Why Are Belgian Waffles The Standard In American Restaurants Now???
Hope this is the right board to place this in. I put it here by using the process of elimination.
Anyway, I noticed in the past maybe 15 years that Belgian Waffles are the standard in American restaurants. I've always favored the classic American Waffle over the Belgian Waffle. As a matter of fact I never did like Belgian Waffles but recently I got so used to them at restaurants that I don't dislike them anymore but I do prefer standard classic American Waffles over Belgian style any day.
Prior to the mid '90s or so it was standard to serve the classic American Waffle in restaurants but now you hardly can find them in restaurants and always are served, well not always but most the time are served the Belgian Waffles. If I want the classic American Waffle I need to make them at home myself and I noticed in stores the Belgian Waffle irons are sold more so than the classic American style of Waffle maker.
I don't mind making them at home but if I don't feel like cooking I'd like to go to a restaurant and get a classic American Waffle rather than a Belgian, but like I say I can eat the Belgian without having a problem with that, just prefer the classic American Waffle.
Anyone have any idea why the Belgian has taken over in popularity in the United States?
Because the company that makes the (malted) Belgian waffle mix provides the specialized waffle iron to the end user at no charge and will trade out the waffle iron when it burns out. Plus, if it's a heavy production kitchen making a waffle is a no brainer and frees the cook up from having to monitor and check a waffle for doneness. It's super simple, just pour the batter into the preheated and sprayed waffle iron using the preportioned utensil the manufacturer provides, close the lid, flip the iron over, hit the timer and let it go till the buzzer sounds that it's done.
So, if you're an operator and Waffles of (fill in the name of your state) comes in and says..."use my waffle mix and move x cases a month and I'll give you the waffle irons at no charge" and you've got about $.50 worth of product cost and about 1 minute of labor cost and you can charge $5.50 and more for a waffle, what are you going to do? Sell the waffle and bank the rest.
Belgian waffles are cheap, easy to product, require very little labor and return a very good margin.
re: Karl S
Great point Karl. I never really was thinking about the differences in recipes and ingredients in a Belgian vs American waffle. I guess most waffle makers in the home setting use the standard American recipe or mixes but put them in their Belgian waffle makers rather than seek out the proper recipe for Belgian. Not sure if I've ever had a real Belgian waffle in terms of recipe or just American waffle recipes in Belgian waffle makers when going out to restaurants. Not sure how accurate restaurants are. But man, the regular American waffle shape is a better waffle in my opinion.
re: Karl S
Karl, thank you for the link to the recipe that you posted in the other thread. I've never made those types before so I'm gonna use your recipe. When I got my new waffle iron I got the Krusteaz brand Belgian waffle mix. Some might not like that stuff because it's not from scratch but I actually did like it. I did check the ingredients and did notice that there was no yeast in them so they are not real Belgian waffle mix. Can't wait to try your recipe out. Thanks much ...
I purchased a waffle iron, via Amazon Dot Com. It is a Cuisinart classic style waffle maker in a 7 inch round diameter. Man I love it. Okay I only tried it out once so far and that was today, the day after I got it delivered by UPS but I have to say the first day it worked out great and my mom and niece loved it too. I was thinking of getting a Belgian style waffle maker since they are readily available and the classic waffle makers are not as easy to locate locally. Well I gave it much thought and realized that I should get the classic even if I have to mail order it via
Amazon rather than get it locally because Belgians are okay but classic waffles are many times better in my taste. It was well worth it. So far so good but only time will tell how durable it is. I read reviews and the reviews say it's a good unit.
Thanks everyone for responding to my question. At Roscoe's which is a soul food place in the LA area they have chicken and waffles. I had them once a long time ago but it's my understanding that they still serve the classic American Waffle, not Belgian or any sort of variation of it.
gfr, thanks for the story on the 1964 World's Fair. Man, that was 3 years before I was born. I don't care much for strawberries and that kind of stuff on my waffles. I just love the regular maple syrup, butter, and powdered sugar. I can take it or leave it when it comes to whip cream on it.
