Fritter: History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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The Roman scriblita, described by Cato in the 2nd century bc, was probably a precursor of both fritters and doughnuts. Lumps of a moist dough (leavened with sourdough) were spooned into hot fat, and allowed to stream in random shapes. Medieval ‘cryspeys’ were described in the Harleian MS of 1430; a liquid yeast batter using the whites of eggs only was run down the cook’s fingers so that five narrow streams entered the hot oil, where they set into a tangle. They were served sprinkled with sugar. The modern Indian jalebi also uses a streaming method to form spirals.