What Eggo Waffles Mean to Eleven From 'Stranger Things'
Plus, all the varieties of Eggo you could ever need for the premiere.
In his years-long struggle to get me to eat breakfast, my father served me a near-identical meal every morning before school: Orange juice in a collectible Disney glass that McDonald’s used to sell, Jimmy Dean sausage links, and, most memorably, two Eggo waffles slathered in syrup and butter. These days, more and more parents are invested in serving their children sugar-free, all-natural meals, but when I was a kid, my dad’s breakfast service of processed, sugary foods was not only acceptable, it was common practice. It also made me a lifelong Eggo waffles fan. There is a box in my freezer right now. When Stranger Things, which takes place in a quiet town inhabited by mostly nuclear families, came out last year, I related the most to Eggo waffles-obsessed superhero of the show, Eleven.
Eleven, an adolescent girl with powerful telekinetic abilities, becomes friends with a group of bike-riding, Dungeons and Dragons-playing, pre-teen boys after she escapes from the mysterious hospital where she’s spent most of life honing her powers. One of the boys, Mike, hides her in the basement of his house, where he brings her Eggo waffles—she’s never tasted anything like the slight cardboard flavor (I say that with love) of the frozen waffles before, and she loves it. Eleven latches onto Eggo waffles as her main form of sustenance, at one point marching into a grocery store and stealing boxes of the frozen waffles to eat in the woods.
My dad came to the United States from Indonesia by way of Holland, and bought a nice house in the Seattle suburb of Wedgewood when I was around six; he may have thought—in addition to providing me with what was then considered a nutritious meal before school—he was recreating the quintessential breakfast of the suburban American kid. Eleven has a similar response to Eggo waffles—it’s a food that ties her to her new make-shift family, that lets her taste what it’s like to have a normal life.
Stranger Things is a show, in part, about nostalgia, that invokes not only the early 1980s aesthetic, but precarious childhood balance between security and possible disaster. Kids ride their bikes around their neighborhood unsupervised with the guarantee of safety, but they probably suspect something sinister is lurking beneath the peaceful façade of white picket fences—most people are suspicious there’s always a chance our happy lives could crumble around us. Eggo waffles are a necessary set piece, not only to invoke a time in which everyone simply served syrup drenched waffles to their children without question but to also symbolize the near-banality of life in Hawkins, Indiana, before Eleven was released from her cage. Everything—down to the breakfast food—seemed to be the perfect, but all it took was one small crack (or girl) in the foundation to bring the whole town down.
In the season finale, when we see Jim Hopper hiding Eggo waffles in the woods for a presumably still alive Eleven, we know there’s a still a sliver of hope that she’ll get her happy ending—a loving, caring, family, that eats breakfast around the table together—after all.
While Eleven was relegated to just one flavor (plain), the frozen food aisle now hosts myriad Eggo options. Celebrate the premiere of the show’s second season with almost every variety of Eggo waffles (and waffle-related accessories)—available to overnight straight to your door—and revisit the breakfasts of your childhood. Host an Eggo-themed party for the premiere, then eat the leftovers every morning to show solidarity with Eleven.
Eggo Buttermilk Waffles, 10 count, $3 amazon.com
Eggo Mini Original Waffles, 10 count, $3 on amazon.com
Eggo Brown Sugar Cinnamon Roll Wafflers, $2 on amazon.com
Eggo Cinnamon Toast Waffles, 10 count, $3 on amazon.com
Eggo Thick & Fluffy Mini Vanilla Waffles, $3 on amazon.com
Eggo Gluten Free Waffles, $4 on amazon.com
Eggo Chocolate Chip Waffles, 24 count, $8 on amazon.com
Funko Pop Stranger Things Eleven with Eggos Vinyl Figure, $8 on amazon.com
Eggo Microwavable Syrup Pitcher, $10 on amazon.com
Expanding Eggos Waffles Holder, $7 on amazon.com