Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s August 24, 2016, at least in Chicago, and the cool weather continues here, a welcome relief from the scorchers of yore. But now the sun doesn’t rise until an hour after I walk to work—a harbinger of BACK TO SCHOOL time.

It’s National Waffle Day in the U.S., celebrating Cornelius Swarthout’s patent on the waffle iron that was granted on this date in 1869.  Have a waffle—they’re great! Now there’s also an International Waffle Day, which takes place on March 25. That one started in Sweden and is called  Våffeldagen. I’d be pleased if a Swedish reader would inform us if people really do eat waffles on that day, and what they look like. Here’s a specimen of we eat in America—the so-called Belgian Waffle, though I have no idea if they actually serve these in Belgium. I prefer mine with pecans and real maple syrup (the lowest grade, and hence the tastiest):


If you don’t like it, keep your opinion to yourself.

On this day in 1456, the printing of the Gutenberg Bible—the first mass-produced book printed using movable type—was completed. 49 copies survive today. And, on this day in 1875, Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim the English Channel.

Notables born on this day include Ronee Blakely (1945; remember her in Nashville?) and paleontologist Tim White (1950). Those who died on August 24 include Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (2004), who completed all her stages, and Julie Harris (2013♥). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili keeps getting involved in quite intellectual dialogues (for a cat):

A: What is genius?
Hili: It’s a creative ability to avoid plagiarism.
P1040710 (1)
In Polish:
Ja: Na czym polega geniusz?
Hili: Na twórczej umiejętności unikania popełniania plagiatów.
And for lagniappe, reader Taskin forwarded this very short video of a cat in a pirate suit:


  1. eric
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Hili’s comment today is pretty deep. 🙂 This one belongs right alongside Newton’s “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

    • Kevin
      Posted August 24, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Science at it’s best is usually just finding a pebble someone neglected to turn over previously.

  2. steve oberski
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I suspect that much like the California Shutter, the Belgian Waffle is never to be seen in its host locale.

    • Merilee
      Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      This California native is asking What the heck’s a California Shutter??

      • Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        They appear to be shutters on the inside of the windows.

  3. Dominic
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    London is baking… scorcio! about 27c & rising…

    An earthquake in Italy, on the anniversary of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD – unless it was 24th October…

  4. Sastra
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    “National Waffle Day?”

    The what’s-for-dinner-tonight problem has just been solved!

  5. Posted August 24, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    We have enjoyed waffles (gaufres) in one of the many cafes that line Brussels Grand Plaza. They were more like brioche in flavour, that is, eggy, but had an airier texture due to beaten egg whites being folded into the batter. Since my life partner lived for a while in Liège, he was able to experience the best waffle version in the world as this regional speciality is carmelised on the outside, made with pearl sugar, and flavoured with vanilla.

  6. Posted August 24, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Love waffles!

    They serve them for afternoon coffee (with cloud berry jam if you’re lucky) in Scandinavia (in my experience). The Scandinavian ones are soft, not crunchy. And served cold.

    • Dominic
      Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Talking of Scandinavia…

    • Karin Lindhagen
      Posted August 24, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Swedish waffles may also be served hot, directly from the waffle iron.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 24, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Good description, but the cold ones are served in coffee shops. (And you can/should ask for Your Staff to heat them.)

      In homes they are always served hot, unless they are yesterday’s left overs or so. (And even then, they are tastier when warm, like swedish pancakes.)

      • Posted August 29, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, I’ve only had them cold (in homes).

        Loved them all the same!

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Not too many years ago we use to do sour dough pancakes and waffles, which ever you prefer. As you need to use the starter at least monthly or you lose it we finally gave it up. Very good.

  8. Merilee
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Agreed on the lowest grade of real! Maple syrple, which is not always easy to find. I think there might be a grade D? It sooo much more flavor thsn the A. Let’s not even mention the fake kind ( table syrup).😖

    • Dominic
      Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      I had no idea there were different grades… I assume it is the rubbish that gets exported?!

      • darrelle
        Posted August 24, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        The higher the grade the more refined it is. That is (supposed to be) the good stuff. Except that really, it isn’t. It is less flavorful and less colorful. The high grade, less flavorful stuff, is more expensive.

        Pretty much exactly analogous to raw sugars compared to refined white sugar. Except that in sugar processing most major producers have taken it to the silly extreme of refining all of the sugar and then to make “brown” sugar of various grades they add back in specified amounts of the flavorful brown goop they spent all that effort removing in the refining process.

        • merilee
          Posted August 24, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          I actually carried some maple syrup back on the plane with me from Whistler last January because they had the good dark stuff – cheap – at the local normal supermarket. Thankfully it did not leak or break in my luggage…

    • Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      This site gives a pretty overview of grades.

  9. dabertini
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Waffles are my favourite breafast item. Try them with peanut butter and maple syrup. Delicious!!

  10. Karin Lindhagen
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Yes, Swedish people do indeed eat waffles on March 25, and it is for a linguistically and theologically interesting reason. March 25 is Annunciation day in he church calendar, 9 months before Christmas. The Swedish name for the day is “Vårfrudagen” – the day of Our Lady. Spoken quickly it sounds like “våffeldagen”, waffle day. Thus the habit of eating waffles on March 25.

    • mordacious1
      Posted August 24, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      That’s classic.

  11. Claudia Baker
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    The lighter maple syrup, called “first run” around here in Eastern Ontario, is considered the most pure and highly desirable among all the grades. The darker syrup, from sap later in the season, is thought of as a lesser quality. Some producers will charge more for their first run product and some people will pay it.

    It all tastes delicious to me, however, and on home-made waffles, nothing beats it. Just had some last week, topped with syrup which was tapped from trees a mile or so away.

    I have many mature sugar maples on my property, which I do not tap. Sometimes conditions are ideal and the sap runs down the tree trunks or drips from above onto my deck. Makes a sticky mess, but insects and some animals love it. I just wait till the sap stops running, and everyone has had their fill, before cleaning it up.

  12. Larry Smith
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Loved the dry Kubler-Ross quip!

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