A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents


PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Thin waffles made with cheese


.xxiiij. Waffres. Take þe Wombe of A luce, & seþe here wyl, & do it on a morter, & tender cheese þer-to, grynde hem y-fere; þan take flowre an whyte of Eyroun & bete to-gedere, þen take Sugre an pouder of Gyngere, & do al to-gerderys, & loke þat þin Eyroun ben hote, & ley þer-on of þin paste, & þan make þin waffrys, & serue yn.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.


Wafers. Take the womb of a pike, & boil it well, & mash it in a mortar, & add tender cheese, grind them well; then take flour and egg whites & beat together, then take sugar and ginger, & mix all together, & see that the egg is hot, & make a batter, & make the wafers, and serve.


  • 1 dozen eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs. ginger
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
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 things 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.

Waffres, 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 original 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. And because this was a fish-day item, the egg yolks were left out of the period receipt; I've included them in the modern version.

Sieving flour and making wafers; from the Velislav Picture Bible, Bohemia, c. 1340.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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Waffres © 2000 James L. Matterer

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