Thursday, November 5, 2009

Parkin for Guy Fawkes Night

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Tonight is Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night. It originates in the UK, and marks the anniversary of the night in 1605 when Guy Fawkes was found with several barrels of gun powder in the cellars of British Parliament to implement a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament and overthrow the government. The idea of commemorating this event is to remind people of the consequences of treason so that they are deterred from undertaking a similar course to Guy Fawkes, whose fate was to be hung, drawn and quartered.

On Bonfire Night, children burn effigies of Guy Fawkes (known as "guys") and bonfires and fireworks are lit to commemorate the event. Traditionally, jacket potatoes, toffee apples, treacle toffee and parkin (a particular form of gingerbread) are shared by revellers on Bonfire Night.

Guy Fawkes Night ceased to be celebrated in Australia some time ago when fireworks were banned because of the safety risks. My closest connection to Guy Fawkes Night is my mother's stories of enjoying fireworks with her family. However, in the spirit of the occasion, I have made parkin.
I made Dan Lepard's parkin recipe, which you can find here. I omitted the mixed citrus peel, as I didn't have any, and used oats instead of oatmeal (as that is what I had on hand). The result is a delicious, dense, gingery cake that is perfect for taking to outdoor activities on Bonfire Night.

To everyone in the UK, I hope that you have an enjoyable Bonfire Night.


Clivia said...

Fireworks are banned? For all holidays?
This lovely tangy gingerbread sounds like it would warm the stomach as well as any fire.

Cakelaw said...

Yes, banned for all holidays - and so I am not really sure what a Catherine wheel is. Professional pyrotechnic artists are licensed to have fireworks for public occasions, but as for Joe Public, we are forever banned. Thanks!

Johanna said...

I love parkin - but I always thought guy fawkes night was to celebrate a rebel rather than warning against treason - strange the things you learn on food blogs!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

That is so sad fireworks are banned. We have some rules in the US about which states can buy fireworks, but most of the time people ignore those rules. If you do not cause a ruckus most police will leave you alone. The only thing that annoys me is that in the state of NY you cannot even buy sparklers.

Now onto the parkin. It looks great! I recently learned about Guy Fawkers night from a UK blogger I read. Sounds like a blast!

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of Guy Fawkes Night and parkin. Thanks for sharing and I learnt something new today!

Anonymous said...

Interesting information! I never heard of parkin. I have heard of Guy Fawkes, but really didn't know anything about him. I love hearing about everyone else's traditions.

Jennifer said...

I just love your stories...I learn so much from you!

Happy Bonfire Night!!!!

Anita said...

The parkin sounds very nice, I've never heard of it before. Great post.

Happy cook said...

That is a pity fireworks are banned, but then i think it is also safe to let preofessionals doo.
In india every year there is some accidnet on festivals.

The Caked Crusader said...

At the risk of sounding grumpy...I wish they were banned here too! The noise is horrendous!
Grumpy moan now over

Emily said...

This little holiday sounds like FUN! It's my kind of celebration! And what could be better than baked potatoes and cake?

Brenda said...

Oooo yummy!
Thanks for the educational post :)

I remember the good old days (like when I was 6-7) when we were allowed to set off fireworks....they were so much fun....till some silly people started doing stupid things like stand so close it got their eye.....sigh.....spoiled all the fun for all the others with COMMON SENSE...sorry that's my beef for the day LOL

The Blonde Duck said...

That sounds so interesting!

Ivy said...

I still have memories of Guy Fawkes celebrations when living in London as a child (ages ago!!!). This ginger bread sounds delicious.

Pam said...

Your blog is so yummy!


adele said...

Ooh. I haven't heard of parkin before, but I love gingerbread.

I was going to make treacle toffee for Guy Fawkes Day (and bring it to my English Legal History class!), but sleep deprivation caught up with me, and I decided it was safer not to play with molten sugar.

Cakelaw said...

Hi Johanna - I Googled it!

Hi Nanny, yes, it does sound like fun.

Hi Ellie, I learn new things all the time from other food bloggers - it's great, isn't it!

Jill, so do I.

Thanks Jennifer :)

Hi Anita, I knew of it from my Mum.

Hi Happy Cook, yes, sad about the accidents.

LOL Crusader - hope you survived OK.

Agreed Em!

Hi Brenda, know what you mean - oh well.

Hi Duckie, yes, I like the story behind it.

Hi Ivy, oh to live in London again!

Thanks Pam.

Hi Adele, I thought about making treacle toffee too, but then didn't feel like dealing with the temperamental hot sugar.

Kayte said...

Oh, this is so much fun reading all this history...a gift for me! Love the looks of this and it will be fun to try it and know the association with it. Love Dan Lepard, don't you? I am making his buttermilk baps today (post them on Saturday, I think).

Anonymous said...

My name is Parkin and my birthday is November 5th, so we still hold a private Bonfire Night here in Canada (with all the nasty fireworks, parkin, and mulled wine). This year visiting Aussies and a ex-pat Brit attended, to their delight.

However, as a lawyer, I suspect you will quickly recognize that no one has ever been "hung" as a punishment (in any tense). The penalty is "hanged".