Friday, September 28, 2012

The True History of the Waffle (Belgian)

Most people think the waffle was invented by some guy trying to figure out a new use for his waffle iron  but the Belgians know the true story is more interesting, full of happy accident and romance.

So return with us now to Sir Giles and Lady Gwendolyn,  in the ancestral love nest outside Namur until the great mischief maker Pope Urban II preached the First  Crusade.  Sir Giles, a faithful son of the church, on hearing the news understood instantly that he had no alternative but to go to the Holy Land in the spirit of the Galilean, to beat up a few Saracens.

Sir Giles went off on Crusade.  Lady Gwendolyn stayed home knitting sweaters and warding off suitors and doing whatever else was needful to preserve her dignity.  For years she heard nothing of  Sir Giles, not a murmur.  But one autumn Sunday afternoon, seventeen years after Sir Giles' departure, Lady Gwendolyn was at the stove stirring pancake batter when KA-VOOM, the door flew open and a warrior stood before her, resplendent in his chain mail.  Can you guess who it was?  Of course: it was Sir Giles, home from the wars.

"Kiss me, my fool!" he cried lustily, as he reached to wrap her in his arms.  Lady Gwendolyn's heart beat with ardor but she knew that propriety her to maintain a ladylike decorum.  "Nothing would please me more," she said, "but wouldn't you like a bite to eat first?"  Indeed, Sir Giles in his enthusiasm had spent the preceding 60 hours uninterrupted in the saddle.

"Dinner can wait!" Sir Giles declared, hurling his great clanking body down beside the stove and drawing his Lady into his lap.  

We might withdraw from the scene here  in tactful reserve, except that after an uncounted interval, the lovely nose of Lady Gwendolyn began to twitch.   She understood in a flash: it was the unmistakable odor of baking library paste.  "Sir Giles!' she gasped hoarsely.  "I think you sat in the bucket of pancake batter!"

A moment's inquiry showed that Lady Gwendolyn was right.  Except that what they gazed on was not pancake batter, nor even pancakes.  No: recall that Sir Giles had spent 60 hours in the saddle, and in his chain mail.  Sir Giles' heart brimmed over with compassion as he saw the dismay and disappointment in the eyes of his beloved.  Her dinner, it seemed, was  disaster.  But not so:  "No matter, my dear!" Sir Giles declared.  "Bring us butter and one of those spray cans of ersatz whipped cream!  I think we have invented the waffle!"

The rest, of course, is history.  Sir Giles and Lady Gwendolyn lived out a long and happy life together in the Castle.  Every Sunday morning, they ate waffles with butter and a spritz of cream.  Every year on the anniversary of Sir Giles' return, they added a coulis of strawberry jam.

 Source note: I wish I could say I had invented this story, or at least that I could tell you who did.  But I did add some of the edifying detail, for verisimilitude.


Anonymous said...

a "waffler" in politics is someone who doesn't stick with his or her position. don't get it. a pancake being very flexible will waffle but a waffle is kind of a firm item, so it's not flexible. or, is it?

The New York Crank said...

Did I read your story right, or did I misread something while skimming. If I read what I think I read...eeuw! I'll never eat another waffle again. (Not that my dietician would allow me to in any case.)

Crankily nauseous,
The New York Crnk