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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Point/Counterpoint: Which is Superior, Waffles or Pancakes?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 2:00 PM

How do we love thee? Let us count the ways... - IMAGE VIA
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  • How do we love thee? Let us count the ways...

According to the Internet, -- and other credible sources, like Waffle House -- the first week of September is National Waffle Week. Our first thought at Gut Check International Headquarters was: Why do pancakes only get one measly day of celebration, while waffles are awarded an entire week? It was a divisive question, spurring loyalists on both sides of this age-old breakfast debate. Today we dissect the subtle nuances of both in an attempt to answer the question: Which is the superior A.M. carbohydrate, waffles or pancakes?

First up, Gut Check makes a case for waffles everywhere.

Point/Counterpoint: Waffles, the Best

  • Texturally, waffles pack more heft and dimension than pancakes, with a surface made of square pockets that evenly soak up butter and maple syrup. The plateau topography of a pancake, however, takes on a messier, slip-and-slide effect when toppings are applied -- syrup, whipped cream, fruit and butter all slosh to the perimeter of the pancake, gliding away. Waffles don't pull that nonsense. They welcome, instead of resist, such additions that enhance their taste and flavor. Waffles want to work with you to be the best breakfast they can be, whereas pancakes don't give a fig.

Don't mess with Texas-shaped waffles. - IMAGE VIA
  • Image via
  • Don't mess with Texas-shaped waffles.

  • Preparing waffles requires a specific appliance -- not just a workaday pan -- which makes them an extra-special treat for those us (not Gut Check, of course) who are too poor or lazy to acquire and maintain a waffle iron. It makes ordering waffles in a restaurant that much more of an experience: You literally can't make this at home. And even for the rich elite who spring for a $20 waffle iron, making waffles at home is still an event. There are classic circular waffle makers, but the world of waffle shapes is wide, with everything from Texas-shaped waffle irons to appliances that bake waffles in the shape of circus animals. Clearly, waffles are complex shape-shifters who can expertly assume many identities, like Mystique from X-Men. Pancakes can sort of do this too, but seriously, not as well.

Waffles cure many ills. Just ask Leslie Knope, the smartest woman alive. - IMAGE VIA
  • Image via
  • Waffles cure many ills. Just ask Leslie Knope, the smartest woman alive.

  • Unlike pancakes, waffles take time to prepare. A standard waffle maker only bakes one waffle at a time, and it's a careful art to pour waffle batter into the appliance as to not overload it -- or, almost more upsetting, under pour the batter. Waffles are not a quick breakfast that one can whip up and eat on-the-go. They require time, patience and care, which in the end, yields the kind of Sunday morning breakfast-in-bed payoff that a long work week deserves.

  • When the waffle cone debuted at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, it wasn't the lame-ass hard-shell waffle cone we've come to know today. It was a fucking waffle. The legend goes that Banner Creamery owner George Bang run out of bowls and instead served ice cream in rolled-up waffles. Thanks to waffles, the world now has waffle cones. What have pancakes ever done to further the consumption of ice cream?

  • In the words of Gut Check hero (and fictional character) Leslie Knope: "We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn't matter, but work is third." Amen, Ms. Knope. Amen

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