Wednesdays are for waffles! Even a casual watcher of Parks and Recreation probably knows that breakfast food forms the undeniable backbone of this show. It’s no wonder, because as Ron Swanson sagely notes, “breakfast food can serve many purposes.” Innumerable scenes take place in JJ’s Diner (Ed. Note: I have a JJ’s Diner coffee mug and it makes me so happy) and it’s the main purveyor of breakfast food in the series, but it pops up in many forms throughout the run of the series (remember Leslie’s waffle-shaped purse?)
I’ve never met a breakfast food I didn’t like, but my favorite favorite is the good ol’ waffle (aside from bacon, let’s not get crazy here.) So let’s answer some waffle questions here:
1) What is your ideal waffle topping?
2) Do you own a waffle maker, and if so, what kind is it? (Weenie shallow squares, deep luxurious Belgian goodness, Mickey Mouse-shaped, etc.)
3) If you don’t like waffles, first of all, know that we aren’t friends anymore, and second of all, what’s your preferred breakfast carb?
MNW: OK, so I mean, I’ll come back around to answering whatever we’re talking about with waffles in just a moment (the best waffle is a waffle cone filled with Nelson’s ice cream, thank you and good day).
But I do want to note the irony that during Indiana Week, WSR made the oafish decision to talk about Triple XXX putting peanut butter on burgers, while during Purdue Week, BRT has gone with Pawnee, a city notably staffed by Hoosier fan (and graduate and library namesake) Leslie Knope. I’ll give you Craig Middlebrooks, though. But I don’t think you can squeeze a week of content out of Craig unless you’re talking about wine and Kentucky bluegrass and God knows what else. (“MY NAME IS CRAIG MIDDLEBROOKS, AND THIS IS MY DEBIT REWARDS CARD!”)
Otherwise, I’m totally down with a really simple Belgian waffle: Lots of butter, lots of syrup, and cleaning up every last morsel on the plate. No need to reinvent the wheel here.
BRT: Craig is the tits. I absolutely could squeeze a week out of Craig GO BOILERMAKERS Middlebrooks. It’s like you don’t even know me.
Waffle-wise, as noted, I’m a huge fan. I lost my waffle maker when I moved (no, no idea how this happened), so just bought a new one recently. It’s a Belgian, and you flip it and feel kinda fancy. My must-have topping is chocolate chips--and exactly one chip must go in each square. It’s very important they are distributed evenly.. If fruit (strawberry or raspberry) is available, I will also put that on there too. Not really a big syrup girl.
Jesse: I’ve got a waffle maker - Belgian because obviously - and it’s pretty great. Favorite waffle is a nice fluffy buttermilk based waffle batter. On top I’m good with butter and syrup but I think the best I’ve ever had is a bananas foster version with whipped cream and that bananas foster mixture. The waffle was really just so much better than pound cake as a base.
BrianB2: The North Campus Diner at the University of Maryland had a row of waffle irons, the kind you might see at an above-average continental breakfast, you know, like a La Quinta, not those dumpy Comfort Inns. Anyway, the waffle irons at Maryland stamped a little Testudo in the middle of your sugary breakfast disc, and if you don’t think that is the most adorable thing ever, regardless of your prior allegiances, well...screw you! To answer the actual questions, my favorite topping is maple syrup, unless this is not a topping and more of an expected accompaniment, to which I say, my favorite topping is maple syrup. I do not own a waffle iron, but I am not against eating waffles, but my go-to ‘breakfast carb’ is most definitely bagels...also topped with maple syrup.
WSR: All I need on top of my waffle is some butter and maple syrup. It’s not that I hate other things, it’s just that I don’t need them and that means there’s more for everyone else. Do I own “a” waffle maker? No. I own 3. A belgian, a standard one (that’s got plates to be a panini press, but it’s almost always been a waffle maker), and a Mickey Mouse one (because while I can make Mickey pancakes with a hot griddle and ¼ cup measuring cup, it’s a lot tougher to do waffles, and it’s really easy to turn them into Minnie Mouse waffles with a quick hit of whipped cream and some strawberry syrup to make a bow) just because I’m secretly a big softie for the right two people.
Creighton: I have a belgian waffle maker from the 80’s that still works great. Waffle bars with like walnuts and whipped cream and stuff are fine, but by far the best waffle dish is chicken and waffles. I like to complain about living in the south a lot but I have to give credit where credit is due, and chicken and waffles is a damn near perfect dish. I like to go light on the gravy and add some arugula to it. Real maple syrup is obviously required. I don’t even remember the last time I had the fake maple flavored corn syrup.
