Once it became clear that the U.S. men's national soccer team would be facing Belgium in the World Cup, waffle-loving Americans fell (or, perhaps, were unwittingly pushed) into a sharp divide between deliciousness and patriotism.
Belgium, as we noted today, is cherished for many great things. Perhaps, the most well-known and celebrated — gluten be damned — is the Belgian waffle. But as the game approached, affinity for Belgian waffles transformed into the modern day analogue of "Freedom fry" patriotism, putting the breakfast regular under assault.
Leading the way, was that great staple of the American South, Waffle House, which called for a boycott of Belgian waffles.
We don't believe in Belgium waffles— Waffle House (@WaffleHouse) June 30, 2014
The Wire spoke with Waffle House spokesman Patrick Warner, who had many things to say about the Belgian Waffle boycott ("It started with a tweet by a Waffle House fan") and sought to elucidate the divide between Old World waffles and the glory of America's breaded breakfast bounty. He listed them:
We serve American waffles. Belgian waffles are square. Ours are round. Belgian waffles have bigger grids. Ours are smaller, which is better for syrup distribution."
And then, he dropped the hammer.
Waffle House waffles have a sweet cream batter and have since we started serving them in 1955."
Coincidentally enough, that was the very year that Belgium's colonial adventurism in the Congo began its inelegant denouement. Most importantly, Warner added, "We prefer our waffles to Belgium's."
But Waffle House didn't escape the Belgian waffle war entirely unscathed. There were media smears.
There were competitors, of course, seeking to undermine their campaign at every turn. See North Carolina-based Bojangles, hawker of unbelievably good biscuits.
Or better yet:
And what of purveyors of unmistakably Belgian waffles?
I stopped by Wafels & Dinges, a food truck fleet and cafe that slings decadent Belgian fare at several different locations across New York, and asked how business was faring.
Ana, who whipped up three fantastic Mini Wafelinis for The Wire staff, admitted that business had been slow, but blamed that more on the July weather than a fickle surge of American food-based patriotism.
As an American company with Belgian roots, Wafels and Dinges sought to channel Belgium's binational ethos into its business practices for the big game.
so we are giving every customer a free Belgian Style wafel in the 15min after a Belgian World Cup goal— Wafels & Dinges (@waffletruck) July 1, 2014
AND a free scoop of ICE CREAM after an Americal World Cup goal!!— Wafels & Dinges (@waffletruck) July 1, 2014
"Some people think it's too hot for waffles," Ana said. "But that's why we have ice cream."
I think we can all get behind that.