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Listed the article as needing expansion[edit]

I listed the article as needing expansion in an attempt to find more sources. So far, I've only found references in Michael Crichton's Timeline, some medieval enthusiast pages on the internet and the brief passage about it in the source cited in the article.

Peter Isotalo 12:03, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Added links[edit]

Ok, thanks for all the links. All of them clearly don't fit in the article right now, but I'll put them here so they can be sorted through and perhaps used to expand the prose of the article.

Peter Isotalo 06:49, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Everything Imaginable Made of Sugar Translation of the third course of The first banquet for Emperors for the early meal on a meat day, and re-creation of a selection of said third course from Ein New Kochbuch by Marxen Rumpolt From Functional Feast to Frivolous Funhouse: Two Ideals of Play in the Burgundian Court Paper given at the 5th Annual Indiana University Symposium on Medieval Studies Illusion Dishes Article by Cindy Renfrow Ivan Day's website Decorated food history and courses Subleties from "Le Viandier de Taillevent" translation from the original manuscript

Trimalchio's Banquet A Roman feast, containing many illusion foods, described in a contemporary satire

Feast of Illusions in 2 Courses

An illusion feast

A Great Pie

A Recipe for Fake Fish 16th C Danish apple pastry disguised as a fish

A conceit of walnuts

Chastlete (Pastry Castle)

Coqz Heaumez Gode Cookery reconstruction of a 14th c subtlety

Gode Cookery Illusion Foods Recipes for subtleties (including translations)

Illusion Food Messages from Various E-Lists

Incredible Foods, Sotelties and Entremets Gode Cookery spectacle foods

Marzipan Messages From Various E-Lists

Peacocks and Pasties

Pommes Dorres

Sotleties Messages from Various E-Lists

The Cockentrice - A Ryal Mete


Consuming Wealth and Eating Words: Sugar Paste

Sugar Paste Discussion From E-lists

Sugar Paste a Cook's Playdough

St. George on horseback and slaying the dragon[edit]

OED, subtlety, sense 5:

Cookery. A highly ornamental device, wholly or chiefly made of sugar, sometimes eaten, sometimes used as a table decoration. Obs. exc. Hist.

?c1390 Form of Cury in Warner Antiq. Culin. (1791) 4 It techith for to make curious potages and meetes, and sotiltees. c1440 in Househ. Ord. (1790) 450 A soteltee Seint~jorge on horsebak, and sleynge the dragun. 1467-8 Durham Acc. Rolls (Surtees) 92 Pro le Tynfole empt. pro ornacione et pictura del soteltez erga festum Natal. Domini. 1517 R. TORKINGTON Pilgr. (1884) 7 They mad vs goodly Chere wt Diverse Sotylties as Comfytes and Marche Panys. 1552 LATIMER Serm. Par. King (Parker Soc.) II. 139 At the end of the dinner they have certain subtleties, custards, sweet and delicate things. [1768 H. WALPOLE Let. to Cole 6 June, I am no culinary antiquary: the Bishop of Carlisle, who is, I have often heard talk of a sotelte [printed sotelle], as an ancient dish. 1852 C. M. YONGE Cameos II. xxxi. (1877) 327 The feast was entirely of fish: but they were of many kinds, and were adorned in the quaintest fashions, with sotilties, or subtleties. 1875 J. C. JEAFFRESON Bk. Table I. 133 A subtelty, representing a pelican on a nest with her birds.]

Bishonen | talk 12:37, 11 September 2006 (UTC).

Entremet as main entry (for now)[edit]

The point of clearing out most of the content of this article is because the term "subtlety" was far more specific than entremet. Though I'm still not entirely sure what it meant in the late medieval context, it appears that it did not include theatricals (I think they're called "pageants") and basically covered only table ornamentations of various kinds. To what extent they were actually edible, I'm also not sure. Anyway, there's no point in fleshing out both articles with identical content, and especially not when the content here was summarized in the other article some time ago.

Peter Isotalo 10:13, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with this. It's appropriate for the two articles to reference each other, but neither (see Subtlety before you reverted it again to a stub) is a substitute for the other. — Athaenara 10:25, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

A subtlety is as far as I know just a Middle English term for a specific type of entremet and the two terms are often used interchangeably by medieval food scholars, though some actually point out differences in usage. I chose entremet as the proper main article because it was more widely applicable to the concept of "medieval and early modern dinner entertainment provided between courses". After all, articles are for the most part supposed to be about concepts, not terms. The article at the Ricardian society website that you added as a source doesn't seem to be all that reliable, btw. It confuses "entrements" [sic] with what appears to be aperitifs, makes a weak (but still unforgivable) attempt at regurgitating the old myth about using spices to conceal spoiled food, and even confuses L'Mangier De Paris [sic again] with Le Viandier (de Taillevent).

