Words Beginning with the Letter W



Extremely thin biscuit in various shapes like cornets, rounded shapes, curled rounds and of various ingredients.



A flat, crisp cake made by pouring a light batter into a specially made iron with in­dentations and cooking slowly on both sides over low heat. An electric waffle iron which cooks both sides simultaneously is generally used now. Served with a sweet sauce, especially maple syrup.



One of the commonest nuts used in cookery, grows in a green, smooth outer husk or shell and a hard, slightly rough shell enclosing the inner kernel. Fairly common in Britain, where the green walnuts are often pickled, but is also extensively imported in the shell or shelled from Continental Europe. Used extensively as a decoration (usually whole) or chopped or ground in cakes, biscuits and stuffings.


Water chestnuts

A Chinese vegetable, much used in Chinese cooking, im­ported into Britain in cans. Water chestnuts are white, the size of a chestnut and with the texture of a jerusalem artichoke. They are crisp and need no cooking, only slicing and quar­tering.


Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

A pleasant, slightly peppery ­flavoured plant which grows or is cultivated in slow-running shallow water in the south of England and gathered from late spring to the end of November. Used for garnishes, soups, salads, etc. The stalks can be chopped to flavour creamed potatoes or to go with a herb stuffing.


Welsh rarebit

Leigh or Lancashire cheese melted with beer in a shallow pan over gentle heat, until creamy, seasoned and spooned over hot buttered toast. For convenience nowadays this is often done under the grill, but the result is really a toasted cheese dish.



A Yorkshire cheese of which one variety resembles Stilton, except that its veins are green instead of blue. The other type is plain white and eaten fresh.



One of the commonest cereals, the grain of a grass plant called Triticum vulgare. Flour is produced by milling the grain, and the amount of gluten, the albuminous material which abounds in wheat, left in the flour depends on the milling process. Gluten is essential to the fermentation which results in light bread. See also Flour and Semolina.



Small type of shellfish usually sold cooked by fishmongers or at stalls, to be eaten cold sprinkled with vinegar, with bread and butter.



Whey is the liquid drained off from the milk solids or curd, in making cheese.



One of the best known spirits, distilled in Scotland from malted barley, in the United States and elsewhere from rye or corn. Rarely used in cookery, although some modern chefs use it with hot lobster and similar dishes.



The name given to the young of sprat, herring or pilchards found in estuaries round the British coast; fried crisp and deep-brown in deep fat and eaten whole with lemon, bread and butter.


White pudding

Black pudding without the pig's blood; cooked and eaten the same way.



A type of cod, but small and round with silvery skin. The flesh, delicious if eaten fresh, is friable, white and delicate.


Whortleberry [See Bilberry]



A game bird, a wild duck, smaller than a mallard but bigger than a teal; should be roasted and served in the same way as these two. See also Wild Duck.


Wiener schnitzel

A large and very thin escalope of veal, covered with egg and breadcrumbs and then fried.


Wild duck or Wildfowl

The name covers a variety of wild birds like mallard, teal and widgeon which are classed as game but which, unlike other game, should not be hung for more than about 3 days. Wild duck are best lightly roasted after being well plucked and dressed, make a good Salmis and should not be cooked more than to make the flesh pink. Many people like them saignant; they are usually served with a piquant sauce and an orange salad. See also Game.



Generally taken to refer to a liquid made from the fermented juice of grapes, but wine can also be made from root vegetables and other fruits. Wine made in Europe, particularly France, is still regarded as best although good wine is made in many parts of the world now where grapes will ripen in the sun. It is important in cookery and contributes subtle flavours to many dishes, and is even more important as an accompaniment to good food. See Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Claret, Hock, Moselle, Madeira, Malaga, Marsala, Port, Sherry.


Wonder [See Jersey Wonder]


Worcestershire sauce

A well-known commercially made sauce used with meats and pies. Made from soy sauce and various spices to give it a very piquant flavour.



A migratory game bird which visits Britain during October and November while flying from northern Europe to spend the winter in the south. One is usually sufficient for two persons: it is plucked but not drawn, although some chefs remove the intestines and gizzard before roasting and serving on toast, in which the juices collect. See Snipe and Game.