Traditional Foods of Fawkes Day Celebration
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Bonfire Toffee Bonfire Toffee Apples Barbados! Conkies For Nov. 5 Celebrations Guy Fawkes Punch Center forFawkesian Pursuits: Behold the Pudding
Yorkshire Parkin About Cakes Thor Cake Center Pit Cooking

Bonfire Toffee (1 3/4 Pounds) 


1lb Demerara Sugar
1/4 Pint water
1/4 level teaspoon cream of tartar
3 Oz Butter
4 oz. Black Treacle
4oz. Golden Syrup
Walnut Halfs- Optional 


Brush a large shallow tin with a little melted butter and set aside. Dissolve sugar in water in a large heavy based saucepan over a low heat stirring occasionally. Use the largest saucepan you have for making the toffee as this will help prevent the toffee boiling over. Add remaining ingredients and continue heating gently until everything is mixed and sugar has completely dissolved. Increase heat and boil mixture rapidly until temperature reaches 270 degrees F. or soft crack stage When dropped into cold water the mixture separates into threads which become hard but not brittle. Remove from heat and pour into prepared tin. Cool for 5-10 minutes, then mark into squares and, if desired, put a walnut half in the middle of each square. We prepare aluminum foil trays with a layer of crushed walnuts sprinkled with vanilla and cinnamon. One tray for the melted sugar mixture and one tray to rapidly pour over that once the sugar mixture is poured out. We mix the sugar mixture with the walnuts in the tray then turn on to colded griddle and cut into small pieces. We then roll these into balls and place into powdered sugar first in a bowl then slightly re-forming before putting into a ziplock bag for rapid cooking in the freezer. Leave until completely cold and set then remove squares of toffee from tin and store in an airtight container. 

Bonfire Toffee Apples (10)


10 small crisp eating apples
10 wooden sticks
12 oz soft brown sugar
1/4 pint water
2 oz butter
4 oz golden syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice 


Remove stalks from apples and wash and dry them. Push a wooden stick into each one. Butter a baking tray or greaseproof paper. To make toffee, put sugar and water into a heavy based saucepan and heat gently until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Have a bowl of cold water and a brush beside you to wash down any sugar granules which may stick to the sides of the pan as you stir. When all sugar is dissolved add butter golden syrup and lemon juice and stir until well blended. Increase heat and boil rapidly without stirring until toffee reaches a temperature of 290 degrees F or soft crack stage. (see above) Remove from heat and allow bubbles to subside. Dip apples one at a time into toffee making sure that they are completely covered. Twirl around for a few seconds to allow excess toffee to drip off then plunge into a bowl of cold water. remove and stand on prepared baking sheet or greaseproof paper. If toffee begins to harden before all apples have been dipped warm over a very low heat until liquid again. Toffee apples may be stored wrapped individually in greaseproof or waxed paper but keep them in a dry place. 

Guy Fawkes Punch (serves 10-12)


2 tablespoons brandy
1 15 oz can apricot halves sliced
2pt. red wine
3 tablespoons port
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1/2 pt water
1 cinnamon stick 
12 cloves 


Mix together brandy, sliced apricots and apricot juice. Put wine port, sherry,cinnamon and cloves into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. Add brandy and fruit mixture and serve steaming hot. 

Yorkshire Parkin (12 Pieces)


8 oz wholemeal or plain flour
1/2 level teaspoon salt
1-2 level teaspoons ground ginger
1 level teaspoon ground mace
1 level teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 oz medium oatmeal
1 oz. soft dark brown sugar
4 oz. black treacle
4 oz. golden syrup
2 oz. margarine
2 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
8 fl oz warm milk
1 egg lightly beaten
4 oz seedless raisins (optional) 


Pre set oven at 325 F. Sift flour salt and spices together into a mixing bowl. Stir in oatmeal and sugar. Gently melt treacle golden syrup and margarine over a low heat. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in melted ingredients.Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in warmed milk and add to mixture with lightly beaten egg. Add raisins. Mix to a soft batter and pour into a lined greased meat tin about 8X10 inches. Bake in pre heated oven for 40 minutes. When cooked parking should be an even brown color and have shrunk away slightly from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool on a wire rack. If possible keep parkin in an airtight tin for at least a week before serving. (Originally it would have been put in special wooden parkin boxes)My name is Jason and I am originally from Bradford, in Yorkshire. On Nov 5th we eat parkin pigs - a type of ginger biscuit thing in the shape of a pig. I'm 31 and have known about these things and eaten them
all my life. They are still widely available around bonfire night in Bradford.

Trouble is, why the hell it is in the shape of a pig I don't know. It might be because Bradford's emblem is a wild boar. I've no idea. I'd love to know though.


