It is time to talk about the wonderful waffle.
Because National Waffle Day is coming up!
Let’s discover a bit about this holiday and the rich history of the waffle.
What Is National Waffle Day?
National Waffle Day is celebrated on August 24th, the date that the waffle iron was first patented in the US in 1869.
Created by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York, this original waffle iron was designed to be used with a coal stove. The device (a griddle with cover) needed to be manually flipped in order to cook both sides of the waffle.
A second Waffle Day (International Waffle Day) originated in Sweden and is called Våffeldagen. This holiday occurs nine months before Christmas to commemorate the day the Archangel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary she was pregnant. But it also doubles as a celebration of the first day of spring.
The History of the Waffle
Whipping up a batch of waffles is a centuries old tradition.
Here are some historical highlights:
- In ancient Greece, an early form of waffle was eaten—a flat cake cooked between two metal plates over a fire. Often sold from street carts, these waffles were called obleios and were savory rather than sweet.
- The waffle we know and love today, however, probably originated in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Heated over an open flame, batter was poured between two metal plates in a grid pattern that would catch the batter and prevent it from falling into the fire.
- The first known waffle recipe appeared in an anonymous French manuscript called Le Menagier de Paris. It included three ingredients: flour, salt and wine!
- In the 16th century, several classic paintings (including many by Bruegel) showed waffles being cooked in their familiar grid pattern.
- In 1620, the pilgrims imported Dutch ‘wafles’ to America (‘wafle’ is the Dutch word for wafer). It would take another 100 years before the second ‘f’ appeared in the English language.
- In the late 1880s, Thomas Jefferson brought back a long-handled, patterned waffle iron from France.
- In the 1950s, frozen waffles were sold in supermarkets for the first time, and restaurant chains started selling the popular dish.
- In 1964, Brussels restaurateur Maurice Vermersch introduced his wife’s Brussels Waffle recipe at the World Fair in New York. The fluffy, yeast-filled waffle was a huge hit and became known as the Belgium waffle.
How Is a Waffle Made?
Traditionally, a waffle is prepared with leavened batter and gets its grid-like appearance because it is heated between two hot metal plates. A waffle is normally cooked so that it is golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Waffles can be either sweet or savory. They come in many different shapes and are served with a variety of toppings.
Here is a rundown of some of the many varieties of waffles that exist around the globe:
- Brussels Waffles: Light and crispy, prepared with a yeast-leavened batter.
- Belgian Waffles: A North American version of the Brussels waffle, thicker than the traditional American waffle.
- American Waffles: Use a batter leavened with baking powder.
- Scandinavian Waffles: Thin and cooked in a heart-shaped waffle iron.
- Potato Waffles: Come from the UK and Ireland and are made from potatoes.
- Hong Kong-Style Waffles: Are called grid cakes and sold on the street as a snack.
- Pandan Waffles: A popular Vietnamese street food made with coconut milk and pandan flavoring which gives them a spring green color.
But the best waffle variety of all?
That has to be the waffle that is prepared using 100 percent plant-based ingredients.
Like my favorite recipe for Wonderful Waffles. You will love them!
Happy National Waffle Day to all!