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Waffles: Belgian or Not?

Hey there! Ready to start a debate? Let's delve into whether waffles are truly Belgian or not!

Waffles: Belgian or Not?

Where were waffles invented?

The Origin of Waffles

Waffles have been around for thousands of years and their origin can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. Around 1200 BC, Greeks made obelios, a pancake-like dish that was cooked between two hot metal plates. The word "obelios" translates to "spit cake" or "grill cake".

At that time, these portable cakes were sold by street vendors and were a popular snack among Greeks.

Europe's Influence on Waffles

Waffles crossed the borders of Greece, and during the Middle Ages, they became popular in Europe when the Dutch introduced them. The Dutch were the first to make waffles with the traditional grid pattern that we all know today. Over time, different variations of waffles emerged, including Brussels waffles, which are airy and crispy, and Liege waffles, which are doughy and dense with caramelized sugar bits.

The Belgian waffle was introduced in 1964 to promote the New York World's Fair. It became so popular in America that, by the 1980s, many fast-food chains began serving the dish.

The Evolution of Waffles in America

Waffles first arrived in America in the 17th century with Dutch settlers in New York. They were initially known as "wafles" and were simple flat cakes cooked in cast-iron plates. Over time, American variations emerged, and it wasn't long before chicken and waffles appeared on the menu of many Southern American restaurants.

Waffle cones were invented in America when an ice cream vendor at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis ran out of cups. He quickly improvised by shaping a waffle into a cone then filling it with ice cream.

The most popular type of waffle in America is the Belgian Waffle. It is made with yeast, which makes it lighter and a little sweet. The outside is crispy and the inside is fluffy


Waffles have come a long way since their origin in Greece. They have spread all over the world and have been adapted to suit different cultures. Today, waffles remain a popular breakfast dish, and their versatility means that they can be enjoyed as a dessert, a snack, or a main course.

The Role of Thomas Jefferson in the History of Waffles

Introduction of Waffle Iron to America

Thomas Jefferson is a well-known figure in American history, but many people may not know that he played a role in the history of waffles. In fact, he is credited with introducing the first waffle iron to America. Jefferson brought the iron back with him from France, where he had served as the United States Minister from 1785 to 1789. He was so impressed with the design and function of the iron that he decided to import it to America. Jefferson was known to be a lover of good food, so it is not surprising that he wanted to share this culinary innovation with his fellow Americans.

Jefferson didn't just bring the waffle iron home with him. He also wrote down a recipe for "waffles à la française" in his personal notebook. The recipe called for a mixture of flour, yeast, and milk, and was a little different from the waffle recipes we know today. Nonetheless, Jefferson's recipe helped to popularize waffles in America, and the waffle iron eventually became a fixture in many American households.

Impact of the Waffle Iron on American Cuisine

The introduction of the waffle iron had a significant impact on American cuisine. Before the waffle iron, waffles were typically made by pouring batter onto a hot griddle. This method was time-consuming and required a lot of skill to get the waffles just right. The waffle iron changed all that. It made it possible to produce waffles quickly and easily, with consistently perfect results.

The waffle iron also allowed for creative expression in waffle-making. With its signature grid pattern, the waffle iron made it easy to create waffles in different shapes and designs. Over time, waffle makers began experimenting with different batters and fillings, creating new versions of the classic breakfast food.

Waffles in American Culture

Today, waffles are a beloved part of American culture. They are so popular that there are entire chains of restaurants dedicated to serving waffles, such as Waffle House and IHOP. Waffles are often associated with comfort food and are a popular dish served at breakfast and brunch. They can be sweet or savory, and can be served with a variety of toppings, from whipped cream and fruit to fried chicken and gravy.

Waffles have also made their way into American pop culture. They have been featured in movies and TV shows, such as Stranger Things and The Avengers. There is even a National Waffle Day, celebrated on August 24th every year. The day is a tribute to the iconic breakfast food and encourages people to indulge in their favorite waffle recipes.


Thomas Jefferson may not have been a chef or a culinary expert, but his love of good food and his curiosity led him to introduce the waffle iron to America. His contribution to the history of waffles may seem small, but it had a big impact on American cuisine and culture. Today, waffles are a beloved part of American breakfast culture, thanks in part to Jefferson's pioneering spirit.

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Where Were Waffles Invented?

Waffles are a popular breakfast food loved by many. The crispy texture with a fluffy interior, drizzled with syrup or topped with delicious fruits, makes it a perfect meal to start the day. But do you know where waffles were invented? Here's a brief history of waffles and how they originated.

