By: Bailey Keck
Waffles are often referred to by so many as a superior breakfast starch, a much preferable option to the likings of pancakes. However, pancake lovers and enthusiasts alike shall no longer endure the bleak yet hopeful breakfast war they’ve been thrown into by disagreeing family members and colleagues. When the evidence for the deliciousness, preference, and utility of both waffle and pancakes are analyzed objectively, a clear winner emerges from the ashes, and it’s not the one that takes its shape after the cheese grater.
First, it’s essential to peer into the long and complicated stories of both the waffle and pancake, as well as their evolution or lack thereof throughout the centuries. Historians have placed the waffle to have originated in Ancient Greece, and dubbed Obelios. The crusaders, after pillaging and massacring the population centers of the Middle East, decided they should hijack some spices and export them back to Europe. Centuries later, Dutch waffle makers incorporated the stolen spices into the batter, awarding the mix with a healthy dose of cinnamon and ginger. They also decided to switch from standard circular stones to enclose and cook the batter, and instead reverted to that of a grid. It is speculated that this was done to fool the gullible customer that they were receiving a decently sized dish, while ⅔ of the volume of the waffle was missing due to it’s peglike cutouts. Soon after, different cultures diverged from standard recipes and waffle eating mannerisms, diverging into separate branches of habit. The french “enjoyed” their waffles after they had been handled by (often unsanitary) street vendors, whilst the dutch experienced their waffles as a midday snack, much like a crumpet to the British (although the former is arguably much worse). After the stingy American restaurants got their hands on the waffle from the dutch, they immediately switched to a cheaper from of applying any form of sweetness atop the ever popular waffle, syrup. Many attempts have been made to reform the waffle industry, such as the introduction of microwavable and toastable variations, although they barely find their way to be sub par when compared to the original. For such a boring and deceiving foundation, it would be such a relief if the history of pancakes offered some sort of comfort in the evolution of our favorite breakfast foods.
And don’t worry, it does. The pancake’s long and sophisticated path runs smoothly and without bumps, much like its own curvature. Unlike the floury grid, the pancake has a much more thorough and complicated evolution, one that traces its roots all the way back 300,000 years and underwent its rise to fame in the middle ages. In the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, the commoners and nobility alike dined on pancakes often sweetened with readily available honey. Those in the Elizabethan era cooked and enlightened their small circular delicacies with rosewater and apples. The meal was a common staple, even amongst the peasantry, often prepared to rid pantries of soon to spoil food, as casseroles are today. In less populated areas, civilians dined on pancakes to celebrate religious holidays and new harvest. In France, masterminds of the culinary arts combined the lovely textural components of a pancake and decided to add more milk and less hearty substances, creating a much thinner and sweeter dish that can be enjoyed with both savory and sweet flavor combinations. They deemed this creation the crepe and it caught on like wildfire. In the midst of the revolutionary war, pancakes were often fed to starving minutemen, called johnny cakes at the time. Isn’t it a peculiar thought that there is still a debate revolving around the pancake and waffle conundrum, when one was fed to our fledgling nations fearless defenders, and the other serves only as an inferior last minute resort? Not to mention all the sorts of deviations from popular pancake culture the breakfast food has undergone. People now spread peanut butter, place blueberries, or even embed sliced apples into their dish, when traditionally only syrup was poured across the surface, almost an enlightenment movement in and of itself.
Next, we will evaluate both the texture and desirability of both the beige cheese grater, and the luxurious pancake. At first glance, a waffle breakfast may seem inviting, drawing you in with a powerful aroma of both sweetened dough and syrup. However, once pierced into, the eating experience of the waffle changes from something of a dreamlike experience to a hellish nightmare. The often burnt and crisped edges are often sharp, beckoning blood to be drawn from the roof of the mouth or become lodged in between the teeth causing inflammation in the gums. Once you break the next to impenetrable shell of the waffle, the satisfying gooey center provides somewhat of a comfort, although still arguably less spongy than that of a pancake. Whilst chewing the mess of a starch, you may realize the glass-like slivers loosen themselves from the gums and make their way to your stomach. Now, as your stomach attempts to deconstruct the slivers lodging themselves in your stomachs walls, pain will shoot through the body and render the consumer of the waffle unable to concentrate on anything but the sharp sensation for at least one hour.
Pancakes deliver a much superior first bite and the overall texture is indisputably better than that of the crispy connect four board. The moment ones front teeth pierce the thin membrane that makes up the outside of the pancake, the consumer is introduced to a roller coaster ride of emotions and pleasure. As they dig in, a fluffy clump of doughy goodness will make its way towards the stomach. The syrupy goodness and pure batter, not scorched until unrecognition unlike like its counterpart, coat the tongue and provide minutes worth of flavor and sustenance, rather than a mouthful of obnoxious and potentially dangerous spikes. As the diner impatiently takes their next bite, the circular body of the pancake diminishes in size and a delicious mix of butter and syrup is introduced. As the thick liquid enters the oral cavity, the eater is enticed to take an even bigger bite. Whilst the teeth rake in spongy and soft breakfast matter, it slowly inches it’s noninvasive self towards the throat, warming the esophagus on its journey downwards. As the digestive fluids easily tears apart the delicate fibers of the pancake, the body is relieved from the long and demanding digestive process of other more durable breakfast foods. It truly is a exceptional experience for the whole of the human character, which gently travels through the digestive tract without causing unneeded suffering, a treatment the waffles fails to offer their consumers.
