Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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wigs (or whigs, or wiggs) small cakes of lightly spiced and sweetened bread dough, the basic ingredients being butter, sugar, flour, milk (or cream), and yeast. Some recipes contain eggs; some contain sack. Among the spices specified are ginger, nutmeg, mace, cloves, and saffron; caraway seeds seem always to have been included. Currants are occasionally added.

Wigs were made under that name from medieval times. Ayto (1993) says: ‘They appear to have been introduced into Britain from the Low Countries in the fourteenth century, for the name is a borrowing of Middle Dutch wigge (which etymologically means “wedge-shaped cake”).’