February 16, 2011

On today's breakfast menu...with warm blueberry syrup....

After Grandma’s death, when I was cleaning out her house and I had her waffle iron in my hands, I knew it would have to come across the street to live at our house. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with it when it came to live with me, but it was enough at that point to know that it had to come.

David and I had gotten a waffle iron for a wedding present (er ah, that would be over 35 years ago now) and I was delighted with the gift — chomping at the bit to try it out. But my waffle-induced thoughts of ecstasy were short-lived, since the darned things stuck mercilessly to the top and bottom of the iron when I tried it out. Having little patience for such things, I threatened to throw it out into the yard, but I gave it away instead. “Good riddance” to that beast. No problem: we would simply eat pancakes at our house. (I didn’t grow up with waffles anyway).

And so we did eat pancakes over on our side of the street — (Em’s favorite when she was little were the “Johnnycake house-shaped pancakes,” lovingly, but not very artiscally-created, following those in a favorite children’s book) …. Until the day when I had Grandma’s culinary torture tool in my hands. Never mind. I would find a place for it in my kitchen and not think about it any more.

But houses get cleaned out; jobs get finished, and then it’s time to get going onto the next thing…..which would be the matter of the waffle-making. You see, this was a tradition thing…..

For years when our girls were growing up across the street from Grandma and Grandad, it was a given that on Mondays they would come to our house for dinner and on Wednesdays we would go over there. Grandma was cutting edge with the whole healthy food thing, but her menus didn’t vary much. And she wasn’t known for her supper entrees. Cookies, yes. Cabbage slaw, yes. Apple pies, yes. And waffles were another definite yes. So I had to face it: the thing just had to be done. We were talking legacy, honor and respect. This was not about me; these waffles were bigger than I was. Nope, no two ways about it: I was going to also become a waffle-maker.

The first time I got out the 50’s or 60’s style, Western Auto iron, (not sure about this, but Grandad managed a local store so that’s where some of their things came from), David and his brother, Steve, gathered in the kitchen to “help.” (I was a little nervous so that actually was a big help to me, to not be alone with my mission that had to succeed. Better to share the responsibility). I plugged it in. I got the Pam. (Grandma didn’t use that, but I didn’t want to take any chances.) I laid everything out. Got my biggest spoon, ready to count the dips for each pour. The time came: it had been long enough for it to be hot enough. (We guessed that it had, anyway; the whole thing was a guess-timation procedure, so we were doing the best we could. Of course, David and Steve were both watching the clock to time it, but when it came down to it, I knew it was going to be a run-by-the-seat-of-the-pants activity. I sprayed the top and bottom, poured the first 5 spoonfuls, lowered the lid, then I watched the clock, too. There was hardly any breathing going on: this was important work. After 3 minutes, I think it was, I lifted the lid. Waffles!!! Woo hoo! They looked lovely! So just like she had done for so many years before, I put the first one on a plate, covered with a towel to keep it warm, then made the rest. The stack grew; the batter was used up, and we ate waffles till we were ready to burst. Success!

Which is how I came to be a waffle maker. And which is why we could have waffles today. They’re not the kind in a restaurant; they’re actually a bit limp and the squares are not raised high (like a Belgian waffle), but they taste wonderful and they’re just like her’s and so there you have it: waffles! A lovely way to start a day.


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Location, Location, Location.

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