Next, we will turn to the utility of both the breakfast foods in attempts to establish a superior starch. We will begin with the waffle. Any generic waffle is bound to come pressed full of peg-shaped holes, and many waffle enthusiasts taut these additions as somehow superior to its flat counterpart. However, anybody with OCD or a vague understanding of organization undoubtedly should cower in the corner when asked to pour the thick syrup unevenly into the holes, causing the waffled to become limp in some areas due to a non proportional distribution of the syrup. Waffles also provide the illusion of their readiness to be made as multiple waffle makers that are relatively easy to use have been produced over the years. Sadly, many of these said makers require the users undivided attention as a 30 second delay in the flipping of the wapple can cause the whole side to be scorched beyond recognition. Waffle consumers also forget that for every drop of syrup that lands in the holes, there is also a drop that clasps onto the ridge separating the inconvenient abyss. This causes a buildup of syrup and any other kind of sweet addition to gather on the upper lip as it clamps down on the deceivingly clean edge of said waffle. Waffles overall try too hard to be both crisp and spongy simultaneously. While trying to make up for its inherent crippling attributes, the thick and easy to burn exterior, waffle houses try to compensate by under-cooking the center of the waffle, which can either be incredibly disappointing or what you hoped you would have had the whole time. Waffle manufactures have also tainted the sacredness of the waffle by mass producing, in the case of Eggo, waffles with the same exact texture of a pancake when placed in the microwave, and a product that mirrors the consistency of lightly toasted toast when placed in the toaster.
The pancake, contrary to popular belief, is actually far superior to the waffle in the category of utility. To begin, pancakes and other similarly circular dishes, easily fit the natural curvature of the mouth and don’t require contortions of the lips. They also are easily preserved and fit over each other in nice little stacks, with gravity pulling on their flaccid form and compacting them to allow maximum room for other refrigerated food. Pancakes can also be used as a last resort attempt to construct circles in geometry class. Although seemingly unpractical, a pancake often spreads into the shape of a circle as it evenly flows away from a center drop point. Those hoping to raise their grade in geometry should request their parents make them an emergency pancake in the morning in case an over excited teacher decides to surprise them with a quiz. To top off the list, pancakes’ smooth and spongy surface allows for knives to easily glide across the top evenly supplying the pancake with a thin layer of peanut butter and other thick substances. More “liquidy” toppings can be squirted onto the waffle from a previously determined center point, and will also evenly disperse itself among the pancake, saving the consumer half the work.
It is crucial to also take into consideration the health facts and nutrition of both the waffle and pancake. Although I doubt anyone would argue it’s healthy to gorge on these foods on a regular basis, it would be helpful to come to a conclusion on which one is healthier in moderation. Because of the set size of a waffle maker, it is impossible to mold your breakfast to a more satisfactory size, and those that attempt to pour less batter in will be suprise with a smoking charred mess requiring precious time spent on tedious scraping to remove. The ingredients of the waffle itself don’t seem to have any benefits other than the protein from an egg, and the option to add whole wheat mix. If endured, the mix can reduce constipation and serves as an adequate source of vitamin b. The overall structure of the waffle also contributes to its unhealthy nature. The holes that waffle enthusiasts are ever so fond of trap any syrup or topping, allowing any extra not necessarily needed topping to gather up and create a pocket of diabetes inducing muck. Pancakes, as they require no set equipment to make, can be poured into different sized molds or allowed to thin themselves out as they outwardly expand over a griddle. This gives the pancake maker complete freedom over what size of pancake would fit their desires. Pancakes are also 20% less calorie dense than waffles and, for an already superior breakfast, you treat yourself in the fact that you are gaining slightly less weight while enjoying your breakfast just that much more. The ever so gentle slope of the waffle causes any excess toppings to slowly make their way off and pile onto the plate rather than into the consumers stomach to later wreak havoc on their digestive tract.
The last and final criteria to be analyzed is the artistic opportunity (or the lack thereof) presented by both the waffle and the pancake. The waffle presents us with nothing but an absence of material to create any sort of visual masterpiece or artwork. The more stubborn batter that is required to be pressed full of inconvenient little holes causes any attempted work to resemble that of the moon after a meteor shower. The craters render any attempted work unrecognizable, and lines designated for outline shapes or shading are often blended together during the cooking process. The pancake, as seen before, remains a promising option, allowing for artists to go wild and mastermind beautiful designs. Pancake artists, many of whom have made successful careers on Youtube, use two thicknesses of batter to create both outline and filler. The artist utilizes a plethora of varying sized squeeze bottles, each containing different colors and thicknesses. Works can vary from faces intended to portray celebrities to short sentences and profound quotes. Once the work is considered finished, the pancake artist reveals the side in contact with the griddle, as it is often more clear of a picture and presents the viewer with a more full picture of the intended design.
The ever so intimidating war on pancakes has finally been resolved. If any waffle enthusiast attempts to come up to you and debunk your position on the reigning breakfast starch, reply by linking them this article. Pancake enthusiasts must no longer sit in the dark and watch as waffle eaters pass by, flaunting their incompetence to realize which one is better, and remarking the craters in a waffle as revolutionary, although clearly they are nothing but an inconvenience. Pancake eaters should, from now on, take the fight to the tyrannical waffle overlords and parade through the streets proving their loyalty to what clearly is a superior breakfast food.