Peter Isotalo 11:07, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

The reference you mentioned (which was so far the only citation with proper format in the article) was for a single item: a spun sugar hunting scene. The Wikipedia Ownership of articles policy says:
"If you create or edit an article, know that others will edit it, and allow them to do so."
You seem to be discouraging participation by other editors. — Athaenara 21:40, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Try stating your case about the differences between entremets and subtleties instead of quoting policy.
Peter Isotalo 11:34, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
"Like the Sphinx guardians of Greek mythology, Wikipedia "owners" pose a riddle to all who dare edit their article." (Wikipedia:Ownership of articles#Ownership examples) — Athaenara 11:54, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
You haven't actually explained why you're insisting on the old version. What's the point after everything I explained about the two terms?
Peter Isotalo 00:06, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Consensus first[edit]

Lets start by getting consensus for the merge, then making a major change. (H) 12:43, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

This is more productive approach. Here are the two versions in question:
I have restored Subtlety to aid comparison with Entremet. — Athaenara 21:16, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
You're supposed to make an attempt to argue your case before you start bonking people over the head with policy citations.
Peter Isotalo 00:14, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Isotalo reverted with "motivate your edit before demanding that it be respected" as the edit summary.

There are reasonable grounds, which I stated, for restoring Subtlety to its pre-stub state: to aid comparison for discussion here with other editors. I made no demand. — Athaenara 01:44, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

The content you insist on including really does concern entremet more than it does this article. I wrote that text before I actually wrote the other article, when I still thought that "subtlety" was a much more general term. If you really want to insist on expanding this article, then please do so with information that is actually specific to the Middle English term.
Peter Isotalo 09:06, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Nor did I "insist." — Athaenara 22:26, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
This type of petty quibbling over words will not make any of us the wiser.
Peter Isotalo 13:20, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

I am here as a result of a plea posted on Wikipedia:Third opinion. I know nothing about this subject, but I am rather disturbed at seeing sourced material relevant to subtlety being deleted. I see good material in this version that should be merged into entremet if it's more appropriate there, after which this article can simply redirect to entremet. If that deleted material is more appropriate here, then the non-stub version of subtlety should stay. -Amatulic 18:11, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

The "How to merge pages" section on Help:Merging and moving pages says:
"… you may find your merger reverted, and as with all other edits, edit wars should be avoided. If you are uncertain of the merger's appropriateness, or believe it might be controversial, or your merge ends up reverted, you can propose it on either or both of the affected pages."
The proposing a merger procedure seems to be a good one, but if either article is reduced to a stub
("degraded to a sub-category of entremet" - "revert to being a sub-category of entremet")
the process is impeded: the content under consideration is more difficult to retrieve.
Because my edits have been reverted twice, with hostile comments in an edit summary and on this talk page, I have not restored the content again myself. — Athaenara 23:04, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I do not believe the content should be lost. I have restored it, and added a tag to propose to merge it with the entremet article. Further discussion on merging should take place on Talk:Entremet. -Amatulic 00:34, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Good, this should be discussed instead of unilaterally decided. (H) 01:00, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Motivations would be helpful to understand why this is pursued so eagerly. Why does the old material need to be salvaged and what was wrong about the definition in the stub version?
Peter Isotalo 01:14, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I stated the reason at the beginning of this section and also explained on Talk:Entremet. Informative material that is backed up by valid references shouldn't be removed. If this article isn't the right place for said material, and the other article is more appropriate, then merging and redirecting are warranted. There isn't any point in maintaining an article that will likely be a stub forever, if the content can reasonably be contained in a broader article. In that case, the definition should be maintained in entremet and this article be deleted completely, changed to contain only a redirect link to entremet. -Amatulic 01:30, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
If you want to merge the material do so yourself. You don't need to start a big merge discussion since no one has opposed it. I'm restoring the article for now, since I don't see anyone actually opposing the definition of what a subtlety is. The notion that we should keep articles for reviewing purposes should be strongly discouraged since articles are intended for readers, not editors who know how to check edit histories whenever they like. Overall, please try making substantial and harmonious improvements instead of upholding mere reverts to versions that were dispensed with because they were deemed superfluous. Just because something is backed up by sources doesn't mean it has to be kept for all eternity. I thought someone would actually take a hint when I kept reverting material I had myself written...
Peter Isotalo 11:03, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
The lastest revert by Athaenara was done without even attempting to reply to my queries. I've posted a request for a RfC to get some more insight into this.
Peter Isotalo 06:43, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Article talk pages[edit]

User Peter Isotalo (talk · contribs) posted on my talk page about issues with these two articles. I removed it with the suggestion that he post where the discussion is located.

