Paste made of frothed egg whites, sugar, flour and caraway seeds with saltpetre (E252), rolled very thin and baked. This was a 'biscuit for travellers' presumably on account of the preservative effects of saltpetre.
The diary of Ralph Thoresby (c1700) has; "Thence to Grantham whose fair steeple is so high as to occasion the proverb it's height makes Grantham steeple stand awry. This place is famous in my esteem for Bishop Fox's benefactions but is chiefly noted of travellers for a peculiar sort of thin cake called Grantham Whetstones."
Lincolnshire Notes & Queries of 1 Jan 1928 has; "By one who made these whetstones we are told that they were perfectly plain in character, and commonly oblong in shape, measuring 41/2in. by 21/2in. with a thickness of one-eighth of an inch."
Original Receipt in Tib's Tit-Bits of 1869;
GRANTHAM WHETSTONES The whites of five eggs beaten to a strong froth ten ounces of loaf sugar pounded and sifted one pound of fine flour a few caraway seeds a small piece of saltpetre about the size of a nutmeg powdered very finely. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly together and roll them very thin cut them to any shape you please and bake in a moderate oven
See: Grantham Gingerbread
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