28 May 2024
International Waffle Day – the Best Ever Swedish Invention?
Community Swedish Culture

International Waffle Day – the Best Ever Swedish Invention?

All over Sweden, irons are heating up, cream is being whipped and jam jars placed strategically on the table! Tomorrow is International Waffle Day and surprise, surprise  –  it originated in Sweden.

So how come Sweden invented  a day for stuffing one’s face with waffles, you ask? Well, to be honest – it’s all due to a bit of a misunderstanding.

March 25th  marks Lady Day in the religious calendar, or  ‘Vår Fru-dagen’ (translates as ‘the day of Our Lady’) in Swedish. It coincides with the religious Feast of the Annunciation and heralds the start of SPRING in Sweden and across Europe. However, in the vernacular ‘Vår Fru-dagen’ became ‘Våffeldagen’ – and as the name changed   – so did dinner plans!

Now for those of you shaking your heads and mumbling something about those crafty candy-crazed Swedes, I must hasten to assure you that this is the official version of events, as recorded by Stockholm’s Nordic Museum. So there.

In the olden days, Swedes used to make waffles in rectangular griddle pans placed on a bed of embers in the open fire place. Today, most waffles are round or heart-shaped. For as long as they last on the plate, that is.

Although the actual origins of waffle-scoffing in Sweden is shrouded by the mists of time, it is believed to have been going on for several centuries.  A waffle recipe is recorded in the 1755 cookbook (and Swedish culinary bible)  Hjelpreda I Hushållningen För Unga Fruentimber (“Assistant in Housekeeping for Young Women”) by Swedish cook Cajsa Warg However, it wasn’t until the turn of the last century, around 1900, that it became popular to eat waffles with jam and whipped cream.

Although there are many places around Stockholm where one can partake of a good waffle today – making delicious waffles at home is easier than you may think. Most Swedish department stores or hardware chains stock reasonably priced electric waffle irons these days and one will be found in almost every Swedish home.

Being a bit of a waffle-traditionalist – I would vote for the home-made variety every time.

For one, you can be sure that the mix doesn’t come out of a packet and the cream not out of a can. Also, in a café you will be given one (1!) waffle per serving. Not so in my home, I can tell you that much!

There really is nothing to it – and all the ingredients are also likely to be stuff you have at home anyway. So, before you panic and buy the pre-made waffle mix – here’s how we make waffles in my house:

Waffles: 

What you need: 

  • 5 dl milk
  • 4 dl all-purpose flour
  • 1 dl melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

What you do: 

  1. Melt butter.
  2. Beat eggs fluffy and then add milk.
  3. Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl
  4. Whisk dry ingredients into the egg/milk mixture and add melted butter.
  5. Coat preheated waffle iron with butter. Pour approx  1 dl of the batter onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown.
  6. Serve piping hot, spread with jam and a dollop of whipped cream in the middle.

 

(Now, being a mother who has made it her hobby to sneak healthy stuff into the most traditional cakes and desserts – I can tell you that adding some frozen (but thawed) spinach to the batter works a treat and doesn’t change the flavour at all. It also works wonders on my conscience when I reach for waffle number four…) 

Enjoy!

 

Featured Image: Mikaela Gustavsson/imagebank.sweden.se

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