[Sca-cooks] mysterious query

Huette von Ahrens ahrenshav at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 24 07:56:30 PST 2007

--- Devra at aol.com wrote:

> Dear Folks, sorry. I was trying to forward a query from Ruth Berman about  
> the age or historicity or earliest date of the word 'parliament' as a sweet, and 
>  managed to loose the original message from her, as well as send you an empty 
>  forward. *sigh* She was talking about the word showing up in the novel 
> 'Lorna  Doone' and also in Conan Doyle.  Something about  a kid buying  'parliament 
> and dumps' for his friends. (And now I've lost the printed copy too.  just 
> not my day.)
>     Devra

8. Short for parliament cake, sense 9. Now rare (in later use hist.). 

1812 H. SMITH & J. SMITH Rejected Addr. 52 Crisp parliament with lollypops, And fingers of 
the Lady. 1828 D. M. MOIR Life Mansie Wauch iii. 30 As for the ginger-bread, I shall not 
attempt a description... Roundabouts, and snaps,..and parliaments. 1848 THACKERAY Vanity 
Fair xxxviii. 343 Gorging the boy with apples and parliament. 1881 Proc. Geogr. Soc. 3 515 
They [sc. the walls] look exactly as if they were made of the sort of gingerbread called
‘parliament’. 1905 Daily Chron. 31 Aug. 4/7 Our correspondent who wondered as to the precise 
nature of the ‘parliament’ consumed by Thackeray's Georgy Osborne may be interested to learn 
that it was a species of gingerbread, sold in small, thin, hard cakes.

Also: n. parliament cake, a thin flat type of gingerbread. 

As for "dumps":

 f. A globular sweetmeat, a ‘bull's-eye’.

f. 1869 BLACKMORE Lorna D. ii. 5 Some of us..having sucked much parliament and dumps at my 
only charges. 1894  Perlycross 2 The big Tom Waldron supplied the little Phil Penniloe with 
dumps and penny-puddings.

So, I would say that Blackmore's use of "parliament" as the name of a kind of gingerbread
cookie was very anachronistic, since 'Lorna Doone' was set two hundred years earlier.


My thoughts are whirled like a potter's wheel;   King Henry VI, part I: I, v 

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