Top Gear had The Stig – a nameless chap in white who did the test drives. I have Mrs Higgs – a loyal friend, always on the end of the phone with advice, inspiration and, inevitably, her precious time when I need a recipe test driver on deadline. In preparation for this magazine, she has lost days of her life slaving over liver and mushroom stroganoff (three variants before she was satisfied), mulled cider (four alternatives, but then she gets thirsty…) and – the reason for this column – Yorkshire parkin.
When I asked her to test some parkin recipes, Mrs Higgs revealed she’d never actually had it. When I’d got up off the floor to which I’d dropped in horror, this set me thinking. I can’t remember the last time I made parkin, yet my mother made it weekly. Mrs Higgs claimed she had never made or eaten it because (poor wretch) she is from the south of England, where they have no use for such pleasures (I know, weird). Clearly, this is no excuse because my mother’s parkin was the best I’ve ever had, and she was from the Midlands. Mind, her Yorkshire pudding was also a work of genius, but I digress. Having been forced to accept that “being from the south” is no excuse when I am on deadline and I need a talented sous chef, Mrs H set about the task with the aid of Mr H, who is from Lancashire, where they like to think they know a bit about such matters.
Following much experimentation, he
not only declared a winning recipe (my mother’s, so it happens),
he set to work photographing it for our benefit (see above left). And that, dear reader, is what you call a team effort. So, bravo for Mrs Higgs for her culinary skill, her husband for his work as chief taster and photographer,
and my dear mama for her parkin recipe, which, should the fancy take you, you will find on page 44. Enjoy!
Appetite #46 – November 2017
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