Did you ever notice how many of our foods are named after people or places? Sometimes it’s easy to track down the how and why of the name, other times it’s impossible. Belgian waffles are deep, crisp,and lighter than a traditional waffle and have an interesting naming history.
They were introduced in the 1950s to the world during the Brussels World Exposition. In 1964 they were introduced to North America during the World’s Fair, which was held in New York. In Belgium, the waffle is known as the Brussels waffle, but Belgians worried that people might not know where Brussels was, so they called their waffle the Belgian waffle for the New York World’s Fair. It also helped that the waffle was found in the Belgian pavilion. The rest as they say, is history.
I prefer homemade buttermilk waffles which have a little more body to them. Buttermilk waffles are still light and fluffy, but in a different way from the Belgian recipes, which to me aren’t as tasty. There are countless varieties of frozen waffles available for quick breakfasts, too. And then there are the toppings. Plain, butter, syrup, fruit, peanut butter, cinnamon, whipped cream, the toppings are limited only by your imagination.
Winter time is the perfect time to try something new for breakfast, and the library has many breakfast cookbooks for you to explore. Try a recipe from one of these:
“The Waffle Cookbook” by Leslie Freiberger has a recipe for Belgian waffles along with many others for breakfast. Included are waffle recipes for peaches and cream, power waffles, mandarin oranges, onion, cranberry, yam ‘n’ banana, bran, cantaloupe, and more. The author loves waffles so much she has included chapters for appetizers, lunch, dinner, and desserts. Lots of waffles for sure.
Dorie Greenspan gives us “Pancakes From Morning to Midnight.” There are recipes for every season and every meal of the day. For breakfast there two basic recipes — one with buttermilk, the other without to get you started. Then you can also try cornmeal cakes, buckwheat, multi-grain, yeast, and many flavored ones that include cranberries, honey, strawberries, peaches, etc.
How about a nice warm muffin for breakfast? You’ll find more than 600 recipes in “The Ultimate Muffin Book” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. Ginger, tea, coffeecake, fig, pear, Parmesan, macaroon, and Pina colada barely touch the surface of the varieties in this book.
“Bread for Breakfast” by Beth Hensperger contains recipes for many different kinds of morning delights. Sweet rolls, holiday breads, scones, muffins, coffee cakes, even pancakes and waffles. Also included are recipes for butters, jams, fruit and cheese spreads. Some of those are so tasty, you may not limit yourself to having them just for breakfast.
“The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough uses the ingredient in recipes for every meal of the day and more. For breakfast try peanut butter granola, coffee cake ring, peanut butter johnny cakes, waffles or pancakes, scones, french toast, breads, and more. And if you really like peanut butter, don’t miss some of the other goodies such as peanut butter potstickers, peanut butter malt and more.
Calorie conscious? “Good Housekeeping Light & Healthy Cooking” has all kinds of recipes in a chapter for breakfasts and brunches. Low-fat granola, apple-fig compote, frittatas that use egg whites to replace many full eggs, pancakes and muffins that have been calorie reduced, and a french toast that has been reworked to make it healthy are just a few for you to sample. These and others will help get your day off to a good start without busting the calorie counter.
Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.
Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at www.thedailystar.com/librarycorner.