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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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parkin is peculiar to the north of Britain. It refers to two related types of gingerbread, containing oatmeal (a traditional staple grain in this area—see oats). Made by the melting method, with butter, beef dripping or lard, sugar, and treacle or molasses (see sugar), both were originally hearth or griddle cakes, and could be thin or thick. North of Yorkshire, the thin, biscuit, variety predominates, the Scottish term being perkins. The rarer, Scottish, thick variety is called broonie. The soft, thick, cakelike variety with a shiny, sticky surface is preferred in Yorkshire, where it seems to have become popular in the early 19th century, and from where it spread to most of its contiguous counties. In Lancashire, S. Yorkshire, and N. Derbyshire parkin was called tharf, thar, or thor cake.