About Cakes Made for Guy Fawkes day:

Several kinds of cakes have been made for and eaten on the 5th of November. Two of them are similar their essential ingredients being oatmeal butter and treacle but ginger baking powder and other modern additions have been made. However, they are of the same type one is called Parkin and is made especially in the West Riding, being so popular that, at Leeds and many other places the fifth of November is called Parkin day, the other cake is called Thar or Tharf cake and is made in South Yorkshire, Lancashire ,and Derbyshire. The Tharf or Thar cake is generally made for November the 5th and local authorities suggest that this date coincides with an old feast held in honor of the Scandinavian god Thor. (Yorkshire) Parkin bread consisting of oatmeal and treacle customarily made for the fifth of November is called also treacle Parkin. Parkin was supplied at tea to schoolboys in York in 1860. Parkins are still made at York on and for November the 5th. 
(Derbyshire) It was usual to save money for making tharf cakes. People would subscribe so much each, say a halfpenny a week towards a fund for making these cakes. The cakes were eaten in November, first at one mans house and the next year at another man's house. Thus neighbors in their turn held a little yearly feast. The entertainments were called tharf cake joinings. At the thar cake or tharf cake joinings at Hathersage, it was customary to keep a bit of the cake from one November to the next. 
At Bradwell, on the 5th of November they made a quantity of thar cake called tharf cake. In South Yorkshire and divide it among the different members of the family: father, mother, brothers and sisters. This is called a thar cake joining. One Bradwell man will say to another. "Have you joined yet?" meaning, "Have you made your thar cake?" Another informant told me that a thar cake join was a kind of feast among children and used to be very common in Bradwell on the 5th of November. The children asked somebody to make the cake and each of them paid his or her proportion towards the cost of the ingredients, meal and treacle. They had coffee with the cake. The Primitive Methodists in Bradwell have now what they call a thar cake supper it is held on the Saturday nearest to the fifth of November. 
A member of the Fishmongers Company told me that the Court of Assistants receive annually on the fifth of November a case of sponge cakes and thinks that if the custom could be traced back to its origin the cakes would be found to be the old soul cakes. 
Some fifty years ago it was a custom at Ramsgate to eat certain specially made cakes on November the 5th. They were like muffins in size and shape and were cut open for the reception of some treacle. 
From- Calendar Customs, p.151, by A.R. Wright, edited by T.E. Lones, England. Vol III Fixed Festivals, Folk-Lore Society, London,William Glaisher,1940. 


1lb Oatmeal 
1tsp Salt 
1lb Plain Flour 
1tsp Ginger 
1lb Sugar 
2oz Candied Peel 
2tsp Baking Powder 
12oz Butter 
1tsp Coriander Seeds 
1lb Treacle 

Mix up all the ingredients until a well mixed dough, squash the mix into thick round biscuits and bake in a moderate oven until golden. You can use biscuit cutters

( 'Thor' is the Anglo-Saxon 'theorf' or 'tharf' meaning unleaved)


From Miss Berrry of Lodham, Lancashire. To be made fore, and eaten on, November 5th Perhaps derived from the god Thor.


  • 2lbs finely ground flour
  • 2 tabvle-spoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 oz. ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 oz.Candied peel , cut fine
  • 1 oz sweet almonds chopped.
  • Kiel butter 5 oz
  • Milk 1 teacup full


Rub the ingredients well together, and then mix with a teacupful of milk and as much Scotch treacle as will make it lightly stiff. Bake in a greased tin in a slow oven. Old folks would use nothing but oatmeal, butter and treacle.-Source-C.J. Tabor Folk-Lore,Vol. XIX, 1908.,p.337-339


At the December meeting (1905)  I exhibited a so-called Thar Cake, a species of Parkin, that a Lancashire lady had sent me.  The exhibit elicited a deal of correspondence, and I now beg to communicate, what I consider to be, the most important facts I have been able to collect.

The lady (Miss Berry of Oldham, Lancashire), who sent me the cake confirms what she previously stated, viz., that the cake is generally mad for, and eaten on, November 5th.  According to local authorities this date coincides with an old feast in honour of the Scandanavian God Thor; for this something may be said (seq.) The same kind of cake is made in Yorkshire, but is called York Parken.

Mrs. Gomme suggested I should publish the recipe-Voila!! (see above)

Mr. H Jewitt quoting from Dr. tille's Yule-tide and Christmas" (Nutt) says, "it (Yule-tide) originally extended from mid- November to mid-January, and amongst the Goths of the sixth century covered November and December, "but that "The Anglo-Saxons of the seventh century celebrated Decembedr and January as the festal months. " The Scandinavian Yule festival was a product of the ninth century, and circa 950 King Hakon ordered the celebration to be on the same day as the Christian Nativity festival." Mr. Jewitt thinks that the influence of the Celtic feast of the Winter nights-November five- being strong in Lancashire and Yorkshire, may have stereotyped an earlier obser5vance of the Yule-tide feast of the conquering northern race, although the name of Yule was transferred to the accepted date of the Nativity, I think , speaking philologically, threr is some warrant for this later theory.


Mr. S. J. Heathcote quotes Edwin Waugh, the Lancashire poet, as mentioning Thar Cake, and adds there are very many Scandinavian place-names in the County Palatine. Brand (Antiquities, Vol. ii. p. 585) refers to Tharf Cake, and says it is used by Langland (Piers Plowman) to signify unleavened bread. Philologically the origin of the word is as follows:


Halliwell's  Dictionary of Archaic Words, 2 vols., 1865, gives: Thurd Cake, a thin circular cake of considerable size, made of undermented dough, chiefly of rye and barley, rolled very thin and baked hard.  The word appears to be a acorruption of "tharf" unleavened. Thar or Thor Cake-Derby, fth Novermber Cake.

