Though there may be some lingering animosity towards Belgian waffles after the fateful US/Belgium World Cup game (and with the Waffle House restaurant chain declaring war on Belgian Waffles), waffles seem like an everyday part of life in the US. However, it turns out that Belgian waffles were first introduced into the US in 1962! That seems awfully recent, don’t you think? They first turned up at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair at a stand run by the Belgian Vermersch family, where the waffles were marketed to Americans as “Bel-Gem.” The main difference between Belgian waffles and “regular” waffles is that Belgian waffles have a yeast batter, while the other has a pancake batter. The Bel-Gem waffles, a hit in Seattle, were sold again at the much larger 1964 World’s Fair in Queens. Many people believe that they were first introduced at the NYC World’s Fair, but that credit actually goes to Seattle. However, it was at the 1964 Fair that the waffles really caught on…and the rest is history. Good Food Story has even unearthed an original Bel-Gem recipe.
Bel-Gem Waffle Stand at the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens