Pancakes vs waffles – no doubt the ultimate breakfast debate. Both these foods are widely loved, and both appear in many forms across the globe. But which one is tastier? The answer is, without a doubt, waffles! But don’t just take my word for it, read on to discover the burden of proof that supports my viewpoint.
The first point is very simple. A waffle iron is required to prepare a waffle, whereas a simple frying pan will suffice for making pancakes. Since more households own frying pans than waffle irons, it is logical that pancakes are likely to be eaten on a more regular basis in the average household (if you consider that the large percentage of families without a waffle iron would only be able to indulge in this foodstuff at a restaurant). The more frequently you eat something you like, the less sensitive you will become to a taste that previously seemed very “exciting”. In other words, it will start to seem less tasty. Put this simple logic together and you will realise that pancakes are less tasty as they are eaten far more regularly.
A publication by the Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan (named “Quantitative Evaluating Reactions to Gustatory Stimuli”) showed that the perception of tastiness is affected by a number of specific factors. One of the most important of the named factors, was the factor of ‘bodily requirements’. This involves the body reinforcing a preference for nutrients which the body lacks, particularly when the nutrient is required for homeostasis. (“reinforcing a preference” meaning that the foodstuff will seem tastier). Vitamins and minerals are two classes of nutrients that the body often experiences a shortage in. While I am certainly not suggesting that waffles and pancakes are by any measure a good source of vitamins and minerals, I am suggesting that waffles contain more of these two nutrient classes. Waffles will, therefore, be perceived by the body as being tastier. Let me give some further proof on this matter…
A nutritional comparison done by Livestrong.com provided some reliable figures on the vitamin & mineral content of both waffles and pancakes (which I have quoted in the bullets below). Let us first have a look at the vitamin content (all values are per 100g; DV stands for ‘daily value’):
* Waffles contain 0.347 mg of riboflavin (20% of DV); pancakes only contain 0.217 mg (13% of DV).
* Waffles contain 0.263 mg of thiamine (18% of DV); pancakes only contain 0.211 mg (14% of DV).
* Waffles contain 46 mg of folate (11% of DV); pancakes only contain 37 mg (9% of DV).
* Waffles contain 2.073 mg of niacin; pancakes only contain 1.711 mg.
* Waffles and pancakes both contain relatively equal amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C.
On the mineral front, only 2 of the 5 minerals which were compared were in a higher concentration in pancakes. The other three fell, once again, to the side of the waffles. As mentioned earlier, this higher concentration of ‘nutrients-in-demand’ in waffles biologically makes the waffle tastier to the senses.
But let’s see if all this biological jargon translates accurately to market figures. Let us consider the most successful waffle-house chain – namely ‘Waffle House’ – and the most successful pancake-house chain – namely ‘IHOP’. Waffle House has 1600 restaurants across 25 states and a revenue of $524 million (2009). IHOP, on the other hand, has only 1500 restaurants and a revenue of only $349.6 million (2006). The support a chain restaurant receives is logically a representation of how popular its food is amongst the public; in other words, how tasty the food is.
The facts, statistics and science says it all. Waffles are just tastier.