Andrew: The ladyfriend has a Death Star-patterned waffle maker, but without X-wing butter molds, it feels like an unfulfilled promise. In any case, I normally eschew your waffle/French toast/pancake family in favor of breakfast taters of some form, the exception being if I’m in the Lansing area in which case Golden Harvest is the law.
babaoreally: I enjoy normal waffles. They are also good as substitutes for bread in a sandwich. There is a place at the North Market in Columbus, Ohio that does a really good job with a waffle breakfast sandwich.
Beez: Only thing going on top of my waffle is maple syrup. Being a worldly man, I enjoy both real, delicious Log Cabin maple syrup and “actual” maple syrup. Also butter is great. I do own a waffle maker! It’s is a sorta-broken hand-me-down, which I have yet to use. I believe it makes those thick, deep, girthy waffle imprints, but I”ve never used it so I can’t be sure.
Stew: Alright, I’ll be the weirdo. Pancakes are better. But even then, my fav breakfast carbs are breakfast potatoes. Cook them in some bacon fat, season with salt, Lawry’s, pepper, garlic, and a dash of cayenne. Towards the end, add in some onions, and peppers (both spicy and sweet) with some diced bacon.
Zuzu: I love Buttermilk pancakes. But I also love waffles. And toast. And English muffins. I just like carbs, guys. But if I had to choose, fine. Buttermilk pancakes, and I can make them from scratch myself too. When I do eat waffles, I just like them plain. No syrup, no butter, no whipped cream, no fruit. Same with my pancakes.
Boring Football Stuff
So last year, Purdue was very Nebraska-like in that they had one of the worst defenses in the B1G to go along with one of the best offenses. While it can be fun to spend one day a year with Illinois, you don’t want to spend an entire season next to Thump’s Troopers in the stats columns. And you definitely don’t want to be there for years and years and years and years and years. Is there any reason for hope for the Purdue defense, or will Nick Holt get catapulted from West Lafayette during his third season just like he did at his last P5 job at Washington? And who was the last DC you wanted to see get fired mid-game from your school, and which game would have been the best time to fire him?
Thumpasaurus: Nick Holt deserves more credit than he gets because as Andrew and I pointed out repeatedly on the podcast, last year’s Purdue defense didn’t have much in the way of veteran starters as a result of the Hazell administration whiffing big-time on the 2015 class for defense. I expected them to be worse than they were, and Holt did enough to keep Purdue in most of its games. They’ll improve for sure.
I want the current defensive coordinator fired. The best game to fire him would have been after he gave up 63 points to Iowa while his team scored none. He’s also the head coach.
MNW: The last DC I have wanted to see fired was Mike Hankwitz. It was sometime around the 2011 season. I’m not proud of it (I’m even less proud of how much I liked Mick McCall at the time LA LA LA LA NO ONE AT SIPPIN’ ON PURPLE SAVED RECEIPTS, YOU CAN’T SHAME ME), but there it is.
Not only does Purdue remain decently deep on defense (though new DBs coach Greg Brown will have his work cut out), but I don’t think it’s been mentioned--and I’m sorry if it has--that the Boilers have added Western Kentucky’s leading tackler from 2018, LB Ben Holt (BEN HOLT!) to a linebacking corps that’s got NFL Draft hype-star Markus Bailey. There’s also Derrick Barnes, who as a LEO will, I suspect, be caring and active but possibly temperamental when Venus is in the third house. I hope none of your games are played when Saturn is in transit, Boilers.
Honest to goodness, though, George Karlaftis. I’m excited to watch the West Lafayette product play.
BRT: No reason for them to hope, though this is mostly because I’d like someone’s defense to be worse than ours. On that theme, the candidates for mid-game firing are plentiful at Nebraska. I considered the 70-10 loss to Texas debacle in 2008 (Carl Pelini’s first season as DC), though that particular mess was probably less his fault than the previous coaching staff. To that end, the 2007 loss to Kansas by the score of 76-39 (this was the bizzaro year where Kansas was not putrid, but still. 76 points. Kansas.) was an opportune moment to fire Kevin Cosgrove. The other obvious candidate here is the 2012 CCG, ye of 70-31, endless jet sweeps. I didn’t actually watch any of this game, which I’ve heard was a good decision, but I think there were a lot of Husker fans who wouldn’t have been sad had John Papuchis been fired mid-game here.
