"And wafres, pipyng hoot out of the gleede" - The Miller's Tale
.xxiiij. Waffres. Take the Wombe of A luce, & sethe here wyl, & do it on a morter, & tender cheese ther-to, grynde hem y-fere; than take flowre an whyte of Eyroun & bete to-gedere, then take Sugre an pouder of Gyngere, & do al to-gerderys, & loke that thin Eyroun ben hote, & ley ther-on of thin paste, & than make thin waffrys, & serue yn.
- Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books
Wafres, or wafers, were enormously popular in the Middle Ages, and were very similar to our modern waffle. In cities & towns, wafer sellers (called wafereres) would stand on street corners, making wafers for customers passing by using an iron form resembling our old-fashioned waffle iron. The above recipe has as one of its main ingredients the womb of a pike, and it is thereby assumed that this wafer was originally intended to be eaten on a fish-day or during Lent. Caviar may make an interesting substitute, but this is essentially an unnecessary ingredient and has been left out of the modern version. The original recipe also calls for only egg whites; assuming again that is a fish-day recipe, the egg yolks can be added, making these wafres suitable for a meat-day.
Beat together all ingredients to make a thick batter. Make the wafers by using a modern waffle iron and prepare according to the directions for your machine. Be careful - the cheese will melt while baking, so keep an eye on the wafers while they cook and oil or spray & clean your iron as necessary. The finished wafers should be light brown. Serve hot or cold, with honey as a garnish.
Modern cheeses that are similar in both taste and texture to period cheeses include Beaufort, Brie, Camembert, Comté, Cottage, Emmenthal, Farmer's, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyére, Maroilles, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Port-Salut, Reblochon, Ricotta, Romano, Roquefort, & Stilton.
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© James L. Matterer
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Book II. A Chaucerian Feast Part 1 | Part 2
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