You can’t handle the parkin, apparently

The one thing I miss about Yorkshire – apart from the popular racism, of course – is parkin. You simply cannot get it down here, and god knows Liz has tried. It’s only available in the north around bonfire night anyway, but it is the most wonderful thing. Oatmeal based, so it’s very heavy, but moist with treacle and warm with ginger. When my parents moved away and could no longer post me emergency rations I was forced into making my own. It’s pretty good, and this time of year I’m constantly in a parkin-making frenzy. I’ve already done four slabs this autumn and they’re all earmarked for other people. (Bah.)

But what should I see yesterday evening, as I bought some milk at the local Co-op? “Halloween Treacle & Ginger Loaf Cake”? Bloody HELL, it’s parkin! In the south! Of course they can’t call it parkin, nobody down here’s ever heard of it, but it’s definitely trying to be parkin. For once those tillside displays did their job and I tipped one into my basket. So what’s the verdict?

It certainly looks a lot like parkin. But it doesn’t smell so much like parkin. Flip over the packet and oatmeal is listed below rapeseed oil and water (water?!). Which probably explains why, despite the cake feeling quite weighty in the hand, the consistency is actually quite fluffy. Which is not parkin. *glower* Fluffy does not belong round a bonfire.

To be fair, the cake’s alright. It’s a bit spicy and has chunks of what I’m guessing are supposed to be ginger, looking at the ingredients, but have no taste and look like bits of mixed peel (which is a legitimate parkin addition. Here’s a real hardcore parkin recipe, but I manage to overbake it half the time so I’ve given up). But this cake is such a disappointment. It’s not even supermarket crapness either – Morrisons and the Co-op in Yorkshire do excellent parkin (I wonder whether northerners are being subjected to this “Halloween Treacle & Ginger Loaf Cake” this year? ).

This is the true north:south divide. Never mind your economic differences or your accents or whatever you call your couch / settee / sofa. It’s whether the corporate powers that be think you can handle real parkin. Because I know you can handle it, my fellow (adopted) southerners. 32 pieces went at the Londonist party last week; work colleagues come back for seconds and thirds. I dream of a world where we’re not separated by 200 miles and a parkin deficiency. Join me – join me in my fight for real parkin!


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