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Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras. Pancake Tuesday. All names for a single day preceding Ash Wednesday. In the past, it was a time to use up all the rich foods in the larder--the eggs and cream for example--as the period of fasting would start the next day.

I love pancakes and was greatly looking forward to them--hot and fluffy, covered with melting butter and a flood of maple syrup. Is your mouth watering? Mine is. Then I looked at my calendar. An appointment at the clinic for blood work and--why did I schedule this?-- tests that have to be done fasting.

So I'll get my start on the period of self denial a day early.... Enjoy your pancakes, everyone!