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Happy Carnival, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Shrovetide or even Pancake Tuesday to some! We are celebrating here in Germany the coming of the Lenten fasting period, which starts tomorrow (Ash Wednesday), with an extended weekend of dressing up, parties, parades and of course lots of rich and tasty food. Anna, Thomas and I attended the last big parade here in our area in Cologne, Dellbrück today and it was quite a spectacle  to see. The main street was completely blocked from all cars and people were pouring out onto the streets in every type of costume and face painted extravaganza imaginable. There were clowns and cows, Native American Indians, Vikings and Romans, bees and little lady bugs, bears and giants, you name it, we saw it, and of course there was my little Pipi Longstocking.

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I posted photos from the carnival parade here, so you can get an idea of all the excitement, mayhem and merriment that there was today as the beginning of the 40 day and 40 night Lenten season is upon us. We brought cloth bags with us to the parade today and screamed out “Kamelle” and “Stüßje” to those passing by us on the floats and the many who marched by us on foot until our voices weakened and were drowned out by all the others who were shouting out for candy and flowers in the surrounding crowd.

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We had lots of fun filling our sacks with candy, toys, tulips and roses and Anna came home with a full bag of goodies, a helium horse balloon tied to her wrist and an over-sized, giant, green foam hand that points (Oh Joy).

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I’m looking forward to the coming of Lent and on more reflection into our daily lives, eating simpler and leaner meals, giving up dessert (in my case), and spending more time together as a family. I hope you had a fabulous Fat Tuesday and a happy Karneval season for 2014!

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German Pancakes

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In a large bowl whisk together 1 egg, about half a cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar per person/pancake. Whisk in flour until the batter is the consistency of honey and pour the dough onto a hot frying pan coated in butter. When the batter starts to firm up in the pan and you can lift the side of the pancake up easily flip it and cook on the other side until browned. Serve with cut up fruit, fruit preserves or jam, applesauce, brown sugar and/or butter. If you prefer a savory pancake omit the sugar in the batter and serve with cheese, meats, cooked vegetables or anything you want. Enjoy!

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