[Sca-cooks] Parliament Cakes

Gretchen Beck grm at andrew.cmu.edu
Wed Jan 24 09:41:37 PST 2007

--On Wednesday, January 24, 2007 12:30 PM -0500 Johnna Holloway 
<johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu> wrote:

> If Devra can send me the original query, I'll run it and see what I can
> find.
> I came across that N&Q reference earlier, but haven't gone into it
> further yet.
> Mason and Brown list them in Traditional Foods of Britain. Also here
> where they are again
> associated with Scotland.
> *parlies*  Scottish; ginger cakes, believed to be so named because they
> were eaten by members of the Scottish parliament.
> "parlies"  /A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition/. David A. Bender. Oxford
> University Press, 2005.

The Dictionary of the Scots Language (a really neat resource for those into 
Scots (especially Middle Scots) and Scotland) says the term is an import 
from England:

DSL - SND1   PARLIE, n. Also parl(e)y, parli (Per. 1911 A. D. Stewart 
Heather and Peat 183); paurley, pawr-. A shortened form of Eng. 
parliament(-cake), a crisp, rectangular, gingerbread biscuit (Sc. 1825 
Jam.). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc., obsol.; also parley-cake, -snap, id. Comb. 
parley-bing, a heap of parlies, a stall at a fair, etc. selling parliament 
    *Ags. 1834 A. Smart Rambling Rhymes 86:
    Sweeties or parley-cakes to crump at.
*Fif. 1873 J. Wood Ceres Races 9:
    Queer, wizard-looking, Irish Sowlies, Wi’parley-bings and 
    *Lnk. 1880 Clydesdale Readings 189:
    An abundant supply o’ solids in the shape o’. . . cocket hats, cheese 
cakes, parley-snaps.
    *Ags. 1896 Barrie Sentimental Tommy xxvii.:
    They have tried many ways of drawing Grizel, from heckle biscuits and 
parlies, to a slap in the face.
    *Lnl. 1910 J. White Eppie Gray 5:
    He kept his parlies up the lum, Crumpie an’ short an’ sweet tae taste.
    *Abd. 1929 K. E. Trail Reminisc. (1952) 124:
    Flat ginger biscuits called “parlies”.
    *Sc. 1950 A. R. Daniel Bakers’ Dict. s.v.:
    Parleys. . . . At one time it was the custom of Scottish bakers to give 
these cakes to children who came into their shops to purchase bread.
    *wm.Sc. 1957 People’s Friend (19 Jan.):
    A good supply of parleys, oblong biscuits about six inches by four, 
gingery and with scalloped edges.

(Dictionary of the Scots Language, <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/>)

toodles, margaret

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list