Cultural Confusion: The Case of the Stroopwafel

I have lived in Dutch-American communities or socialized with those from this community for more than half my life.  Actually I still socialize with them, though I have to go some distance to do it.  As evidence of my authority to speak for this community, in spite of my lack of Dutch ancestry, is that I recently gave the keynote address at the  AADAS conference–the Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies.

It is out of defense of this community that I want to bring the public’s attention to the  cultural confusion around the Stroopwafel.   The Stroopwafel is a thin waffle-like pastry known within the Dutch-American community.  Recently United Airlines has started to give these out on flights as snacks during their morning flights.  I support this.  However, this move has created some cultural confusion.  Recently I overheard a passenger asking about their origin.  The steward quickly said that they were from Belgium or France in spite of the writing on the back which clearly said they were made in the Netherlands and the Dutch name–STROOPWAFEL.





If this wasn’t bad enough, that airlines personnel are not culturally competent, we have an imposter showing up on the shelves at Starbucks in Barnes and Nobles bookstores.  These imposters are called Rip van Wafels, clearly a takeoff on Rip van Winkle, an American fictional figure.  What adds to the cultural confusion is the addition of the lion on the package which is the national symbol of Scotland.  This is just not right.

There.  I’ve gotten that off my chest.




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