Jesse: Kevin Cosgrove… A man reviled by many a fan in the Big Ten, and one who has managed to avoid a Wikipedia page somehow. Anyhow, I think the actual most recent “let’s fire this guy” was pretty boy Bob Diaco. Not only did he seemingly have no clue what was going on during the games, he also lost pretty much everyone outside of the stadium. Just an absolute idiot up and down. Easily the dumbest man in the room which is infuriating because he shouldn’t have been.
As for Purdue, I actually am with most of my colleagues here in that Purdue has a sneaky good amount of talent defensively. With the faster tempos that teams are running, I don’t think we’ll see a lot of shutouts by teams like Purdue - or Nebraska for that matter - are on the field a lot. So long as you get to a good frame as a Boiler fan for what is acceptable in PPG etc, then I think you will be happy with what’s put on the field.
BrianB2: Maryland only fields a defense when they play Rutgers and Texas, thus I am not permitted to analyze the quality of other teams defenses. Coincidentally, everyone hated Andy Buh when he was Maryland’s DC. We finished 2017 giving up 37.1 points per game, good for 120th in the nation. There are a number of games from that season that you can single out as potential grounds for termination. 2018 was a smidge better. I am unsure how much of this was his fault and how much can be attributed to a general lack of player ability. Probably a little column A, little column B. Good luck Rutgers!
WSR: I’m not sure what to think about Purdue. They’ve got some pieces (and have for a while, even under the previous regimes that were supposedly crap), but I’m not sure that they’ve got the right person leading them. Holt did a good job in his first year of having a unit that kept them in games, but he’s never struck me as a person who’s going to consistently put together good defenses against good teams, but rather continues to get jobs because he’s probably easy to work with and gets credit for being the DC under Pete Carroll at USC for a few years. Talent doesn’t work by diffusion or osmosis, and I feel like he’s a pretty good G5 DC that has no business being in that role for a P5 team. They’ll probably move up a little bit because they do have some pieces (and I can’t wait to see what George Karlaftis can do, which is hopefully quite a bit against wisconsin and Iowa and Northwestern but not much against my team.
As for DC I wanted, yeah. I wanted Robb Smith left in Lincoln last season Fleck failed to fire him in-game and have a punter just guess what to do (which would have probably been just as effective), and then I was furious 2 weeks later when he wasn’t killed with an icepick after Illinois ripped off 3 65+ yard TDs in the first half doing pretty much the same thing the Huskers did! When you get outsmarted by Lovie’s staff, it’s time to go commit seppuku because you have most certainly brought shame to your ancestors.
Andrew: Yeah, actually there’s plenty of reason to expect good things from the defense. As Thump mentioned, we talk, in the podcast we know you all listen to hey why is everyone suddenly avoiding eye contact about how, when Holt did have veterans in his first year, the defense was much sharper than expected. Well, he has experience again, and a higher level of playmakers in guys like Neal, Bailey and Mosley than he did 2 years ago. Sprinkle in the higher caliber of recruits Brohm is attracting, and baby, you’ve got a stew going.
babaoreally: Nick Holt is good; I hope he doesn’t get fired. He wears old-lady style glasses, usually with a strap around them to keep them from falling off when he yells at people. I can’t remember the last time that I thought firing the DC would make any difference to Purdue. Everything was so bad that replacing one piece wouldn’t have made any difference.
Beez: Who was the Wisconsin DC before what’s-his-name that Gary Andersen brought in? Whoever was Biels’s DC I likely wanted to fire into the sun during every game.
Regarding the defense, does Rondale Moore play on the defensive side of the ball this year? If so, expect lots of gamebreaking touchdowns (cuz Purdue’s defense won’t be good, not because Moore will be able to play D). Look, the Brohm offense thrives on two things: Total b.s. High school gimmick plays, and letting the other team score as fast as possible so you can flex your genius offense brain some more. Not a great setup for having a good defense.
Stew: There have been 4 Iowa DCs since 1978, when Hayden Fry was hired: Bill Brashier, Bob Elliot, Norm Parker, and Phil Parker. They’re all amazing DCs, every one of them. At no point would I have ever wished any of them fired. However, let’s just say that maybe they should have been a bit more flexible in their defensive schemes at times.
Zuzu: I’m sure he’ll “improve” the defense, but if Purdue continues their annoying upward trajectory and it was lessened in this season all due to the defense not being able to achieve what the offense did, then he’s gone. Basically, Purdue may view the mismatch as a cost even if Holt is objectively decent.
Alright, your turn to weigh in on an important topic and also the Purdue defense!
Best breakfast carb:
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Toast, avocado or otherwise, depending on age and homeownership status
Muffins (any nationality)
In 2019, Purdue’s defense will be...
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Not noticeably different