, toffees, jellies. We’d keep a big stash for St Patrick’s Day.

Do you observe Lent today?

I do. It’s good to give up something – I still try to give up sweet stuff. During Lent, I get to Mass more regularly. I’m proud to say I have great faith.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Related Articles

Irish Examiner' />Majority claim to be physically active

Third of us fail to eat right food portion size

Stack of pancake parties to whip up funds for charity

Cracking day for a pancake

More in this Section

The menu: Enjoy! Food You’ll Love by Sheila Kiely

The Menu: Food for the future

The menu: Fundraiser BBQ at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa

The menu: Start-up stalls in the English Market, Cork

You might also like


Memories of Jewtown in Cork recalled in poetry collection

Turn off your phone and go to sleep early tonight - you'll thank yourself tomorrow

MAKING CENTS: Plan ahead before you submit housing plans

Recalling the life of Eileen Gray - the Irish mother of Modernism

More From The Irish Examiner