Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In appreciation of Waffle House

The food-erati don't give much attention to the likes of Waffle House. Eh, and maybe they shouldn't. It's a chain. A large one. That automatically gives rise to consistency issues. It's in with the NASCAR crowd, which likely is one of the least interested in foodie things like white truffle season, eating local, slow food, and wines that aren't made out of beer.



But this is no reason to entirely scoff at Waffle House. There are positives: the exceptional people-watching, the myriad 80s and hair band hits on the jukebox, the late hours, and the omelets. Yes, Waffle House is truly a temple for omelets. Even good diners could learn lessons from a well-prepared Waffle House omelet. Heck, even foodie-friendly brunches could learn from the sheer fundamental competence and purity of flavor of Waffle House's delicious ham-and-cheese omelet.

Okay, so perhaps the foodie ship has sailed on Waffle House. After all, Saveur, currently the most excellent of food magazines, published a piece on it last year. Maybe it's cheating to put the eggs in a milkshake blender to make it more fluffy. But when did cheating in food become taboo? What else are other (welcome) intrusions of technology in food, such as the mandolin, sous vide, and Silpat? No, you cannot fault Waffle House's use of the milkshake blender to produce an omelet more fluffy and tender than most experienced and skillful chefs can produce. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to screw it up: you have to find the appropriate balance of fillings and, most importantly, you can't overcook it (though the blended eggs are more forgiving than hand-whisked, it seems).



A well-cooked Waffle House omelet is a thing of beauty. Tender, cloud-like eggs encasing ham and oozing with cheese. It is simple. And few things are more delicious than simplicity itself. So let us celebrate Waffle House for what it does so well. Those soggy, inconsistent waffles are another story . . .

3 comments:

bluejeangourmet said...

I LOVE WAFFLE HOUSE! it has long been the breakfast destination of choice in my family--maybe because I have immigrant parents, there was a sense of novelty? my mom still wants a pecan waffle on her birthday mornings :)

regardless, I order my hashbrowns "scattered, smothered, & well-done" and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Preston said...

Imagine...

It's late at night, but you and your buddies want breakfast. You're out in the 'burbs, so House of Pies and 59 Diner are not options. Your friend lays out the bleak choices, "So, do we want Denny's, or do we want IHOP?" You struggle hopelessly to choose between the two. But then, all of a sudden, your eyes widen; a smile grows from your weary face. "Neither," you proclaim as your crew looks upon you with both astonishment and bewilderment, "we're going to Waffle House!"

And that was the greatest moment of your life.

Frank Moore said...

so...did Alison Cook steal this idea from you? yes, yes she did.