Cook First World War parkin
Throughout the First World War, there was a culture of 'waste not, want not'. Waste, especially food waste, was frowned upon. There was a particular shortage of wheat flour and bread because 80% of Britain’s wheat was imported before the War, especially from North America. It became increasingly difficult to bring food into country as the War progressed because the Germans were targeting American ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1917, the Food Economy Campaign published The Win-the-War Cookery Book. It states "never for a moment forget that by saving food you are saving your country". It includes lots of recipes that do not use flour. We tried the recipe for parkin, a type of biscuit.
The Win the War Cookery Book, Food Economy Campaign (1917)
Adult supervision is required.
Ages : Suitable for all ages.
Time Required: 1 hour (including cooking time)
The quantities in this recipe are not very accurate! How big exactly is a ‘breakfast cup’?! And how much is a ‘little milk’?! Recipes today usually give exact amounts, usually in grams, of each ingredient needed. When making this recipe, you may find that you need to add more of some ingredients to make the mixture the correct consistency. For example, our mixture was too sticky, so we added extra oatbran.
Measure out two breakfast cups of coarse oatmeal or oatbran, which you’ll find in most supermarkets either with breakfast cereals or whole/health foods.
Add the ground ginger and salt, and mix together.
Add six tablespoons of butter or margarine.
Rub the butter or margarine into the dry ingredients using your fingertips.
The mixture should look like sticky breadcrumbs at this point!
In a saucepan, melt together the treacle/syrup and a little milk. Allow the syrupy mixture to cool down.
Pour the syrupy mixture onto the oatmeal and margarine and use your hands to bring it together into a firm paste. (This is the point where we had to add extra oatbran because our mixture was too sloppy to hold together.)
Roll out your mixture to approximately half a centimetre thick and cut it into biscuits using a knife. Transfer the biscuits onto a baking tray.
The recipe simply says "Bake in a slow oven"! We baked our parkin for about 30 minutes at 160°C. Your cooked parkin should be beginning to brown around the edges.
Wait until your parkin is cooled, and enjoy. It tastes really good with a cup of tea, and is a bit like flapjack (only not so sticky!!)
- 2 full breakfast cups of coarse oatmeal or oatbran
- 6 tablespoons of butter or margarine
- 1 teaspoonful of ground ginger
- 1 salt-spoonful of salt
- 6 tablespoons of treacle
- A little milk
- Oven and hob
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Rolling pin
- Cup for measuring
- Baking tray(s)
- Oven gloves
- An adult to help!