You might think you know a thing or two about Belgian waffles -- like exactly how much whipped cream they can support, or how many you can eat before the breakfast buffet kicks you out -- but the average American has a severely warped understanding of the food. As The Huffington Post details in their waffle expose, we're not only making Belgian waffles incorrectly, we're also eating them all wrong.
When the Vermersch family introduced Belgian waffles to the US at the 1964 World's Fair in Queens, New York, they served a Brussels-style treat that came plain or with strawberries and whipped cream. One thing it didn't come with? A fork. MariePaule Vermersch says her Mother used to refuse cutlery to customers on principle. Since waffles were a street food eaten with your hands in Belgium, the Vermersches insisted they be served the traditional way. But in the ensuing decades, Americans clung to their forks, and also began messing with the recipe so "Belgian waffles" started resembling pressed pancakes more than the OG Brussels- (or Liege-) style dish. Nowadays, most iterations are "Belgian" the same way that fries are "French." (Read: not at all.)
Luckily, you can still find waffles that hem closer to the classic at food carts like New York's Wafels & Dinges, or even brick-and-mortar spots like Boston's Zinneken's. Be sure to bring plenty of napkins.
Kristin Hunt is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and believes there's no wrong way to eat a waffle. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.