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By Bailey Andress
Waffles are the ultimate breakfast food. Unlike pancakes, their crispy ridges and well-defined texture are a major reason why waffles are a breakfast staple. In a recent poll of Upper School students, approximately 53 percent of students replied that they prefer waffles over pancakes. Although Team Waffle prevailed, a large percentage of students chose pancakes. The survey highlighted the superiority of waffles and provided insight into the numerous misunderstandings prevalent on Team Pancake.
The fundamental difference between pancakes and waffles lies in the waffle’s signature craters. Waffle enthusiast Zach Bostic (‘18) described the heavenly “reservoir of sugary deliciousness” created by pouring syrup into each individual hole, which provide ample space for toppings. Fellow waffle lover Mohith Dhillon (‘18) reiterated Bostic’s argument, stating, “the delightful squares provided by waffles are able to detain the wild free spirit of syrup and allows for a delicious bite with minimal syrup spillage upon the plate.” A major feature of waffle consumption is the use of toppings, which is far more exciting due to the topography of waffles. The grid pattern is especially helpful from an aesthetic perspective, as individual squares can be filled with syrup to create a visual masterpiece. The geometric design also helps encourage healthy portion sizes, as waffles can be easily split into halves or quarters and saved for a snack later in the day.
Pancake fanatic Anne Mason Ruth (‘19) stated that she prefers pancakes over waffles as one can “make [pancakes] into fun, different shapes.” However, waffles also come in a variety of shapes. The classic Belgian Waffle is typically round or square in shape and is made using a conventional waffle maker. More elaborate waffle shapes, including zoo animals, marine life, computer keyboards, and hearts can be achieved using special waffle irons. Additionally, waffles can be molded into entertaining, three-dimensional shapes. The additional height and structure of a waffle allow shapes otherwise impossible when made with pancakes.
Unlike pancakes, waffles are used in a variety of other dishes. William Fallon (‘19) describes his affinity for one particular delicacy, stating that Chicken N’ Waffles is an “outstanding combo,” unlike Chicken N’ Pancakes, which is “just not a thing.” Waffles are also incredible useful with ice cream. Waffle cones and waffle bowls offer crunchy and delightful vehicles for a variety of ice cream flavors, a feat which is impossible for a floppy pancake to achieve. The structural integrity of waffles also contribute to the Instagram trend of “waffle pops,” which are individual waffles covered in toppings and placed on a stick. California-based company Sweet Combforts transforms traditional Belgium Liege waffles into trendy treats, with a goal “to make everyone’s Liege waffle experience a delicious and memorable one.” Waffles are simply far more versatile than pancakes.
In response to the survey, numerous Upper School students admitted that they prefer the soft texture of a pancake over the structure and crunch of a waffle. Owen Riddle (‘20) suggested that “waffles taste like stale cardboard,” while pancake supporter Will Hanson (‘21) said that when poured on waffles, syrup “just pools there instead of spreading.” Although waffles do limit the spreading of syrup, the “cardboard” texture mentioned by Riddle is eliminated by syrup. Additionally, pancakes become gooey and oversaturated with syrup over time, while waffles rarely lose texture due to syrup. Even if a waffle becomes softer due to syrup, it mimics the original texture of a pancake and does not become as soggy as a hyper-saturated pancake. Pancakes are essentially syrup sponges, and all too often I find myself regretting the amount of syrup I poured onto a pancake. With waffles, I always experience a wonderful breakfast with a more enticing texture and a grid system to ensure perfectly-measured syrup servings.
A few pro-pancake survey responses indicated that pancakes require more skill to make. Nate Stephen (‘19) emphasized that “pancakes are for people who know how to cook,” and other responses highlighted how pancake making is more difficult than using a waffle iron. However, the easy process of waffle-making is an advantage over pancakes. The simplicity involved in mixing ingredients, pouring, and waiting allows for inexperienced breakfast makers to create a delicious breakfast with ease. The estimating and flipping involved in making pancakes adds a degree of difficulty that separates some breakfast eaters from a positive experience.
The Eggo waffle truly embodies the convenience of waffles. Unlike pancakes, Eggo waffles can be easily toasted to perfection. Spencer Lyons (‘18) described the simple process of creating an Eggo breakfast, stating “The simplicity of Eggo waffles can’t be beat: toast ’em on high for 3 minutes, drown ’em in Aunt Jemima’s syrup, and enjoy.”
Waffles are far superior to pancakes in terms of texture, aesthetics, and simplicity. With a waffle iron and batter, nearly anything is possible. As Zach Bostic (‘18) so eloquently stated, “I’ll take a dozen, please and thank you.”
Featured photo credit: Rachel Farnsworth.