Posts Tagged With: Waffle iron

84/365: National Waffle Day & National Pecan Day*

March 25th is set aside to honor not one, not two, but three separate food holidays. While we’d love to tackle all three, it is a work day, and we have other pressing demands. However, as Meatloaf (the singer, not the food) famously said, “two out of three ain’t bad.” So today we’ll celebrate National Waffle Day and National Pecan Day, but skip National Lobster Newburg Day. Besides, that’s a dish similar to National Lobster Thermidor Day, which we already celebrated in January.

In the Rules section of this blog, I even mentioned today specifically: When there are multiple selections on a given day, we only have to try one. However, if we can incorporate more than one, we will. Using the March 25th example, if it’s Pecan Day and Waffle Day, we’ll make Pecan Waffles!

I guess we’re making Pecan Waffles, then!

I already talked about the history of waffles earlier this month, but I didn’t mention Cornelius Swarthout. He is credited with filing the first patent for the modern waffle iron in 1869. His patent (you can take a look at it here – it’s surprisingly detailed and complex) took a cast-iron skillet and added a hinged lid, with a divider for individual waffles. 42 years later, the electric waffle iron was invented by Thomas Steckbeck of General Electric, with a built-in thermometer to prevent the waffles from burning. But perhaps the most interesting waffle-inspired invention of all belongs to Bill Bowerman, track and field coach at the University of Oregon in the 1960s. Bowerman used his wife’s waffle iron to develop a sole for running shoes that was light and grippable. Hopefully he told her this before she made breakfast! Flush with success at the U of O, Bowerman started an athletic footwear distribution company with Phil Knight called Blue Ribbon Sports, which they renamed Nike. His Waffle Trainer (real name) shoe helped catapult Nike to international success in 1974.

Pecan is a species of hickory tree and is the only nut native to North America (other than Phil Spector). It comes from an Algonquin word meaning “a nut requiring a stone to crack.” Doesn’t get much more literal than that, folks. Like other nuts-that-aren’t-nuts (I’m thinking of you, almond), the pecan isn’t a true nut either, but rather the seed of a fruit. Potato, po-tah-to. Native Americans valued pecans as a food source because they provide 2-5 times more calories per unit weight than wild game, and can be eaten as is. Pecans that fall to the ground are still edible the following year, which I guess makes them nature’s leftovers. They were quite popular with Colonial Americans; Thomas Jefferson planted pecan trees at his home in Monticello, and after giving some to George Washington, he in turn planted pecan trees at his home in Mount Vernon. The U.S. grows 80-95% of the world’s pecan crop, with Georgia and Texas the top two pecan-producing states.

We had breakfast for dinner tonight, which allowed us plenty of time to make some tasty pecan waffles. Just a sprinkling of pecans in the batter, and the result was scrumptious!

That’s how you kill two birds with one stone, folks.

Pecan Waffles

Categories: Breakfast, Nuts | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

70/365: National Oatmeal Nut Waffle Day

Today is one of the stranger food holidays this year. Not the ingredients themselves so much as the combination of ingredients. Oatmeal, nuts, and waffles are all celebration-worthy (and each, in fact, has its own national food holiday). But whoever heard of oatmeal nut waffles? It’s an oddly random day to celebrate. But as I’ve said before, we don’t make the rules, we only follow them. So a hearty, happy National Oatmeal Nut Waffle Day to you and yours!

Waffles are essentially communion wafers on steroids. The two emerged at the same time, in the 9th century, and both were initially flavorless discs made with grain flour and water. Early waffle pans were made of iron and depicted images of Jesus and the crucifixion. It took 200 years for folks to realize that waffles might taste decent if they had a little flavor, so ingredients like orange blossom water and honey were added. The first known waffle recipe was published in the 14th century, and read: Beat some eggs in a bowl, season with salt and add wine. Toss in some flour, and mix. Then fill, little by little, two irons at a time with as much of the paste as a slice of cheese is large. Then close the iron and cook both sides. If the dough does not detach easily from the iron, coat it first with a piece of cloth that has been soaked in oil or grease. Hey…why isn’t today National Wine Waffle Day?! Harumph. Modern waffle irons first appeared in the 15th century, with the classic grid shape emerging soon after. Waffle recipes became more sophisticated, with the additions of sugar, butter, and eggs. Dry waffle mix was developed in the 1930s, and the Dorsa brothers from San Jose, California developed a frozen waffle they went on to name Eggo in 1953. Belgian waffles – larger and lighter thanks to the addition of yeast in the batter – were introduced at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and quickly became popular. Americans liked the texture and the bigger squares and deeper pockets, perfect for holding melted butter, syrup, spare change, and lint.

In researching recipes for oatmeal nut waffles, I discovered something interesting: they are very healthy, made with whole wheat flour, and honey in place of sugar. Flush with my baking success yesterday, I whipped up a batch this morning while Tara was getting ready for work, using pecans for the nuts.The waffles were very dense and not at all sweet, but that’s why they invented syrup. Overall they had a good flavor. Tara and I talk about opening a restaurant someday, and these would be a good addition for the health nut/vegan crowd. I doubt I’d make them again, but they did turn out pretty good.

Oatmeal Nut Waffles

Categories: Breakfast, Nuts | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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