Why Parkin is part of Bonfire Night tradition in Yorkshire
In Yorkshire, Parkin is as much a part of Bonfire Night as sparklers, toffee apples and hoping that the rain stays away. It’s a real warm, cosy scarf of a cake, deliciously sticky and with a fiery ginger kick.
Like bonfires themselves, the tradition of eating Parkin here at this time of year is much older than the Gunpowder Plot. The origins are unclear – they could be pagan or linked to All Saints’ Day – but for centuries it’s been enjoyed at the start of November, usually on ‘Parkin Sunday’.
We have the brisk Yorkshire climate that favours oats over wheat to thank for parkin. The first mention of it by name can be found in court records from 1728, where one Anne Whittaker was accused of stealing oatmeal to make it. From simple unleavened Anglo-Saxon 'theorf' or 'tharf' cakes cooked on a griddle, over time the recipe has been sweetened and spiced to become the treat we know today.
We can’t claim that Parkin is exclusively a Yorkshire creation, as it’s also popular in Lancashire. However, without wanting to start a dispute with our neighbours, to us the recipe used on the other side of the Pennines has something vital missing – the sticky black treacle that makes our Yorkshire Parkin so wonderfully moist and comforting on dark November evenings.
Buy your Yorkshire Parkin online for delivery to your door