Mennonite Heritage Village

The Origin of the Wonderful Waffle

June 15, 2023

By Gary Dyck

The very first waffle is said to be made by a tired medieval knight. Sitting down with his chainmail armour he did not notice the oatcake below him until later. At Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) we believe that the true origin of the waffle probably comes from the forge of a blacksmith who wanted a new pattern for his ironwork. Today, waffles are a common staple in most households in the Western world.

Kitchen devices that have only one use are often gimmicky and rather silly, like the tabletop s’mores makers that Amazon is pushing as the hot appliance of the year. (Who eats that many s’mores?) But I’d put up a fight if someone tried to take my waffle maker. Sure, it takes up half a kitchen cabinet, but it’s the rare kitchen appliance whose essential function can’t be replaced by some MacGyver-like creativity. To me, waffles are the perfect food. They’re easy to make, not too sweet, and extremely versatile. Perhaps that’s why, from medieval Europe to now, people have made room for a waffle iron in their kitchens.” Anne Ewbank – Gastro Obscura

In MHV’s Chortitz housebarn you will find a waffle-maker built in the kitchen counter with the recipe engraved in the iron. There is barely any counter space left for other work which tells us how valuable the waffle was to some Mennonite families.

The original Dutch word wafel means ‘honeycomb’ and refers to the design of the irons and the shapes they produced in the batter. When the Dutch introduced them to the American colonies, “Waffle Frolics” became all the rage by the 1800s. The making of waffles was so significant that it would instigate large gatherings. Today that passion remains as waffles still bring families together for a shared breakfast. No cereal or oatmeal could ever do that. So, get your family together and come enjoy MHV waffles during our major events days this summer!

The good news is that this weekend (June 16-18) MHV will set up its waffle shop on Main Street, Steinbach. The MHV waffle shop with its cast iron cookers and delicious vanilla white sauce is a major food attraction for Summer in the City. Our traditional way of making waffles in the outdoor air makes them extra sumptuous. Join us for your next ‘Waffle Frolic’! If you and your friends would like to help us cook and serve wonderful waffles for this community event or other event days, please call us or write Jaysa at: They are just as fun to make, as to eat! If you are looking for a great place to have a Father’s Day lunch be sure to check out our Father’s Day buffet on June 18th at MHV.

Finally, MHV’s summer day camp registration still has space. Let us know if you have a child who would enjoy a week learning a variety of heritage skills, history and having fun in MHV’s outdoor village.

The Dirk Willems Peace Garden at MHV.

Upcoming Events:

MHV’s grounds and Livery Barn Restaurant are open seven days a week! The restaurant is open 11 am to 4 pm, and the grounds are open from 9 am to 5 pm, except Thursdays from 9 am to 8 pm, and Sundays from 11:30 am to 5 pm, including our famous Sunday buffet till 2 pm.

Summer in the City, June 16 to 18. Enjoy fresh homemade MHV waffles with white sauce on Steinbach’s Main Street at this year’s Summer in the City festival!

Father’s Day Lunch Buffet, June 18, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Treat the dads in your life with a fantastic meal, prepared by the incredible Livery Barn Restaurant.

RocketRez Canada Day Celebration, July 1, 9 am to 5 pm. Our RocketRez Canada Day Celebration returns for 2023! Join us for a day of celebratory activities! This free admission event is open to the public. Enjoy tours, birthday cake, entertainment, rides, and a meal at the Livery Barn Restaurant.