He posted on my talk page a second time. I removed that as well, again requesting that he post not on my user talk page but on the article talk pages.

There are many other articles on my watchlist (more than 180 at the moment, down from nearly 300 a few weeks ago). I avoid obsessing about any of them. I rely on the fact that many other NPOV editors have valuable insights to offer, and I do what I can in cooperation with them to improve articles.

I won't edit war. This is not avoidance. The two articles need more, not less, NPOV attention, and it is on article talk pages that article improvement discussions are centered. The removal of nearly all of the content of one of the two the articles does not aid the process. — Athaenara 08:03, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

What content needs to be included and why? If there's a problemt with POV, then which POV is being pushed? The more you actually elaborate about your motivations, the easier it is to resolve the dispute.
Peter Isotalo 14:04, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

I was supposed to take a wikivacation, but when even H (who so far hasn't weighed in with an opinion on anything subtlety-related) made a revert I noticed something had to be done. The point is that I made an over-generalization when I wrote the material that you're now fighting me in keeping here. I've made a compromise and removed only the material which was included here when the article was supposed to cover the entire concept of "medieval entertainment dish", which included entremets. That was before I came across material that noted that a subtlety appeared to be a very specific English form of entremet. I do not recommend re-adding the stuff about the orange meat balls either because I'm not sure it was a subtletly as much as it was a fancy type of illusion dish. Same goes for the blackbird pies and fake maggots. Even if they are distantly related as "food that can astonish", there's no mention of them being defined as subtleties.

I would really like to have some motivations from those insisting on reverting me all the time. Why are you questioning my presentation of it and what alternatives do you propose? I'm also being accused of violating NPOV, but I'm still at a loss as to the reason for this. How am I being partial? What POV are other editors insisting on for that matter?

Peter Isotalo 00:59, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

The removal of content which is discovered to be inaccurate, and by the editor who originally wrote the questionable material, is grounds for kudos, admiration, applause and supprt, not grounds for accusations and edit warring. I am at a loss here to understand why there is so much resistance to improving articles. Lacking any better or more obvious possibility, I can only wonder if perhaps some of you have an obsession with orange balls. KillerChihuahua?!? 17:02, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Your most recent explanation is really what I needed to know. If you had just explained this to begin with then this would not have been any sort of issue. Communication will take you much further than stubbornness. (H) 17:17, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
"We"? Are you always the spokesman for those who disagree with me? If you were supposedly in league all along and new what you wanted, then why the Hell didn't you specify yourselves (assuming I'm still speaking with a collective, not just an individual) from the start? Look at the attitude in the posts above for crying out loud. Accusing someone of POV, ownership, etc. when the only cause for it is that I insist that the latest version of my own work is the most accurate one and the only reason for doubting it is general suspicion is to me a clear-cut case of assuming bad faith. The burden of proof should've been on on those whose arguments were merely "I disagree with you, but I'm not getting into any details".
No one here had a new source, no one claimed to have read the sources I had read (or to have drawn different conclusions from them), and no one explained what the problem why my analysis of the meaning of "subtlety" was wrong to begin with. Getting a fucking pat on the head at the end of it all isn't exactly a good way of smoothing things over.
Peter Isotalo 08:29, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Settle down Peter, it is just a website, don't get so upset. The fact is that you did not explain your position clearly. You made a large change and when people asked why you got upset and a little rude. It took days for you to explain as you did in your post of 00:59, 5 June 2007.
I am not a spokesman per se, but I have been chosen by the community for my judgement to be an admin, and to enforce and interpret policy. With that in mind, yet again Peter, I am going to ask you to be civil. Comments like "Getting a fucking pat on the head at the end of it all" are pretty rude. Removing the discussion from this page calling it a "waste of time" is very rude. Telling people not to "Butt in" in certain pages is both rude and a violation of WP:OWN.
You and me can disagree, we can even do so productively, but you need to do your part and disagree in a civil and respectful fashion. (H) 14:56, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Vested Interest[edit]

I feel as though the original contributer to this article Peter Isotalo has become overly invested in the controlling the reception of his contributions. I reverted the article to his and others' earlier and better version. I don't see anything here on the talk page that "proves" he was wrong, other than his claim that he was wrong. I then see that he has engaged in countless attacks against other editors. I really don't think a article on Subtlety should cause such angry exchanges. It shouldn't be the focus of one's defensive energies to this extent. I think it would be best that Peter Isotalo just let go of his "ownership" of the article until and unless he can provide some sort of peer-reviewed text-based evidence that his earlier "interpretation" of the material was wrong. There comes a point where one is no longer "neutral" enough of about his own work to be involved in the page anymore. Saudade7 22:31, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

