Title   Heet warme waeffelen (Search for the image)
Translated title Hot Warm Waffles
Intro Text by dr D. Barnes, accompanying Bramer’s drawing of a waffle vendor (`wafelverkoper’)

Code of occupational group 45220
Description A young woman carries a wicker tray of waffles in her right hand. She wears an apron over her skirt and has a scarf knotted around her shoulders. Her left hand is clenched to her side. Behind her, a small boy eats a waffle, which he holds with both hands. He stands in front of a large building with a columned porch. Behind the waffle vendor, an older woman is seated by an open-air fire, cooking waffles in a waffle iron which she holds over the flames in her portable metal cooking grill. Next to her on the bench is another wicker tray, which she is filling up with cooked waffles. The waffle-baker sits under the protective shade of a stall roof. Another boy stands behind the fire watching her.

Waffles and pancakes were favorite snacks of Dutch people. They were eaten at home and in markets and taverns. Sometimes, but not always, they were served with sweet fruit preserves and honey, or a dusting of pulverized sugar. Often they were simply served hot from the waffle iron, held in the hand, and munched while still warm. But whether consumed on the street or at home, they were not considered a breakfast food.

Jan van de Velde offered an engraving of "The Pancake Woman" in 1626, and Rembrandt had an etching of a pancake woman in 1635 selling her wares to a group of young boys. The theme of the pancake woman was exceedingly popular. With the exception of Adriaen Brouwer's coarsely dressed peasant man baking pancakes over a fire with a grubby little child behind him slurping up pancake batter, most painted depictions of pancake bakers are women. See, for example, Pieter Gerritsz. van Roestraten's (1670) pancake baker (Museum Bredius) who is preparing pancakes at home, while Jan Steen's pancake baker (Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester) and Egbert van der Poel's pancake baker (The Detroit Institute of Arts) are preparing their pancakes outdoors for child buyers.

Jan van der Veen's emblem of the pancake baking woman and child in his (1642) Zinnebeelden oft Adams Appel draws an analogy between half-cooked ideas and half-cooked pancakes, but such moralism seems absent from Bramer's drawing.

Source Donna R. Barnes, Ed D, Street scenes, Leonard Bramer's drawings of seventeenth-century daily life (Hofstra Museum exhibition 1991). Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.

Click here for the introductory essay on Bramer's drawings.

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