History of Collop Monday
History of World Cuisines
Many people around the world have heard of Shrove Tuesday otherwise known as
pancake day, mardi gras or fat Tuesday. However today, Collop Monday is much
less known about, let alone observed.
Collops are slices of meat. Although there is some debate as to where the name
originated many believe it to come from the Swedish word kallops, rather
than from the French word escalope. In England by the Elizabethan era,
the name collops referred specifically to slices of bacon.
Collop Monday is a moveable date but is always the Monday before Shrove Tuesday
and although it's not clear exactly when it came into being, it was probably
devised by Christians during the Medieval period.
Also known as Shrove Monday, it was traditionally the last day to cook and eat
meat before Lent. It has to be remembered that there was no refrigeration, so it
is likely that the only meat available at that time of year would be smoked or
salted - usually bacon or ham.
The tradition was established that on Collop Monday the bacon would be fried and
served with eggs, usually for breakfast - much like today's traditional English
Breakfast though the slices of bacon were probably thicker - then the fat remaining in the pan
from the frying would then be used the next day - Shrove Tuesday - to make the