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The breakfast wars
jessica brown column
Jessica Brown

For a quarter of a century, I’ve grown up in a pancake household. My parents and I are strictly pancake people, favoring the fluffy breakfast delicacy to its competitor, the crunchy and less filling waffle.

It’s not that I didn’t like waffles. I’d eat blueberry toaster waffles on occasion. My mom ate toaster waffles too.

But we didn’t get up early to make waffles. We didn’t gather as a family to eat waffles. We never had a waffle maker to whip out for a delicious breakfast food dinner. It has always been pancakes.

Dad would grab the frying pan and start whipping up some crunchy bacon (cooked to perfection) then get out the trusty Aunt Jemima mix and pour it on the faithful griddle.

It’s been a long standing tradition that we, the Browns, are pancake people.

On Christmas morning, we’d often make pancakes. On cold fall nights, we’d eat pancakes for dinner. When Mom wants a special treat for Mother’s Day, we get her some blueberry pancakes at the International House of Pancakes.

To us, there is no greater breakfast choice than the almighty pancake.

And then I met my fiancé, who is, dare I say, a waffle man.

I think the only way to describe our relationship is a clandestine love affair like the Montagues and the Capulets. Clearly we are star-crossed lovers in this breakfast war.

Sure we look past our differences as best we can, but truthfully how will we raise a family in a divided house?

The difference between us and our Shakespearean counterparts is that Romeo and Juliet were young and naïve whereas we’re older and unrelentingly stubborn.

I realized in order to have a happy life that one of us needs to concede for the other. I can be the bigger person and concede for the betterment of our upcoming marriage, so I made the switch to embrace the waffle (even though I still find it inferior to the pancake).

One day I finally asked my fiancé why he hates the idea of a pancake so much. There are so many positives about pancakes. They’re fluffy and allow for a more even spread of butter. Restaurants run ‘all you can eat’ pancake deals so it’s an economic incentive to choose the pancake. They melt in your mouth and are a joy to eat.

The counter argument is that pancakes get soggy from the butter and syrup, and that you can only eat a couple before you get full so the ‘all you can eat’ promotion is a bunch of malarkey, says my fiancé.

According to him, waffles are superior because of their increased surface area and convenient pockets to hold syrup, should you be the type to enjoy pouring syrup all over your waffles.

(Personally if you want to avoid sogginess on both sides of the war, simply dipping into the syrup solves that common complaint.)

He also made the argument that it’s “chicken ‘n waffles” not “chicken ‘n pancakes.”

Our house contains two waffle makers and more flavors of waffle batter than I care to admit as my one little box of Aunt Jemima sits on the top shelf of the pantry, her eyes staring at me disapprovingly. 

It’s hard being a pancake girl in this new waffle world. It feels like a piece is missing, a void that can only be filled with pancakes.

When I return to my parent’s house, to the home I grew up in, I often ask if we can have pancakes for dinner. My parents are always delighted as there’s nothing better than eating breakfast for dinner with the ones you love the most.

And maybe, that’s what it really is all about.

The debate between waffles and pancakes will always exist for centuries with each side firmly planting their flags in the sand. It’s a war with no end.

And truthfully, the batter is basically the same – just presented slightly different.

It’s the loving memories of enjoying breakfast with family that matters, and if I have to make new memories with my little family eating waffles for dinner, then I can live with that.

Jessica Brown is a reporter for the Dawson County News.