It seems like there are national days for everything out there, and today just so happens to be National Waffle Day. This day commemorates the U.S. patent of the waffle iron way back in the day, and it is because of the waffle iron that many hungry folks have had a satisfied breakfast. But don’t save this tasty cake for only morning enjoyment, as there are plenty of ways to eat a waffle. You might just want to eat it all day long!
For my waffle history, it all started out from television (hey, I’m an 80s baby)! I totally remember the frozen waffle commercials wedged in between Saturday morning cartoons. Usually there was a sneaky sibling/parent/friend who tried to eat a kid’s waffle. But these waffles were so good that no one wanted to share, leading to the famous slogan “Leggo my Eggo.” And it’s true, those frozen waffles were such a convenient, sweet treat before school. Warm, crisp, and even flavored like blueberry or chocolate chip, waffles made a happy breakfast. But the waffle’s history goes back beyond the 80s, back to Medieval times in Europe. With so many years and so many miles traveled, the waffle has evolved into a food that people all over the world bite into.
Some may pop a frozen one in the toaster, others may make a batch from scratch. Some may use old fashioned maple syrup, while others prefer fresh fruit and cream. Scoop some ice cream in it, or roll up a hot dog with it, any way you do it, the waffle is a step up from the flat terrain of the pancake. Those tiny grid-like squares aren’t just there for decoration; their purpose is to reserve flavors so that each bite you take is like burst of goodness. And unlike the pancake, waffles have a crisp yet soft texture that makes every crunch a munch you won’t forget.
Aside from the culinary world, waffles have also made an impact in the sports and fashion industries. No, not because of its nutritional value, but because of the good old waffle iron. If it wasn’t for the waffle iron, Nike probably wouldn’t be where it is today. Nike founder Bill Bowerman used his wife’s waffle iron to create the sole of the first trainer. This creative venture proved to be successful for the company. Let’s just hope his wife didn’t make waffles for breakfast the next morning!
Enough of this waffling (yes, it’s a verb too!), because I know you want to start thinking of how you can get a taste!
- Think outside the box. Like most food, the best is always fresh. Skip the frozen food aisle and invest in a waffle iron or waffle machine. Make a batch one Saturday morning and freeze the extras- if there are any- for feasting on during the week.
- Make it healthy. Remember, whole grains are healthiest, so substitute enriched white flour with whole wheat flour to get a satisfying does of fiber for your body.
- Keep it simple. Lightly coat with butter, not margarine, and dust with powdered sugar.
- Go Belgian. The Belgian waffle is slightly thicker and uses a different batter than the typical American waffle.
- Step on the savory side. Waffles aren’t only for the sweet palette. Use your waffle like as a bread or tortilla and wrap up eggs, cheese, or even a hot dog!
- Take a Southern approach. Try your waffle, syrup and all, next to some fried chicken. Chicken and waffles…an unlikely marriage that’s you’ll love!
- Fulfill your sweet tooth. Treat yourself to a waffle cone at the creamery. While you’re at it, put a cherry on top!
- Get the real deal. If you’re all about syrup, only use 100% maple syrup Aunt Jemima may bring back sweet memories, along with high fructose corn syrup. Many popular brand named syrups contain HFCS as a main ingredient, and with the rise of obesity and diabetes, it’s best to stay away from it. Real maple syrup may cost more than Aunt Jemima, but it’s well worth it. You may even end up using less syrup!
- Jam on it. Top your waffle with fruit jam or jelly. Remember, check the label for high fructose corn syrup.
- Stroopwafels. Stroop what? Stroopwafels are from the Netherlands and are almost like a crispy waffle cookie with a sweet, gooey filling. Yum.
- Go for the continental breakfast. Some hotels and even dorms offer free breakfast, which, if you’re lucky, has one of those cool waffle machines. It’s almost as fun to make the waffle as it is to eat it!
- Fresh is best. Top your waffle with fresh strawberries, blueberries, peaches, bananas…..you get the point! Using fresh fruit will give you more fiber and vitamins!
- Whip your cream. All it takes is a cold stainless steel bowl of heavy cream, a whisk, powdered sugar, and some muscle power to make your own whipped cream. Add sugar to taste, and feel free to experiment with different flavors….cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, and more.
Not in the mood for waffles today? You can celebrate once more in the year for International Waffle Day in March. Two days devoted to waffles? It sounds too good to be true.
Waffle iron, I thank you for your patent 140 years ago, so that I may not only have a happy stomach, but also my favorite kicks!
What’s your waffle story?
p.s. I didn’t get around to eating a waffle today….darn!