Parkin, a cake made chiefly of treacle and oatmeal-North Of England.

Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, vol. vi. p. 75. Thar-cake, short for Tharf-cake.

(1) An unleavened cake of flour or meal, mixed with milk or water, rolled out thin and baked.

(2) A kind of cake of oatmeal, butter, and treacle.

Used in West Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derby, Cumberland and Durham.

Professor Skeat writes me:" The Middle English form is therf-cake, and thus occurs in Piers Plowman.  The A.S. for theref is theorf (very common), Old Norse Pjarfr (thiarf-r), Old High German derb, all meaning unleavened." It would therefore seem as though the cake itself was of Anglo-Saxon or possibly Gothic origin but, unless on the lines suggested by Dr. Tille, it is difficult to say why it should be so closely associated with the early days of November, although if there be allowed us an explanation of origins, then the practice of eating a fancy cake on one particular day in November in connection with feasting held on account of some national festival-such as the discovery of the gunpowder plot-may have developed from it.  Should such a conjecture be correct, there would be nothing novel in it to folklorists, as they are constantly finding Christian festivals synchronizing with older heathen observances on which they have been engrafted.--Source-C.J. Tabor Folk-Lore,Vol. XIX, 1908.,p.337-339

Recipe for Conkies

It is traditional in Barbados for housewives to make conkies on Guy Fawkes Day. (November 5th.) - although the origin of the custom is unknown. Conkie is probably a corruption of the
West African word "kenky" used up the present day, for similarly prepared corn meal dishes. As with tamales in the absence of plant wrappers you can make in a bowl steamed like a pudding.


3 cups grated coconut (1 large)
2 cups fresh corn flour
4 oz raisins (optional)
6 oz shortening
1/2 cup flour
3/4 lb brown sugar
3/4 lb pumpkin
1/2 lb sweet potato
1 cup milk
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp almond essence
1 tsp salt


1.Grate coconut, pumpkin and sweet potato.
2.Mix in sugar, liquids and spices.
3.Add raisins and flour last and combine well.
4.Melt shortening before adding with milk, etc.
5.Fold a few tablespoons of the mixture in steamed plantain leaves.
6.Cut in squares about 8 inches wide.
7.Steam conkies on a rack over boiling water in a large pot or in a steamer until they are firm and cooked.


Wax paper will work instead of banana or plantain leaves


Christmas Plum Pudding : Behold the Pudding

For a good long time now....the Center for Fawkesian pursuits has celebrated the pudding! Why? Because, of course, you can burn it. Warm brandy put over pudding and light.

We first read from the Dicken's Christmas carol of how Mrs. Cratchet worried about how the pudding would be unmoulded. Then all gather to see how our large pudding comes out. It is unmoulded onto a silver platter. All gather and move through the kitchen  to the back door. Leader holds pudding up and shouts "Behold the Pudding".

Next we go down the steps toward yard passing holly bush. Leader grabs sprig of Holly and inserts into pudding. Shouts: "Behold the Pudding Bedeck with Holly"

Down the steps into the back fire. Brandy warming. Brandy poured over pudding and lit. Shouted=behold the pudding bedeck with fire.

What shall we do with it....BURN IT!

The assembled crowd joins in the shouting at each step.

The Buckeye Cookbook: Traditional American Recipes, Minneapolis, 1883.

One quart seeded raisins, pint currants, half pint citron cut up, quart of apples peeled and chopped, a quart of fresh
and nicely chopped beef-suet, a quart of sweet milk, a heaping quart of stale bread-crumbs, eight eggs beaten separately,
pint sugar, grated nutmeg, tea-spoon salt; flour fruit thoroughly from a quart of flour, then mix remainder as follows: In a large
bowl or tray put the eggs with sugar, nutmeg and milk, stir in the fruit, bread-crumbs, and suet, one after the other until all
are used, adding enough flour to make the fruit stick together, which will take about all the quart; dip pudding-cloth in boiling
water, dredge on inside a thick coating of flour, put in pudding and tie tightly, allowing room to swell, and boil from two to
three hours in a good sized pot with plenty of hot water, replenishing as needed from tea-kettle. When done, turn in a large
flat dish and send to table with a sprig of holly, or any bit of evergreen with bright berries, stuck to the top. Serve with any
pudding-sauce. This recipe furnishes enough for twenty people, but if the family is small, one-half the quantity may be
prepared, or it is equally good warmed over by steaming.

For sauce, cream a half pound sweet butter, stir in three-quarters pound brown sugar, and the beaten yolk of an egg;
simmer for a few moments over a slow fire, stirring almost constantly; when near boiling add half pint bottled grape-juice, and
serve after grating a little nutmeg on the surface.


How do you celebrate Guy Fawkes Day? Let us know!
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