I wonder what they're serving at the Waffle House chain. Last time I was there they had old fashioned round waffle irons that had dregs of waffle batter handing over the sides at all times. Guess we all need to go out to second hand shops and buy our own old fashioned waffle irons. I wish I could fill every square with butter and not worry about it!
Waffle House still serves the same thin, round waffles. I wasn't impressed, but I tend to like my waffles crispy and not soft. Mine was barely golden and it was limp. Yuk. We have a place here called LoLo's Chicken and Waffles that serves the same thin, round waffle, but they are *much* better than WH.
I almost bought a 1950's chrome waffle iron off Etsy, but I have no more room in my kitchen for small appliances.
I have no idea why. But it is a SHAME.
I am an angry waffle lover too.
I went so far as to start collecting antique waffle irons. I have several kinds but my favorite is the big round one- with the medium holes. It produces the waffle with "flex" and it could be described as a "semi-crunch" -where the butter gets stuck in some of the holes but it is still soft and chewy.
Let's keep the old American waffle alive for the sake of our children!!!!!! (play patriotic music...while holding some pure maple syrup).
I'm 60. As an old guy, here is what I have observed. In 1964 someone introduced Belgian waffles at the New York World's Fair. I'd guess it was the Belgians at the Belgian pavilion, but I don't really remember. The waffles got a lot of free publicity, and the waffles were typically served with strawberries in a strawberry sauce thickened with corn starch on top of the waffle. Around the edges, whoever was selling them piled on an incredible amount of heavy whipped cream. You held them in your hands and ate them. They were delicious and the heavy-duty crunchy nature of Belgian waffles stood up well to the wet toppings.
Flash forward a few years and you started to notice that Belgian waffles were popping up on cafe menus. Back then, you could still easily buy one of two other types of waffles, determined primarily by how deep the wells in the the "tick-tac-toe" grid were. The ones with the deeper wells were usually crunchier and took longer to cook and were, therefore, darker. But they weren't as crunchy as the Belgian waffles.
The third kind had a rather shallow well and turned out, after being cooked, more light golden brown than its deeper-welled cousin. It wasn't as crunchy as either of its cousins but seemed more popular than deeper-welled cousin.
After a while, the deeper-welled cousin disappeared from cafe menus. Then the deeper-welled waffle irons started to be hard to find at cooking stores. They are now near-impossible to find, but if you look hard enough, you can still find them.
Finally, the shallow welled waffles started disappearing from cafe menus, leaving patrons with one choice: the Belgian waffle.
I agree that the Belgian waffle "take over" took a long time and the other types of waffles probably did not disappear near-completely until the 1990s. (And I am certain that someone will write in that they they can go down to their local corner cafe and still get the shallow-welled or medium-welled waffle--probably a New Yorker. But percentage-wise the triumph of the Belgian waffle is near-complete.
Personally, I preferred the medium-well waffle. Belgian waffles are usually too crunchy for my taste. I like a little "give" to my waffle, but trying to find one of the medium-welled waffles in a restaurant is a challenge.
As to why the Belgian waffle has taken over, I think the Belgian waffle is regarded as a dessert food and it stands up better to (say) ice cream or some other near-liquid topping. It does not get soggy. It retains its crunch--although, in my opinion, too much of it.
I'm sure that someone reading this will comment that the Belgians invented the Belgian waffle by creating a metal grid which was heated over a fire in (say) 1872. So be it. But my contention is that the popularity of the Belgian waffle took off after the New York World's Fair where it featured prominently ins news spots because it was different and delicious.
My guess is pure marketing. Just saying it, "Belgian waffles" sounds a lot more special than "waffles."
My only gripe with waffles these days is many casual places/people think them just as shaped pancakes. Unless I go to a specialized place or pay double figures, I almost expect to get sad, mushy/soft waffles, which are just as depressing as getting a non-crisp deep fried food.