Parkin is a traditional ginger cake that North Britons have enjoyed since the 18th century. However, the cake may have links to colonialism and the slave trade due to its ingredients.
The Black Lives Matter movement that swept across the nation last year after the tragic death of George Floyd has prompted Leeds City Council to investigate the real story behind the beloved cake in order to educate the younger generation.
“Our work will aim to reflect these issues, looking at them from a contemporary perspective with the aim of telling their full story,” Leeds City Council told The Telegraph.
“Historically, some of the ingredients used to make these ‘local’ products were obtained through the triangular slave trade (eg sugar).”
Parkin will be examined along with other favorite local products like Yorkshire tea, which may have links to colonialism.
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The aim is to examine “how local products such as Yorkshire Parkin and Yorkshire Tea actually depend on global trade”.
The results will be used to educate primary school students in the region.
The council explained that its goal is to educate students that while these products are household favorites, some of the ingredients containing “would have come from all over the empire and would have involved the work of enslaved people as well as the exploitation of resources and communities. around the world”.
Parkin is a gingerbread cake traditionally made with oatmeal and black molasses and typically made for fall and winter celebrations like Guy Fawkes Night.
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It is always popular on Bonfire Night.
An important ingredient in the cake is ginger. The spice only spread to England due to European trade and colonial expansion.
The black molasses would most likely have been made with sugar imported from British sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean.
Yorkshire tea is also under review, as while many prefer the drink with sugar that has colonial ties, it’s not the only thing worth considering.
The tea plants were cultivated in the British imperial colonies and imported to England.