The reason that I was so frustrated was because of Athaenara's inability and stubborn refusal to discuss the actual topic of medieval subtleties. If you could just bother to read the first to posts I made, you'll see that I first tried to presented a detailed argument for the reason why I had moved most of the content to entremet. No factual counter-arguments have so far been offered. The reason that I reduced this article and moved most of the content to entremet, is because the information based on the sources I have referred indicates that a "subtlety" is merely a sub-category of entremet. If you're accusing me not just of ownership, but even of lacking neutrality, could you point out exactly how I am unneutral? Which sources contradict my moving of the focus to entremet? What are your own factual arguments in the matter?
Peter Isotalo 07:49, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I have removed three passages from the article that refer to dishes that I believe are not correctly described as subtleties:
The first, which is about practical jokes, is originally from Melitta Weiss Adamson's research, and it all traces back to an essay she wrote in Food in the Middle Ages: A Books of Essays called "The Games Cooks Play". This is more a description of mock recipes and pure practical jokes than of actual entremets/subtleties, and it is unclear whether they have ever been labeled as either of these.
The other two are references to entremets in Western and Southern Europe (information from Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe and The Art of Cooking in the Middle Ages), and could never actually be labeled specifically as "subtleties", since they were not prepared, served and eaten in English-speaking countries.
To deal with the demands placed on me to explain why I'm doubting my own contributions I have labeled several passages in the article as original research, since I believe they are conclusions drawn by me in error. I have labeled the statement based on the webpage of the Richard III Society as original research because it does not appear to be written by an expert and is in my opinion full of factual errors, some of which have already been specified in the initial exchanges with Athaenara. Most importantly, it does not describe anything other than sugar-based subtleties, and has highly contradictory information about what an "entrement" [sic] actually is.
Peter Isotalo 09:07, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
SUBTLETY (also sotelty, soteltee, soteltie, suttlety) used in France until the 17th century. Some Entremets were Subtleties. Not all Subtleties were Entremets.
Look, unlike you I do not have a vested interest in the article. I just think that it is sad when someone wants to sabotage something on the Wikipedia because they regret having contributed. Although not peer reviewed, there are some 1000 articles about this topic on the internet, and others in books that I have read while living in France. I have a good friend there who is a French mediaeval food historian and many months ago (when it was in the form that I reverted it to) we talked about this article. She has a Doctorate in history while I see that you are hoping to go to school and receive your bachelors. Please consider that you might have gotten it right the first time in spite of yourself. Otherwise, having looked at your interactions with others here on the Wiki about other articles to which you have contributed, I can only say that you seem not to want to work in a cooperative mode with other editors. That every person on this page has problems with your erasures might tell you something. If you are ashamed because you have plagiarized something and are fearful that someone will find your name attached to their material on this site, you should have thought about that before you plagiarized. Otherwise I cannot see the psychological motivation for your Imperialism here. That said, I have bookmarked the good version of this page in the history to share with friends. I won't trouble you any longer. Go ahead and erase everything. It's all "yours". Saudade7 23:24, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I did you a favor by not pointing out all your tirades about my person. Past disputes with other editors of a largely personal nature does not give you the right to barge in and hurl a torrent of personal insults at me, especially not your tasteless hints that I'm doing this all because I'm ashamed of plagiarism. I have the exact same interest as you; to keep the article accurate based on the sources I have read on the topic.
I can't recall coming across subtleties being referred to in French contexts. Where exactly have you found this information? Overall, the amount of sources in the article seems to be increasing without any specification being made. If this debate is going to rise above the level of "no, you're the one who got it wrong", we'll both have to start citing more specifically. Also, I think we should leave unreliable online sources out altogether. The article by Schatzker cites no sources and is therefore largely superfluous. The same goes for Coles' article for the American Richard III Society. They all eventually go back to academic sources, so we might as well use them directly. I'll go through the sources I've used and you do the same and we'll see what we come up with.
Apropos your first comment about how the "entremet" and "subtlety" are interchangeable, that is pretty much the reason I considered a merge the best soluation. There doesn't seem to be much distinguishing them from one another, except that "entremet" appears to be used more often by food historians. Upholding both article would to me be a bit like keeping gasoline and petrol separate.
Peter Isotalo 07:48, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

During my break I have looked through a few sources. Here is what they have to say on the matter.

Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe has a few references to both terms. In the essay on England by Constance B. Hieatt describes "English courtly cookery aimed at 'subtle' (that is, clever, surprising) combinations, or, as in the decorative "subtleties" brought out at the end of each course of a major royal feast, food made to look like something other than it is." (p. 35) A dish of "Lenten eggs" (empty eggshells of fish and almond milk with "yolks" colored with saffron) are described as subtleties with a reference to a collection of two 15th century manuscripts published under the title Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (p.36). Later on Hieatt explains that a type of modern ancestors to the old subtleties can be identified in things like figurines on wedding cakes (p. 38). Hieatt's use of the term appears to be more descriptive (she always uses the terms in quotes), and as far as I can tell she also applies the term to much older recipes from the 13th century, even though the term isn't actually used in this way back then.

In one of the sources used by Hieatt, Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, subtleties are described by the 19th century author as decorative dishes what end the end of a course. They include examples of an Angus Dei, a Doctor of Law and a peacock with a "gilt nib" (p. x).

In The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages Terence Scully, who has also edited several editions of Taillevent's Viandier and collected them in a modern edition with commentary. Scully uses the terms interchangeably. In the index, the two are listed together (under entremets, it says "see subtlety", and when referring to the dish(es) he considers them to be synonymous in the sense of a decorative dishes in the same manner that the author of Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books does (p. 103, 104-110). When referring to English dishes, the terms is always subtlety (see again 104-110 and p. 121). French, or at least non-English, dishes are called entremets (pp. 125, 215).

Melitta Weiss Adamson is the editor of several books on medieval cuisine, including Regional Cuisines, and has written a general book on the topic called Food in the Middle Ages. She uses both sotelties and entremets, but makes it clear that they are merely two different terms for the same type of dish or in-dinner entertainment:

When it comes to sotelties, the trend in the later Middle Ages [...] was from an edible dish to a table ornament that over time became more decorative and less nourishing. When these surprises at a banquet moved from the table to the hall floor, and involved inedible props and people dressed up in costumes peforming historical or mythical scenese, this was called a "pageant" in English. In French the word entremets was used for both types of dinner entertainment. (p. 166)

In Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society, Barbara Henisch discusses the concept in the chapter about meal entertainment. No distinction between the two terms are made other than that one was distinctly English and the other French. After explaining the basic premises of other types of food-related entertainment, she gives this explanation:

The term "entremet" is French, and although known in England it was not used there so frequently as "sotelty", or subtlety. (p. 228)

Savoring the Past by Barbara Ketcham Wheaton was added as a reference, but I don't understand why. I've read the book before and I checked it again for any mention of subtleties. Neither the English nor the French terms are in the index, but entremets are described in the first chapter, "The Middle Ages". On p. 21, "entremet" is mentioned in relation to a 15th-century edition of Le Viandier which describes edible and inedible entremets.

Last term I used a Swedish translation of La Varenne's Le pastissier françois and Le cuisinier françois as a source for an essay in culinary history. I also briefly checked a French original edition from the late 17th century. I didn't see any sign of the term "subtlety", regardless of spelling. The only term that I recall used was "entremet", which was also used in the Swedish translation. So which sources confirm French usage of "subtlety" and which scholars classify them as distinctly separate subjects?

Peter Isotalo 10:35, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

I tried to contact User:Saudade7 to get a reply on the above post, but the only response so far was a deletion of my post.[1] No teneble evidence for this new interpretation of the meaning of "subtlety" has been presented, and I suspect that none is actually forthcoming. It has already been suggested that this ariticle should be merged with entremet, and I have already included information about the minor distinction between subtleties and entremet in the article about the latter. Hence I am redirecting this article.
Peter Isotalo 10:36, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Peter, as I said above, I have no interest in fighting with you over an article that I don't care about as much as you do. I see that you have been at war with people over this article for 2 years so obviously it is an obsession of yours. I have classes to teach and a family to take care of. As I said before, go ahead and do anything you please. Except, in the future, please do not continue your utterly out of place vandalism of my personal correspondence with my friend which I mention below. Really, don't come near me or my friend's talk pages again. Sincerely, Saudade7 04:35, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Your "personal correspondence"[2] was on a talkpage for everyone to read and was a blatant personal attack on me, just like most of your arguments in this dispute so far. I know it's controversial to edit talkpage post, but I found your post to be entirely focused on smearing me and saw that it was in no way constructive or excusable.
I tried to get a factual discussion going by carefully reading sources (my own and your's) and notified you about my reply, but was met by pure hostility when you deleted my post. Let us all know when you're interested in backing up your controversial claims with something other than battlefield tactics.
Peter Isotalo 09:32, 28 October 2008 (UTC)