How the U.S. and Belgium solved their World Cup differences with pancake diplomacy

America is still sore after its World Cup dreams came to an end last week. Aside from the humiliation, it has another reason to be upset – it owed pancakes to the Belgians. In the diplomatic heartland of London, a bet was made this month between U.S. Ambassador Matthew Barzun and Belgian Ambassador Guy Trouveroy.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Matthew Barzun and Belgian Ambassador Guy Trouveroy bet an American pancake breakfast or Belgian waffle breakfast on their teams' round of 16 World Cup game. The U.S. team lost, and Barzun settled the score earlier this week. (U.S. Embassy in London via YouTube)

“Since we are both soccer (football) fans and our two countries’ teams face each other tonight in the World Cup, I thought I would offer up a friendly wager,” Barzun wrote. “If you win I will cook American pancakes for you and your team at the Belgium Embassy… if however Team USA wins then we would enjoy tasty Belgian waffles at the US Embassy.” The match ended with a 2-1 victory for Belgium, so it fell to Barzun to cook up the winner's feast.

The proof, as the saying goes, is in the pudding.

Barzun appears to whip up a fine meal for his Belgian counterpart, who appeared appreciative of the tasty reminder of his nation’s victory. Ambassadors across the globe have been eager to fill our Twitter feeds with diplomatic love via #DigitalDiplomacy. Now, we’ve entered the age of food diplomacy. Imagine how much more congenial summits and negotiating sessions would be if all the guests cooked for one another.

Sebastian Payne is a national reporter with The Washington Post. He is the Post’s 35th Laurence Stern fellow.
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