The Story of Våffeldagen

Every March, my partner and I host a brunch and tell our guests to bring a bowl of waffle batter. We invite all the friends and family, geeks and hippies, awesome, quirky, intelligent people we can, and they all co-mingle over a chaotic five hour feast of every type of experimental waffle you can imagine.

Ok, that’s not true. I can imagine a lot of waffles. Snozzberry waffles. But we’ve had chocolate waffles, chocolate mint waffles, blueberry waffles, jalapeno corndog waffles, taco waffles, bacon waffles, peanut butter banana waffles, pumpkin waffles, and all sorts of regular old waffles, made with everything from Bisquick to home grown goose eggs. We’ve had four waffle makers going at a time, and we always end up with batter-globbed counters at the end of the day.

Here’s how that started.

In Sweden, yesterday was Våffeldagen. The Waffle Day.

Have you not heard of Våffeldagen?

I first learned about Våffeldagen from Craig Ferguson, during a time in my life when I watched The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson with zealous obsession on a regular basis.

He starts talking about Våffeldagen a bit around 5:20.  The embed function isn’t working right now, so here’s the link:

Craig Ferguson on Våffeldagen.

Needless to say, my partner and I celebrated a slightly belated Våffeldagen the very next day. Nothing extravagant, just a batch of waffles with some leftover Santa chocolate chips thrown in.

The next year, when March 25th rolled around, we had the following awesome conversation, which planted the seed for what Våffeldagen would become:

“Hey, isn’t today Vaffeldagn?”

“I guess it is.”

“Let’s have some waffles.”

“Ok.”

“Can they be chocolate?”

“Ok. Can you find a chocolate waffle recipe?”

“Ok.”

You see, at this point, Våffeldagen wasn’t yet Våffeldagen. Except for in Sweden. For me, Våffeldagen was still on the level of President’s Day. As in, you have to ask, “Isn’t it President’s Day?” Then, whatever the answer is, you go about your life and don’t really do anything.

Except with Våffeldagen, we didn’t really do anything, plus we ate a waffle. From what I’ve read, that’s basically how it goes down in Sweden.

In late 2010 and early 2011, a series of events turned the Waffle Day into a Big Deal.

Here is the timeline:

  • August 2010  I find a job after a long stretch of unemployment.
  • October 2010  As a productive member of society*, I move into my first apartment with my partner.
  • December 2010  At Christmas, our relatives mainly give us things we need for our apartment. My brother buys us a square waffle maker. Dan’s brother buys us a Belgian waffle maker. We do not tell either of them that we already have a waffle maker, and could the gift be returned for something else we need?
  • Winter 2011  We remember Våffeldagen in advance instead of on the day itself.

And here is the math:**

2 waffle makers + 1 apartment + remembering in advance = inviting people over for waffles

Inviting people over for waffles x the idea of looking up different waffle recipes on the internet x “We are lazy and don’t want to cook a bajillion waffles.” =

“Let’s have a Våffeldagen potluck and invite other humans and tell them to each bring their own waffle batter.”

And that’s the story Våffeldagen, at least our Våffeldagen, and why I’ll be having a ton of people over this weekend cooking a ton of waffles. One day, it shall be the stuff of legend.


 

*Society still hasn’t sent me a membership card.

**If my brother (he of the square waffle maker) sees waffle math, he will hate it. Greg, I’m not sorry.

The dandy highwayman

Back in olden days in Great Britain, you and your wealthy friends might be driving down the road in your olden days equivalent of a Porsche. Maybe talking about what sweet ride it is. “Oh man, gilded door edges, 8-spoke wheels and an 8-cylinder horse. Real improvement over the 1749 model…”

Suddenly, a rider gallops up to you, weapons drawn, and halts your carriage. “Stand and deliver, your money or your life.” And of course you hand over your money, except for the coins hidden in your stocking, and you protest as the highwayman insists on jewellery too, because your necklace is sentimental. And at last the highwayman is satisfied and gallops off into the sunset… to rob one more carriage of rich folk before calling it a night.

Typically, the whole thing went down something like this:

These days, you and your wealthy friends… ok, I I’m still working on those. These days, you and the pile of trash on the floor of the passenger side are driving down the road, when suddenly… cop. Maybe you see, but can’t slow down in time. You continue down the road, praying to Fharlanghn… but no, the cop car slips out of its sneaky hiding place on the side of a fish and chips joint, tracks you like a predatory animal, and then lights up like a seizure-rave of fireworks.

And you hand over your license and registration, except for that time when you’d paid for your new registration only a month before and hadn’t really gotten around to taking it out of that orange folder yet. And, if you’re unknowing in the ways of getting pulled over, possibly protest that you were on your way to a fire…oops that came out wrong. The cop doesn’t outright take your money or wear a costume that looks really good on Adam Ant, but the cop does give you a ticket which requires you to DELIVER YOUR MONEY. Just like what the highwayman said. Or sang.

It’s mostly tedium, answering questions about how fast you were going, sitting and waiting while the cop runs your information. No gun pointed at your head, no choice of delivering your money or your life. And yet… the cop does still carry a weapon, pull over your vehicle, and demand money.