Wonderful Waffle Facts
How the brunch favorite made its way from ancient times to our breakfast table
From the LifeMinute.TV Team
August 24, 2021
Waffles are considered one of the oldest desserts in history. Check out how they evolved to become the breakfast staple we love today.
In ancient times the Greeks cooked flat cakes called obelios between hot metal plates. Around medieval times, these cakes spread to Europe, making them more like the honeycomb style waffle we enjoy today. The waffle continued to gain popularity through the late Middle Ages and Renaissance era, with evidence of it first being sold on the streets of England in 1603. Many different waffle styles emerged out of Belgium and Holland that are still popular today.
Waffle-making made its way to America with Dutch colonists in the 1620s. As early as the 1740s, colonists in New Jersey and New York were having parties known as "waffle frolics." Thomas Jefferson was one of the first American waffle lovers, bringing back four waffle irons he bought in Amsterdam back from his time in France in 1789.
Dutch-American Cornelius Swartwout received the first patent for a waffle iron in the U.S. on August 24th, 1869. This date would later be known as National Waffle Day.
The Dorsa Brothers first introduced Eggo frozen toaster waffles to supermarkets in 1953. They were originally called “Froffles,” but in 1955 changed to “Eggos” because of their eggy taste. In the 1970s, Kellogg purchased the brand.
In 1955, neighbors Joe Rogers, Sr. and Tom Forkner opened the first Waffle House in Avondale Estates, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Today the chain serves up as many as 145 waffles per minute.
In 1972, U.S. Olympic track coach Bill Bowerman, who later co-founded Nike, applied for a patent for sneakers he designed with a rubber studded sole to provide better traction, using his wife’s waffle iron to create the patterned grips on the bottom of a shoe.
There are many different varieties of waffles. The Belgian waffle is also known as a Brussels waffle. It’s light and crispy but with deep ridges and leavened with yeast. The American style is leavened with baking powder instead of yeast. Also invented in Belgium and predating the Belgian waffle, the Liège is made with a yeast-based dough. It is softer, denser, and sweeter due to a caramelized sugar coating. There is also the Stroopwafel and Pizzelle, which are more cookie-like. And don’t forget the waffle cone!
Today we enjoy waffles with everything from fruit, nuts, ice cream, and chocolate on top.