Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yorkshire Parkin.

Yorkshire Parkin is a well-known north country variation of gingerbread made with oatmeal. There are a myriad variations on this theme, and one is in the Gingerbread Archive. This is another, with a strange name. A ‘moggie’, according to the OED originally meant “a young girl’, then it progressed to mean “an untidily dressed woman” then a “non-pedigree” cat. The latter is certainly the usage here in Australia.

I have no idea why it would be given to a cake. It is a rough, peasant, mongrel sort of cake I guess.

The ‘parkin’ is definitely mysterious, even the OED says so. It suggests (with a slight note of desperation) that it might be related to the surname Perkin or Parkin (“earlier also a forename”). The first usage listed by the OED is by Dorothy Wordsworth (sister of the poet William) in 1800, whose journal is scattered with references to her domestic routine. I like it that this early reference to parkin is from a poetical family. I do not doubt that the cake was in existence for a very very long time before Dorothy wrote of it, and would love for someone to come up with earlier references.

From the same source as yesterday:

Yorkshire “Moggie”
2 breakfast cups flour,
¾ breakfast cup sugar
3 tablespoonfuls treacle,
2 teaspoonfuls ginger,
1 teaspoonful carbonate of soda,
3 oz lard.
Mix dry ingredients together, put in treacle and lard, and melt. Mix soda in a tablespoonful of milk. Mix with milk, and bake in a slow oven.

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