On the Mexican-Greek Waffle

Reader Angela (who seems to have some expert knowledge in this area), weighs in on the linguistic connection between the Greek and Mexican names for waffles:

In some 16th century Portuguese texts it’s common to find the word obreia or obrea, meaning “communion bread”. And of course, back then the Portuguese and the Spanish had a lot more in common in terms of vocabulary. Also during the 15th/16th centuries, it became somewhat fashionable to use words of Latin/Greek etymology instead of native words, so my guess is that the Spanish took the word “oblea” from the Greeks sometime before sailing off to the New World.

This would also explain why “obleas” are consumed (and even called “obleas”) mainly in Latin America, but not in Spain: generally speaking, a colonized group tends to be linguistically more traditional than their colonizers, which means the Spanish-speaking communities in Latin America have preserved the word (and the recipe!), while Spain hasn’t.

I presume that’ll be the last word on the subject. Thanks Angela!

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