Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What happened to the Wafel?

Even though the Belgians were very careful about garding their culinary secrets, in the early 1960's the Belgian Wafel did manage to escape the country. It is believed to have boarded one of the early PanAm flights from Brussels to JFK. Last time the real Belgian Wafel was spotted, was in 1964 at the World Fair in Flushing, Queens. At a recreation of a medieval Belgian village fairgoers were treated to a new taste sensation in the form of the "Bel-Gem Waffle" — a combination of waffle, strawberries and whipped cream.

It was a huge success, but after a brief stint as a World Fair starlet, the escaped Wafel very soon lost touch with its roots. It started hanging out with Donuts, French Toasts and Fried Eggs at greasy local diners. It all went downhill from there. The Belgian Waffle ended up in the gutter, working street and franchised itself to places like the Waffle House and IHOP. After that, no one believed the real Belgian Wafel could ever make a comeback again. Remarkably, there were still some companies willing the squeeze the last life out of the troubled Belgian Wafel. For Kellogg and Van's, business is still booming with their "Eggo Waffle" or "Classic Belgian Blueberry Waffle". But far away in Europe, many Belgians are cringing and crying in disbelief when they listen to the horror stories about what happened to their escaped Belgian Waffle.

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TODAY SHOW hosts the Waffle Guy

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