This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Pancake. " But if the pancake is an honored institution with us, it is much more so en the Continent. There, across the 'silverstreak,' but more especially in the Latin countries, the crepe is adored for itself and as a symbol. It is the crowning, the full essence, of the joyous, rackety carnival week. The happy and harmless saturnalia culminates in a grand Mardi Gras and universal pancake tossing. Children, both big and small, as the day draws to a close, give way to their pent-up feelings in song:
' Mardi Gras ne t'en vas pas, Nous ferons des crfipes, Nous ferons des crepes! Mardi Gras ne t'en vas pas, Nous ferons des crepes, Ettu en auras!'
They do so, too. Why, every house in France, let the menagere be never so stingy on other occasions, always has ready a good supply of batter, eggs, lard or butter, to say nothing of sugar and lemons. And then, as the night steals gently on, what a to-do there is! frying everywhere; housewives and willing aids tossing the brown curling morsels with wondrous energy and happy knack, to the tune of a ver-icable hurricane of merry laughter. In Southern Germany the calm ladies also toss pancakes for their stolid housefolk and invited guests. As for the Italian pancake, it is not what it ought to be. It is too thick and heavy, and liberally supplied with eggs, deficient in crispness, and is generally fried in oil. The Provencal pancake is light and good, but flavored with orange-flower water, and fried in a very little thoroughly boiling oil. On some parts of the Ligurian coast finely-minced beta (a green, leafy vegetable, somewhat resembling spinach) is mixed in the batter. In Spain, ripe-pickled olives (purple-brown and full of oil) are sliced and mixed with the paste; they are fried in olive-oil. Both these are eaten as sweet dishes, in spite of the, to us, unusual ingredients." (See Pancakes).