(WHTM) – Chicken and waffles is an American comfort dish that dates back to the 1600s.
Waffles were created in the Middle Ages and became popular due to how easy they were to make as the poor could use flour and water but the wealthy would also make the dish but add honey or eggs.
So waffles didn’t originate in America but they were brought to America in 1620 by the Pilgrims.
The waffle would become popular thanks to Dutch immigrants in what is now New York.
But when did the chicken get added to the top of the waffle?
Southerners will say that they created the chicken and waffle dish but it actually originated in Pennsylvania thanks to the Pennsylvania Dutch.
In the 1600s, the Pennsylvania Dutch served a dish that had a waffle with pulled chicken and gravy on top, thus creating the chicken and waffle dish.
Today, if you leave Pennsylvania, the popular way to make chicken and waffles is with fried chicken on top of the waffles.
But again fried chicken and waffles didn’t originate in the south.
In the 1930s, Wells Supper Club was a restaurant in Harlem that offered musicians fried chicken and waffles in between dinner and breakfast.
From Harlem, the fried chicken and waffle recipe would make its way to Los Angeles thanks to a Harlem native in the 1970s.
Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles would be opened in Los Angeles in 1976.
Let’s circle back to Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Dutch invented a waffle iron that was non-electric but this opened the door to future inventors who created electric waffle irons.
According to PA Eats, John Kleimbach of Shamokin, Pennsylvania (Northumberland County) was a traveling salesman in 1891.
Kleimbach would sell waffles for a penny, help spread the waffle iron’s popularity, and would end up at the Chicago World Fair.
Today, some restaurants that serve chicken and waffles in Pennsylvania are using fried chicken but some still use pulled chicken and gravy.
So Southerners can claim fried chicken and waffles but Pennsylvanians will continue with the Pennsylvania Dutch way of making chicken and waffles.