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What Does FEMA and Waffle House Have in Common?

Waffle lovers finally have their day of recognition on June 29th as they celebrate National Waffle Iron Day. Some people enjoy their waffles plain with syrup, but we like ours topped with berries, and whipped cream, too. Who knew a simple machine would make such a big impact on our lives?

  • Waffle irons got their start in the 14th century in the Low Countries (an area of Northwestern Europe). Even the earliest designs that were used over an open fire would have elaborate designs such as coats of arms and religious symbols.
  • To waffle means to waver between decisions.
  • The word “waffle” first appears in the English language in 1725.
  • The first patent in the USA for a waffle iron was in 1869, submitted by Cornelius Swarthout.
  • In 1911, General Electric produced a prototype electric waffle iron.
  • The first electric waffle iron was available to the general public in 1918.
  • Nike Co-Founder Bill Bowerman, an Oregon Track Coach at the time, used his wife’s waffle iron to create a sole for footwear that would be lightweight but also grip a surface. This design would soon be called the “Moon Shoe” in 1972 and the “Waffle Trainer” in 1974. His waffle iron shoe helped spur the growth of Blue Ribbon Sports / Nike.
  • One of the most popular uses of waffles came about seemingly by accident, allegedly created by George Bang in 1904. He had run out of bowls to give out with his Banner Creamery Ice Cream and started giving out rolled-up waffles to use instead.
  • The Waffle House, founded in 1955, sells approximately 145 waffles every minute of every day at its 2,100 restaurants in 25 states.
  • Despite being a regional chain, Waffle House serves up a whooping number of waffles per minute. According to Insider, Waffle House serves on average 145 waffles per minute. Not their only menu item, they also provide around 341 strips of bacon, 238 orders of hash browns, and 127 cups of coffee per minute to wash it all down. Since the chain’s opening, they have served an unbelievable 2.5 billion eggs.
  • Although we have proof that waffles may have gotten their start in France or even ancient China, the word “waffle” is descended from the Dutch word for “wafer”.
  • The World’s Record for the largest waffle weighs 110 lb 3.68 oz and was created by Stichting Gouda Oogst (Netherlands) in Nieuwe Markt, Gouda, Netherlands, on 29 June 2013. The waffle had a diameter of 8 ft 1.24 in.
  • Patrick Bertoletti ate 29 waffles in ten minutes in 2007, beating fellow eating champion, Joey Chestnut in the World Waffle Eating Championships.
  • Thomas Jefferson brought to first waffle iron to America.  Crude waffles had been made in the States since the pilgrims brought over the recipe 100 years previously, but this was the first, fancy French waffle maker to grace the U.S. of A.
  • When Eggo frozen waffles were originally introduced in 1953, they had a different name.  Before being named simply after the company in 1955, Eggo called their waffles Froffles. It’s a combination of “frozen” and “waffles”.
  • The Belgium waffle was introduced in America at the 1962 Seattle World Fair. Maurice Vermersch, a Brussels native, was using his wife’s famous recipe to sell waffles as a fair vendor. Nervous that Americans wouldn’t know where Brussels was located, he changed the name to Belgium Waffles, which stuck with US crowds.
  • FEMA uses the Waffle House to measure disasters. Fully prepared to operate on no power and limited supplies, Waffle Houses are open 24/7, even during natural disasters. That’s why FEMA uses “The Waffle House Index” to measure how hard a natural disaster has hit a town.


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