A growing assortment of words and definitions used in the Early Modern era. See the Guide for more information.
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A tart or cake built into an elaborate decoration, carried around before a course at a dinner. Used in the 16th century; from to warn, to announce. When Archbishop William Warham was "inthroned" in 1505, the warner before the first course had eight towers, with flowers and battlements; atop each tower was a beadle in full costume. Often, although buttressed with wire and wood, and decorated with feathers, silk, and beads, the warner was eaten. A development of the same sort, wrought mainly of sugar, was the subtlety, from the meaning, an ingenious contrivance. It was often made in a form that alluded to the host's or the guest of honor's name or achievements. As early as 1390 (in THE FORM OF CURY) we read of curious potages and meetes, and sotiltees. They have varied in design from a nested pelican feeding her young to St. George slaying the dragon; their main modern counterpart is the wedding-cake.
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