Remember when 1992 was the Year of the Woman? Yeah, that was a thing, although ever intrepid Sen. Barbara Mikulski shrugged it off at the time, saying, "Calling 1992 the Year of the Woman makes it sound like the Year of the Caribou or the Year of the Asparagus. We're not a fad, a fancy, or a year."
With the women's march prompting some to ask whether 2017 will be the "next year of the woman," Monday's the day to celebrate the best unofficial holiday made just for women: Galentine's Day.
What's Galentine's Day, you ask? It's only the greatest gift we've ever gotten from Leslie Knope, the unfailingly earnest bureaucrat at the helm of the NBC series Parks and Recreation, describing it thus during Season 2: "Every Feb. 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It's like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas."
Knope may have highlighted frittatas, but any fan of the show knows that waffles are her true love, making waffles our top choice to anchor any Galentine's Day meal. It also can't be a coincidence that a Swedish holiday known as Vaffeldagen (Waffle Day) just happens to fall on Varfrudagen (Our Lady's Day) — clearly, women and waffles were meant to be celebrated together.
Text your gal pals now and get ready for the perfect Galentine's Day celebration Monday night. Here's how.
With 24 hours' notice, you'll easily be able to plan a bang-up besties bash, but if you don't start planning your evening until a scant few hours before, simply heed this sage advice from Knope: "We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn't matter, but work is third." Consider today a practice for the proposed Women's Strike, but with a promise of waffles and mimosas at the end of the day.
Diners, like J.J.'s Diner on Parks and Recreation, are an excellent place for any Galentine's Day gathering, being sure to remember that breakfast needs to be served all day and world-famous waffles had better be on the menu. Don't be afraid to order a lot of waffles: Someone actually calculated that Knope consumes up to 343 waffles per year, so you may have some catching up to do.
If you're celebrating at home, you're in luck, because we live in a time when pretty much anything seems to taste better when it has been shoved into a waffle iron, from hash browns to pizza, as over 1 million YouTube videos can attest. You could start, of course, with a more traditional Knope-approved waffle, topped off with copious amounts of whipped cream, but invite your girlfriends to bring over random leftovers to waffle as a hands-on activity, preferably before you've consumed too many mimosas.
There's no shortage of weird and wonderful waffle recipes to be found around the world, if you're looking for inspiration beyond the traditional Belgian variety. In Thailand, there's the waffle hot dog, served with mayo and ketchup, while the Irish love their savory potato waffles so much that, apparently, Irish immigrants Down Under staged a successful campaign to get the Bird's Eye frozen variety sold in Australia. Hong Kong's egg waffles, a popular street food cooked over a charcoal stove, in flavors from green tea to ube, even got a nod from the Michelin guide in 2015.
Salad is a no-no. In fact, Knope is clear in her stance on salads, and vegetables in general: "I stand behind my decision to avoid salad, and other disgusting things, and I think I have a lot of support in the community for that." Galentine's Day is not the day for diets, temperance, or underindulging. Waffles. More waffles.
Champagne is a must, if only because it figured prominently on the Parks and Rec pilot episode in which Knope's co-worker Tom says, "Every now and then, we have these little gatherings, and Leslie gets plastered." Plus, it's brunch for dinner, making mimosas mandatory. Don't forget that Knope's Midwestern values mean that she would never let a friend drive home drunk, and she would also show up at work the next day, no matter how bad the hangover.
While eating waffles and drinking fizzy cocktails, celebrate the women in your life, Knope-style, by sharing with each one in attendance why you treasure her friendship. Of course, if you really want to do it properly, you'll provide a 5,000-word personalized essay for each person, along with a mosaic portrait made from the glass bottle of her favorite diet soda. But a heartfelt haiku will also do in a pinch. Try using Knope's poetic description of her best friend as a jumping-off point: "Oh, Ann, you beautiful, rule-breaking moth."
As Knope would say, "I am a goddess, a glorious female warrior." Or, alternatively, "Uteruses before duderuses. Ovaries before brovaries." Until Galentine's Day is finally declared a national holiday, let's just call this the Year of the Waffle.
Kristen Hartke is a food writer based in Washington, D.C.
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