Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Escape from the Shire

If Tolkien ever had to choose a real country for his Hobbits, he would probably have picked Belgium. The patchwork of green fields bordered by hedges and rows of poplar trees waving in the wind would make a pretty good Shire to Frodo. Just like Hobbits, Belgians love jokes, play and parties, and are especially known for loving good food. In America, we have come to know the two pillars of Belgium's culinary reputation: endives and brussels sprouts. Ok, maybe not. Make that beer and chocolate. Make that a LOT of beer and even MORE chocolate.
In America, those two words pretty much define Belgium.
Beer. Chocolate.
So is that all there is to Belgian cuisine? Well, not really. Belgians have perfected the art of living well by finding a happy medium between the drama of French froglegs and the rigor of German wurst. They just simply enjoy life in their small bucolic villages and medieval towns.

But the little Belgians have a sneaky side to them and so they have kept a bunch of their culinary hobbit secrets for themselves. Only chocolate and beer were allowed to leave Belgium and made it into the wide world. And not so long ago, somewhere in the 1960's, one other food escaped from the Shire: the Wafel. In contrast to our chocolates and beer, the Wafel did not contribute much, if anything at all, to the rise to stardom of Belgium's foods. This is an interesting question that has caught our attention and begs for further inquiry.
What happened to our Wafel?

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TODAY SHOW hosts the Waffle Guy

They don't make 'm anymore like that...