History of Waffles

Waffles have been in existence for centuries and are known to have originated in Ancient Greece. Back then, waffles were cooked between two metal plates with a religious image engraved on them. These plates were called "obleios" and were used to celebrate the Greek festival called "Obelia".

Waffles were reintroduced in the Middle Ages in the 13th century by knights of Crusaders. They discovered waffles while visiting the Holy Land as vendors sold the "honeycomb-like" waffles. Waffles became popular in the region, especially in France, where they were known as "Gaufres". Around the 17th century, waffles started to gain popularity across Europe, and various variations of waffles were created in different countries.

Regional Variations of Waffles

Belgian Waffles

Belgium is known to have the most popular variation of waffles called "Belgian Waffles". These waffles are usually larger and thicker than other types, with a pillowy texture. Belgian waffles are typically enjoyed by adding whipped cream, fruits, or syrup. They are a common breakfast meal in Belgium and are served in various shapes and sizes. The Brussels Waffle, a popular variant, is rectangular with shallow pockets and is often sold as street food in Belgium.

Scandinavian Waffles

Scandinavian waffles are popular in countries such as Sweden and Norway. These waffles are known to have a crispy, thin texture and are often served with berries and cream. They are easy to cook and can be made sweet or savory, the Swedish version, known as "Våfflor," is made with light syrup and butter and is often enjoyed in a social setting.

Hong Kong-Style Waffles

Hong Kong-Style Waffles are a popular street food in Hong Kong. Unlike the crispy texture of Belgian waffles and the thin-textured Scandinavian waffles, they are sweet, eggy and fluffy with a unique texture often with patterns on them. Hong Kong-style waffles can be filled with a variety of ingredients such as peanut butter, chocolate, or fruit. These waffles are known as "eggettes," and their distinctive bubble-like appearance is what makes them stand out.

American Waffles

Waffles in America are thicker and crunchier than Belgian waffles. They are also known to have a buttery flavor and are typically eaten for breakfast. These waffles are often served with butter and syrup or topped with fruits or whipped cream, often enjoyed with a side of bacon and eggs.


Waffles are enjoyed worldwide and have many variations. From the crispy Belgian waffles to the sweet Hong Kong-style waffles, each has a unique flavor that sets them apart. While the origin of waffles is traced back to Ancient Greece, the modern-day waffles we enjoy today are continually evolving, with the introduction of new ingredients, flavors, and cooking methods. Regardless of the type of waffle you prefer, one thing is for sure - they are a delicious breakfast treat that everyone loves.

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Waffles in Popular Culture

Waffles in Movies and TV Shows

Waffles have become a popular food item in movies and TV shows. In the Netflix series Stranger Things, the character Eleven's love for waffles is portrayed in a memorable scene where she devours an entire plate of waffles for breakfast. In the comedy series Parks and Recreation, the character Leslie Knope's affection for waffles is highlighted by her annual tradition of celebrating "Galentine's Day," where she takes her female friends out for a waffle breakfast.

In the beloved animated movie The Lion King, the character Timon sings about weasel-grits and porcupine-pricks, but it was only later revealed in a DVD commentary that what he really meant was "grubs" and "bugs" because the original lyrics didn't fit the song. Timon then sings, "And slimy yet satisfying," followed by "Yup, yup, yup, yup, yup!," which is a nod to the satisfying texture of waffles.

Waffles in Music

There are numerous songs that reference waffles, but one of the most popular is "Waffles" by American rapper Lil' Wayne. In the song, he talks about his love for waffles and syrup and how it's his favorite way to start the day. The chorus repeating the line, "I go to sleep in my Gucci bedsheets, I dream about waffles and syrup," shows the extent of his love for waffles. The song has become a fan favorite and has been covered by many artists over the years.

Waffles in Art

Waffles have been depicted in various forms of art throughout history. In the early 17th century, Dutch painter Pieter Claesz painted a still life of a breakfast table that included waffles. The famous painter, Johannes Vermeer, also included waffles in his painting "The Milkmaid." In modern-day, pop artist Claes Oldenburg created a larger-than-life sculpture of a waffle for a public artwork installation.

The waffle influence is not only present in paintings and sculptures but has also inspired an entire hotel room in Brussels, Belgium. The Waffle Room is a hotel room that is entirely decorated with waffle-themed items. The bed is shaped like a giant waffle with a syrup bottle headboard, and the walls are adorned with waffle-patterned wallpaper. The room is a perfect mix of fun and quirky, making it a popular choice for tourists visiting the city.

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