[Sca-cooks] Obleys, wafers, etc

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sun Jun 17 17:35:56 PDT 2007

On Jun 17, 2007, at 7:19 PM, Suey wrote:

> Master Adamtius and Elsie Fleming, I thank you so much for your latest
> contribution to this muddle of mine.

I believe there was some contribution from Master Johann, among  

> That is beautiful what you just
> wrote Elsie about nieules! I am so excited! Hope will be pleased to  
> know
> that I have reviewed today a few more of my files but might not be so
> pleased that I have come to the conclusion that wafers are like plants
> in that this is the title of a family name in English while in Spanish
> and French the family name still is obleys because in Spanish at least
> we have no name for wafers. Within that family wafers/obleys we  
> have the
> species wafers, obleys, barquillos, nieules, chauds and other small  
> cakes.
>     Austin in his Glossary and Index says Obleies and their various
> spellings are a wafer cake. . . sweetened. . . that serves for the
> bottoms of  Tartes and March-panes which concurs with Nolas nieules

I believe I recall a German recipe... is it in Ein Buoch Von Guter  
Spise? which specifies wafers as a substrate for a marzipan tart, also.

> but
> Austin worries me because his gives page numbers for obley recipes  
> which
> do not concur with page numbers in The Fifteenth Century Cookery for
> wafer references so I still have sticky differences in defining these
> species.

This is interesting. I can't find my hard copy of Two15CCB, and the  
online versions seem to omit Austin's index. However, searching for  
instances of obley-like word usage, I find two recipes that refer to  
them, one for crusteroles and one for fritters, calling for dough  
rolled to the size of an oblie, and for apples to be sliced as thin  
as an oblie, respectively. In both cases, Austin includes a  
parenthetical note to the effect that oblies are sacramental wafers.  
Not "they resemble", or are a form of. Are. Which, as I say, if he  
says elsewhere that they're a sweetened wafer cake, I think is a bit  

> Why did Johnna have to go away? Where is our Lady Brighid?

Either they're both terrible people with misplaced priorities, or  
else they're both supremely lovely ladies taking some well-deserved  
time away from this list and the many contributions they've made  
here, s**t happens, and patience is a divine virtue. I'm leaning  
toward the latter.

> Thank heavens the rest of you are around to help me as you can!
>     Interesting your comment Elsie on barquillos because Covarrubias
> cites obleys as a very thin pastry made in the form of a rectangle as
> clothes covering the coffin of the dead. Barquillos he goes to say are
> twisted obleys. Humm I always thought my buddy Ned IV of England
> fattened himself on round wafers.

Just out of curiosity, what's your source for that little factoid? I  
ask because there's a piece of probable culinary fakelore from the  
15th century to the effect that a recipe for Shrewsbury cakes fell  
out of the pocket of Richard III into the mud at Bosworth Field (this  
is probably a 19th-century fabrication).

> Do we have country differences here
> cause the French have cornets?

<shrug> It seems many cultures have noticed that when you have a  
floppy cake that crisps as it cools (the inclusion of plenty of sugar  
is often a big factor there), you can form them while warm into  
various shapes. I believe there's another reference in Larousse, in  
an article on street vendor's traditional calls (I think the article  
is entitled "Street Cries of Paris"), which refers to wafers being  
simply stacked while slightly warm and impaled on a skewer, which the  
vendor carries over his head like a distaff. I always wanted to serve  
wafers that way at an event. But then, I also wanted to carve meat  
onto platters from a spit held in my left hand, too. Oh, to be young 
[er] again...


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