At a waffle party, freshly baked waffles are served with delicious toppings. It can be held in almost any setting, ranging from a small apartment to a restaurant, and include just a few friends or dozens of guests.
The only items needed are a waffle maker, a good waffle recipe, waffle making ingredients, and toppings. You can encourage guests to contribute sweet, savory, spicy, or tangy vegan toppings, or provide them yourself.
While you can throw a waffle party with any theme, we choose to make them celebrations of conscious consuming and human connection. Many of us rarely pause to reflect upon the food we eat—where it comes from, how our food choices impact the world around us, and so on. This doesn’t need to be a labor-intensive process; promoting awareness with a fun social event is a great start.
While many hosts throw parties as part of the annual Global Vegan Waffle Party, you might choose to focus on other aspects of conscious consumption–organic food, local and seasonal ingredients, or eating in a slower and more conscious fashion.
You could make your event a fundraiser for a cause important to you. Or, you might not have a theme at all. It’s totally up to you.
Below are several people enjoying a small vegan waffle party in Athens, Greece (video by Haroula Grammatikou). They’re really putting on the toppings!
Global Vegan Waffle Party Values
Waffle parties celebrate kindness on several levels.
With a vegan party, we reduce unnecessary suffering of other sentient creatures, by not consuming them or confining them (often in harshly restrictive and painful conditions) to produce foods that we don’t actually need. With production of flesh, milk, and eggs, there are still some pretty unfriendly practices going on in our world.
We show kindness toward ourselves and our families by reducing or eliminating products linked to illnesses. We free people of the dangerous, crowded, and stressful conditions of many factory farming and processing operations. We show kindness toward other life as our food choices become more environmentally friendly. We show kindness toward one another as we celebrate our common bonds, regardless of current differences in philosophy or life approach.
Much of this also ties into “connection” below.
Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning “continuous slow improvement” or “change for the better.”* It holds that sustainable change starts with small steps, just big enough to start stretching our comfort zone. If we try to start out too large, or feel that someone else is trying to push us in a direction we don’t like, it can trigger a fear response to change. We may then avoid change altogether or have difficulty maintaining it. On the other hand, if we take a small step and find it manageable and enjoyable, we’re more likely to remain in an open-minded mode that enables us to learn and grow.
Because we’re raised in a culture where heavy animal product consumption is the norm, just making a vegan entrée for a potluck may seem like a daunting task. However, making a simple vegan topping or attending a vegan party may seem less challenging and more fun. Regardless of whether we choose to pursue vegan-related ideas much further, even a slight increase in understanding is a win for everyone.
I recall when I attended my first vegetarian event following 30+ years of eating flesh—as the thoughts raced, it took quite a bit of courage. “Are people going to try to convert me? What if I accidentally say or do something that offends someone? Will people look at me funny if I say I’m not really vegetarian?” Of course, none of these things happened, but it was still a bit of a stretch for me.
Kaizen emphasizes continuous everyday improvement, rather than meeting a particular standard. Rather than asking ourselves questions like, “What do I need to do to become totally vegan tomorrow?” we might ask, “What’s one small thing I can do today to be just a bit kinder?” Simply making a vegan topping for a party is just that–one small thing today.
Mister Rogers, a vegetarian famous for his “Won’t you be my neighbor?” message, clearly thought a great deal about connection. Coincidentally, he lived not too far from us and I sometimes saw him around our neighborhood. The GVWP carries forward some of his message about a kinder, more connected world.
We—humans and all living things—are interconnected and interdependent. Much of this occurs through our food. As just one example, if we reduce or eliminate our purchases of a large factory farm’s beef and animal milk, we may lessen waste and antiobiotic runoff that impacts a nearby community’s drinking water. Celebrations like waffle parties can inspire us to reflect upon such things, while taking some action to address them.
Waffle parties provide a unique way of connecting and actively engaging guests, especially if they all contribute toppings so it’s truly a shared experience. Contact reduces prejudice between groups of different philosophies and thus opens the door for greater understanding. The variety of toppings illustrates that a wide range of socially conscious foods is available.
Recognizing how all things are connected, we don’t hold up any particular motive for vegan lifestyles or activities (e.g., health, human and other animal rights, environmental, economic) as superior to others. We believe they are all interdependent. Your event will reflect your own unique values and experiences.
How Did the Vegan Waffle Party Begin?
The waffle was once viewed primarily as a breakfast food. In 1998, this misconception ended. In a small urban apartment, creative forces converged to catalyze what is now the longest-running annual Waffle Party.
Each year, guests and hosts continued to expand the boundaries of waffle topping possibilities, going far beyond traditional maple syrup. They discovered that waffles can harmonize with ingredients including spices, veggies, curries and tofu. Especially brave guests would bring toppings they had always desired to try on a waffle, but never had mustered the courage to try.
A 2001 posting by the Word Detective suggested that a 1700s event called a “waffle frolic” may have existed, but we don’t know how much it resembled today’s waffle party. It’s probably safe to say it wasn’t vegan. If you have any clues on this, please let us know!
Around 2005, the hosts greatly reduced their consumption of animal products. They made the house party vegan, and founded WaffleParty.com. By 2008, they recognized the potential of the waffle party to create positive change, and decided that one little party per year wasn’t enough. The Global Vegan Waffle Party was born.
Since then, other party hosts have taken the events in many directions. Some have been far larger and more complex than the original annual house party, and others have provided a wonderful experience for a small number of guests. What will make your party fun and memorable?
Q: What’s the most important element of a waffle party?
A: The cool people who attend them, and the other amazing people who also host them!
Q: Is there really a waffle party holiday? When is it?
A: There is an International Waffle Day (March 25) which originated in Sweden, and a U.S. Waffle Day (August 24)
Q: How many waffle irons have you owned?
A: Right now I have just two; at one point I had six. Having replaced three or four over the years, I’ve probably had a total of ten.
Q: What is the combined wattage of your waffle irons?
A: Size matters more than wattage! Actually, that’s not true–wattage matters a lot. I actually need to recalculate this. At the peak of my waffle iron collecting, I believe it was around 6,200. But I don’t run them all at once. I’m careful to turn them off AND unplug them right after we’re done, because that would be a lot of wasted energy. The nice thing is that waffles cook relatively quickly, making the iron a reasonably efficient baking method.
Q: What’s the most bizarre topping anyone’s ever brought to a Waffle Party?
A: It all depends upon how you define it!
Q: What are your favorite kinds of waffles?
A: Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside! Vegan yeast-powered waffles and buckwheat waffles are both pretty tasty. I really enjoy the Umami Mama Waffles in The Global Vegan Waffle Cookbook.
*The development of this philosophy is often attributed to W. Edwards Deming, who traveled to Japan to teach business quality control principles following World War II.