By 5TJT Staff
It’s safe to say that waffles are one of those universal feel-good foods. Most kids look forward to a waffle breakfast—and most adults, when they want to reclaim the child within them, will acquiesce to the incessant urge to chow down on the warm, sweet, fluffy food. So while the popularity of this fabulous food item is well known to all, I’m fairly certain that few, if any of you, knew that there was a national holiday named for it.
In fact, there are two Waffle Days on the calendar. At first, I figured it was a sefeika d’yoma of sorts, but upon further research it seems that the two days represent two disparate incidents in history. March 25 in Sweden is a holiday called Vaffeldagen, which, as a result of its phonetic relation to the word waffle, is typically observed by the consumption of waffles. Vaffeldagen in Swedish means “our lady’s day” and is marked as a religious holiday, as it is nine months prior to Xmas. However, on August 24, 1869, Cornelius Swartwaut filed the 94,043rd U.S. patent, which was of a waffle iron—marking that day National Waffle Day.
The particular relevance of National Waffle Day to us here in the Five Towns is that Waffelino of Lawrence, which has been open for two years and is a regular advertiser in the Five Towns Jewish Times, happens to be the only kosher waffle bar in the U.S.
It struck me as ironic that the observance of lady’s day in Sweden is marked by the consumption of waffles. I suppose in Sweden the women are not as weight-conscious as they are in these parts. Which brings me to another element of Waffelino’s expertise, which sets them apart from just about anyone else. Since their waffle batters are made with egg whites and no butter or margarine, all of their waffles are fat-free. You may be hard-pressed to believe this, but it happened that a woman who made Waffelino a regular stop on her walking route along Central Avenue was surprised when she realized that despite all of the waffle consumption, her weight was going down—since her morning waffle kept her sated through most of the day, thereby decreasing her daily food consumption. Upon hearing of this incident, I advised that the owner should market the waffle diet—that would surely be a hit.
Producing a fat-free waffle that is palatable to both kids and adults is an impressive accomplishment. You know how difficult it is to fool many kids into eating anything remotely healthy. It’s much harder trying to offer them a healthy version of an unhealthy food and expect them to go for it. But no convincing is needed at Waffelino—the kids will be up for it anytime.
The owners were born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. As a result of the lack of kosher accessibility in Germany, the food for the most part had to be made in the home. It was there that their mother developed some of these waffle recipes, which later became the impetus to create the waffle bar that has generated a craze here in the Five Towns.
Ever so gradually, since the store’s opening in 2012, they have continuously shown a strong ability to improvise and express culinary creativity in spinning off their successful waffle recipe. They have since introduced a waffle with a panini-type base, called the Paninilino, which comes in several varieties, including guacamole, mushroom, Greek, and more, and waffle-based personal pizza called the Pizzalino, as well as a full salad bar and an array of pastas, omelets, and an assortment of cold and hot beverages.
But more than just for the occasional breakfast, lunch, or midnight snack, Waffelino has been a regular at various events such as birthday and anniversary parties, brisos, weddings, and sheva berachos. Since the waffles are strictly pareve, they add flare to a wedding, bris, or bar mitzvah smorgasbord, where attendees could enjoy the warm feel-good food with a variety of pareve toppings to boot. At Waffelino, you can have your cake and eat it too, while keeping the pounds off. That is a win-win situation and a real cause for a holiday. v