On Wednesday, North Carolina residents slowed to a bread-and-milk hoarding standstill as up to a foot of snow blanketed parts of the state. Schools were canceled, businesses were closed and the NC Department of Transportation politely asked everyone to stay home and “wave at [their] local plow driver.”
Despite the severe weather, WNCN reporter David Hurst still had to work, and still had to stand on frozen Franklin Street in Chapel Hill making polite conversation with his colleagues who were in a heated studio. Near the end of his pre-dawn segment on Thursday morning, Hurst produced a to-go waffle from Waffle House and, as anchor Beairshelle Edmé asked “What is happening?” he folded it in half, filled it with snow from the sidewalk and ate it on the air.
“This is what we do down in Georgia on snow days,” he said. “Waffle House is from Georgia. We’ve got a snow taco here.” Hurst then put his microphone down and shoved the entire thing in his mouth while Edmé let out an audible “Ewww.”
First, what? Second, the fuuuuck? Admittedly, I have no idea what the state of Georgia does on a snow day—and the state’s average annual snowfall ranges from 0.0 inches to 3.1 inches, depending on the region—but as a West Virginia native and longtime North Carolina resident, I wondered why I knew absolutely nothing about snow tacos. Snow cream, yes. Snow tacos, no.
I inquired on social media, reaching out to Southerners, “northerners,” and even Scandinavians to find out whether they had seen, heard of, or tasted a wet waffle filled with a handful of nature’s most photogenic frozen contaminants. One Rochester, NY resident said it sounded like something she would’ve given her former roommate’s five-year-old. A western North Carolinian told me that if eating Tide Pods was a thing, then snow tacos could be a thing. And an Icelandic Swede said that he couldn’t remember the last time he saw an adult eat snow on purpose. No one had ever heard the phrase “snow tacos.”
That’s because Hurst seemingly invented it; when he said it’s what they did “down in Georgia,” he meant that it happened one time, when he was a teenager.
“The first time I had a snow taco was when I was in high school in Alpharetta, Georgia. It was a rare snow day and we didn’t have school, so my friends and I found ourselves at one of the few places in town that was open: Waffle House,” he told MUNCHIES. “After we finished our meal we went outside and I dared one of my friends who got a to-go waffle to put snow in it and eat it like a taco. He accepted, and we dubbed the dare the ‘Snow Taco Challenge.’”
Hurst said that on Thursday morning, when he was standing outside a Waffle House on Franklin Street, the memory came back to him—and he hopes it catches on. “Since [the first one] was the pre-hashtag era, it didn’t gain much traction,” he said. “I don’t believe any of us made any more snow tacos, and I haven’t heard any other references to it.” (Puzzling!)
Regardless, he said that it “tastes better than you think,” and he also recommended putting North Carolina’s own Texas Pete hot sauce on it.
Whew, at least that’s settled, and I’m honestly relieved that it wasn’t some widely known rite of passage that I’d somehow missed or, worse, had aged out of. So are we doing these Tide Pod tacos or what?