5th November 2005 by Laura Howard.

The gunpowder, treason and plot,

I know of no reason

Why the gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot.” 

More history of Guy Fawkes


I have such fond memories of Bonfire Night from growing up in England.  It was one of the best holidays of the year. 

The neighbor kids would work all of October (sometimes even earlier), collecting branches, leaves and old wood from all the neighbors who’d been cleaning out their yards.  We’d make the pile as high as we could.  It always seemed huge but then again, I was a bit shorter than I am now.  One of the families would volunteer to build our Guy Fawkes.  I remember one year he had a gorilla mask for a face… still haven’t figured that one out but we loved it!  Our dummy Guy would be placed on the very top of our bonfire pile and we would eagerly wait for night to fall.

My younger siblings and I would wait inside the house, all bundled up, and watch out the back window for the first sign of a flickering flame that would spell the scorchingly brilliant end of all our “hard” work and Guy’s annual “death”. (Yes, scorchingly IS a word… I just penciled it in my dictionary so it’s official!)

As soon as the bonfire was lit, we would head out to the field with flashlights to light our way.  Awaiting us were tables of treats and snacks and fireworks.  Grown-ups would settle in chairs before the toasty bonfire while the kids ran around with the flashlights, stuffing mouths with whatever goodies they could get their grubby little hands on.  Course, that was never me.  I showed way more restraint and would only allow myself a healthy amount of sweets that I conciously balanced by eating half the veggie tray. 

Alright!  So that’s not entirely true. 

Okay, okay!!! So it’s not true at all.  But if it had been true, I probably wouldn’t be needing to participate in Looking Fine by 2009.  Dang it!

After a little while, the dads would set off the fireworks (remember, we had no 4th of July, Big Band-accompanied fireworks shows to compare to, so our fireworks were simply magnificent to our countrygirl British standards) and everyone would oohh and aahhh in wonder. 

As the fire died down hours later and it became too chilly and too late to be out, we’d traipse back to our homes, bellies full of scrumptious delights, our noses numb and our hearts happy.  Really, it didn’t get any better than Bonfire Night.

Many, many, many, MANY moons later, I still miss Bonfire Night.  I’d hop on a plane to Ripon JUST for November 5th if I had the money for such frivolous travel.  Since that piggy bank remains empty, I have my own sort of Americanized celebration.  The kids and I celebrate by making Monster Cookies.  Truly a celebration in their own right.  But I make them because they are what my mother made every November 5th as her contribution to our neighborhood goody table.  To my recollection, we didn’t make them any other time of year.  And so it goes in my home.  Once a year, every 5th of November, we make Monster Cookies.  An enormous batch of cookies, we pass them around to anyone who’ll take some with enough still left over to store in the freezer to be taken out bag by bag and enjoyed for a month.

Aren’t you dying to make try these cookies out?  If I could, I’d mail ’em to each and every one of you.  But alas, that’s just not going to happen.  So instead, I’m posting them in my Cooking section.  Go check ’em out and make yourself your own batch of Guy Fawkes delishishness.  Your neighbors will love you, your hips will hate you, your children will be at your command, your husband – putty in your hands and your taste buds will scream with delight.

… and no, this isn’t helping my four pound weight loss goal in the least!!  Shhh!