Tag Archives: waffles

Waffle Wars

One can rely on certain topics for inducing a charged debate on the internet. Politics. Religion. Which Star Trek captain was the best*. One does not, however, generally see waffles inspiring people to volley arguments through the wee hours of the morning.

One of my favorites from xkcd.com

It all began on Twitter. A friend asked for advice about buying a new kitchen appliance: she only had the money and space for one, and couldn’t decide between a waffle iron and a sandwich maker. Replies were heavily weighted towards the waffle side – understandable, in my opinion, because who needs a machine to make a sandwich? It started to get weird when someone in the waffle camp shot down the grilled cheesist argument about melty cheese being better than waffles by saying you could melt cheese on waffles.
Whoa there.
Usually, I wouldn’t get too worked up about waffles. They’re pretty far down my list of preferred breakfast carbohydrates, behind pancakes, crepes, and french toast. But in what crazy world are people gumming up a waffle’s tiny perfect squares with a melting slice of cheddar? “Waffles are for syrup!” I protested. Maybe whipped cream and strawberries if they’re for dessert, but cheese is right out.
Then someone suggested Bearnaise sauce, and all hell broke loose. I just viscerally disliked the very idea of non-syrup toppings on waffles. 

Shortly after the Waffle Wars broke out, my friend Angelique asked me about chicken and waffles:

Allow me to expand on my response.
I don’t understand the idea of “chicken and waffles” because:
  1. It’s a breakfast food paired with a not-breakfast food. “Steak and eggs” on a breakfast menu seems a little weird to me too. I feel like pork is an acceptable breakfast meat, but other meats don’t belong with pancakes or waffles. I concede this may be my own cultural conditioning talking.
  2. Wait, is chicken and waffles even FOR breakfast? Is it dinner? Where does it belong? I need labels. I like categories.
  3. It’s bone-in fried chicken, which is normally eaten with one’s hands. But waffles are a fork food. I can’t picture how one successfully eats this meal, especially since Google image searches lead me to believe that one is often piled on the other. Do I pick up the chicken and eat it, taking waffle bites from time to time? Do I fight the fried chicken pieces with a knife and fork, crushing the waffle beneath? I’m also told that syrup is usually involved in this dish too, which confuses me even more, because it would make the chicken harder to pick up and eat.
In a bold, unexpected, psychological attack, maple-syrup-hater Tasha sent me a link to a bunch of non-traditional waffle recipes, many of which cross firmly into “dinner” territory. Like chili topping a cornbread waffle, for example. At first I was appalled by the concept, but as I scrolled through the list, a couple of recipes actually appealed to me. What does that mean?

After more thought than I probably should have devoted to this topic, I’ve come to the conclusion that my issue isn’t with savory waffles, per se. It’s with dinner waffles. Waffles are a breakfast thing. Like French toast or croissants. This ham and cheese waffle makes sense to me, because it can still be served at breakfast (or maybe brunch), and I’d still be within reason to dump maple syrup on it.

Those people who are monkeying around with waffles for dinner… well, I contend that once you’re making them out of cornbread and putting chili on them or using them as the bread layer of a BLT sandwich, they’re really “waffles” in name only. It’s like if someone made curry French toast. Ok, so maybe it’s technically French toast, but it’s so far from what we know and love as French toast that they probably should have given it another name entirely. But what do I know? I prefer pancakes anyway.

*Picard. By a mile.