2 March 2014

Butterscotch

Three butterscotch workers at the Parkinson Sweet Factory, Doncaster
circa 1928. The young woman on the right is Miriam Jackson (born 1910)
Of course, a large number of English words originated in Yorkshire but one of the loveliest sounding words my people ever coined is "butterscotch". This item of confectionery was invented in Doncaster in the middle of the nineteenth century following experimentation at the Parkinson sweet factory. The recipe included butter and brown sugar and a process that involved carefully"scorching" or "scotching" the mixture to give it that distinctive slightly burnt butterscotch flavour.
When Queen Victoria visited the town in 1851 - mainly to attend the St Leger horse racing meet - she was presented with her first butterscotch and was heard to say: "Of all one's dominions around the globe - from Australia to Canada and from Bermuda to Bengal - the finest of them all is Yorkshire and one appreciates one's first delicious taste of this lovely Yorkshire butterscotch".

During her visit she also tried out the revolutionary flushing water closet - developed - but not invented - by Yorkshireman Thomas Crapper. It had been specially installed in her hotel. But it was the butterscotch she remembered best.

In modern times, its flavour has been applied to ice cream and dessert sauces. Where would we be without good old Yorkshire butterscotch?

My thanks to Carol in Cairns, Australia for stimulating this fascinating blogpost. Her reward is a year's supply of "Angel Delight" - butterscotch flavour of course.

20 comments:

  1. Ah! Butterscotch! I always had a tin of them in my car for long journeys (as recommended by my wealthy dentist).

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    1. Your false gnashers look so realistic Hungry Hippo!

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  2. Lovely, lovely piece of history to learn.

    I am very sure that Victoria had no idea what the flushing water closet should be used for. After all, she was the Queen! Isn't royalty immune from having to engage in that bodily activity?

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    1. She employed a maid servant to wipe her nether regions. Legend says that her faeces were put in jars and sold to the French as souvenirs - always labelled "Merdre de la Reine"....Tee hee! Only kidding Madam T.

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  3. I was fascinated to read that there is a published Glossary of Yorkshire Words as per Mr Wiki. Mmmm ~ Angel Delight ~ will my teeth be thanking you?

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    1. You need about three quarters of a pint of milk. Sprinkle on the Angel Delight powder and whisk - then leave for five minutes to set before serving into bowls. And remember Carol, you are what you eat so you will become an Angel Delight!

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  4. One would talk like that if one were Queen Victoria, wouldn't one?

    We are laughing with you, not at you, and hope that you are doing likewise with your stupid American cousins.

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    1. One doesn't understand the obtuse nature of the final sentence now if you will kindly excuse one, one shall visit the water closet presently.

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  5. Now I'm hungry...but as I'm in the middle of watching the Oscars my hunger pains will have to wait to be satisfied until the presentations are over...not long to go now!!

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  6. Do they still make Angels Delight? It was horrible I can still remember how dreadful the Strawberry flavour was.

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    1. Adrian - How can you be so unpatriotic? Besides who would have strawberry when they could have butterscotch? A few emergency packets in the old camper van could be a life saver!

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  7. Who was Miriam Jackson? I feel daft at not being able to nod knowledgeably when looking at the first picture, and her with the trendy haircut on the right.
    Must remember to have some butterscotch during my Yorkshire holiday in June. Normally, I am a chocolate person, but I'll make an exception for the sake of tradition.

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    1. Miriam Jackson was what others might have called a nobody but to me she's family.Miriam's hairstyle is reminiscent of your own Arian! Does yours also smell of butterscotch?

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    2. Thank you for explaining about Miriam Jackson. As for my hair, it smells of vanilla right now, today's scent being "La Danza delle Libellule" (dance of the dragonflies) by Nobile 1942.

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  8. Chocolate Angel Delight was always my favourite and my mother only ever made up one packet between four of us (not that I'm greedy or anything).

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    1. One pack between four? That was about two spoonfuls each! You should have contacted the NSPCC Molly!

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  9. They didn't have Childline in those days or I would have sneakily phoned them from the phone box up the road. However, in my mother's defence, she did sometimes allow me to lick the bowl.

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    1. Oh, well that's okay then. But did she by any chance sometimes get shampoo in your eyes?

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  10. That's a fascinating piece of history, about butterscotch. My Sweetie's favorite crisp rice treat (made with the crisp rice cereal and marshmallows) has butterscotch chips and a bit of peanut butter in them. His mother used to make them that way, and everyone who tries them loves them.

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    1. Mmmm... They sound yummy mummy!

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