The History of Waffles

Waffles have been a favorite food for hundreds of years, possibly dating back to the 13th Century. It is safe to say that Americans have developed a bit of a fascination, perhaps an obsession. From novelty breakfast cereals to decadent masterpieces. Are frozen waffles your standard breakfast staple? Well, after you read about the history of waffles, you will earn a fine appreciation of this treat. So leego the eggo and dive into these tasty chronicles.

Where it Began

The first waffle irons with the characteristic honeycomb pattern appeared in the 1200’s when a craftsman designed and forged cooking irons. Orginal irons featured a hinged design. Consequently, the batter was poured in, pressed together, and cooked over an open hearth fire. It is at this time the word for waffles, which comes from the old French word, guafre, translated to Old English wafla, first appears in print.

Over the years, in Europe, waffles become commonly sold by street vendors. As a result, by the 16th Century, all of the society is eating waffles. The poor make them using pretty much from flour and water. Therefore they resemble a thick biscuity cake. However, the privileged classes add eggs, milk, and honey which create a tasty, delicate treat.

Historical Timeline

The History of Waffles1620 – After the Pilgrims spend time in Holland before sailing to the Americas, in 1620 the Dutch bring “wafles” with them on their voyage.

1735 – The word “waffle” as we know it appears in print.

1789 – Thomas Jefferson returns to the U.S. from France with many French recipes. In addition, he came back with a long-handled waffle iron that encloses the batter and gives the waffle crispness and shape.

1800’s – Waffle “Frolics” or parties become the rage in the South. Guest enjoy their waffles sweet with molasses or syrup or savory with kidney stew. Significantly, this evolves into the Southern folk favorite, Chicken and Waffles.

1869 – Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York, a Dutch-American, receives a patent for the first waffle iron in the U.S., on August 24th. This anniversary of the patent marks National Waffle Day.

1911 – Thomas J. Stackbeck creates the first commercial electric waffle iron for General Electric, and by the 1930’s it becomes a staple in the American kitchen.

1953 – The Dorsa Brothers introduce Eggo frozen toaster waffles to supermarkets throughout the U.S.  Originally called “Froffles,” the name changed in 1955 because everyone referred to them as “Eggos” due to their eggy taste. In the 1970’s, Kellogg purchased the brand.

1964 – Belgian waffles, as we know them today, debut at the New York World’s Fair in Flushing, Queens. Vendor Maurice Vermersch sells his wife’s recipe for Brussels waffles—fluffy yeast waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. A smart marketer, he changes the name to a more familiar country, Belgian waffles. Most noteworthy, the family refused to offer forks or knives because they insisted on serving them authentic. In Brussels, waffles are a street food, served without syrup and then merely with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

We Love Waffles!

Whether you eat them savory or sweet, with your fingers or a fork, smothered in syrup or dusted with powdered sugar we can all agree: waffles are delicious. Hopefully, you have gained a deeper appreciation throughout the history of waffles. Got an instant craving? Come on into Garry’s Grill and munch on an order of waffles right now!