We’ve all got family traditions and memories from our childhood, things our parents always made sure to do with us and for us. We remember things like pizza night or movie night, silly made up songs that were only sung at bedtime, private handshakes or speaking in secret code when out in public just because it’s entertaining (well, my Girl and Boy hardly think that one’s much fun but I still use my own version of Pig Latin in the grocery store just to see exactly how much embarrassment I can cause them. It’s the small things in life.). It’s what every parent strives for: giving their children happy memories to carry them into adulthood. Life is just one set of memories after another and we’re all just hoping they’re good ones.
On Friday nights I like to make a colossal stack of pancakes for Saturday morning breakfasts. And the reason I don’t make them in the mornings is because I don’t like mornings. I don’t like doing anything other than getting caffeinated before 7:00 AM and I’d never get around to making the batter if I didn’t do it the night before. I think it’s nice that I know myself so well.
But on Sunday nights I make waffles. Waffles are so different than pancakes because they require more preparation and always seem to taste more special. I don’t know why this is, but the reaction I get from making a batch of waffles always has loads of cheering and “I LOVE YOU MAMA” ‘s.
Because I’m a really good friend and blogger who likes to please, I’m going to share my waffle making with you. You’ll never be the same, I promise. You might even cheer and tell me that you love me too.
It all starts with a good recipe doesn’t it? I tried tons of them too before I found The One. You know that feeling when you find a good recipe and everything just works together in harmony and it’s beautiful? I found that waffle recipe.
It’s really old, wrinkled and covered in dry batter. But I don’t care because I love it. I fantasize about this piece of paper being passed from my daughter to her daughter in a deeply special family tradition.
Shall we move on to dry ingredients? This blog entry is going to be incredibly stimulating – I know you’re gripping the sides of your chair in anticipation right now. But, sadly, this is the most boring part of the process because everything is white and powdery, not much excitement happening. Although every once and a while I’ll use one less quarter teaspoon of salt just to arouse my wild side. I get so nervous when I do that! And then I have a shot of pineapple rum.
Things really start getting electrifying from here on out. Do you like eggs? Do you even realize how much fun eggs can be? Unless you have yourself a super fancy egg white separator from Pampered Chef you’re not actually living. I force Mother Nature to do something completely against her will: physically removing an egg yolk from its slimy cytoplasm! And yes, I had to Wiki that one, so did you.
It looks so slippery and gooey! I always gag a little while listening to the sounds of slimy cytoplasm dripping all over itself into a big steel bowl. It looks eerily similar to a big bowl of boogers, doesn’t it?
Aw! Look! A little bowl full of baby chicks! Hi baby chicks.
Why aren’t they peeping and chirping? Are they sleeping? I just want to scratch behind their fluffy yellow ears. Do chickens even have ears? Give me a minute – I need to research this…..
Yes! According to an extremely reliable Wiki Answers article, chickens do indeed have ears.
Okay I need to focus and get myself back on task.
Aw! Look! A bowl full of baby chicks swimming in milk!
I wisk those baby chicks until they become one with the milk. It’s always a good baking and cooking practice to prepare your dry and wet ingredients separately. It’s not always more convenient but it sure makes the batter yummier and more consistent. And when it comes to waffles, baby I know what I’m talking about.
Wisk it! Wisk it Good! (Do you remember that cheesetastic “Whip It” music video by Devo? No, me either.)
It’s time to make those wet and dry ingredients settle down and start a family. It’s all about creating the memories right? They’ve put it off long enough and neither of them are getting any younger. I don’t care if they go kicking and screaming – they’re making baby waffles.
Next is the completely unglamorous addition of canola oil. It does nothing for your waffles other than keep them from getting stuck to the iron and ending up completely torn, ruined and ugly. I tried omitting the oil once and ending up sobbing and banging my head against the garbage can for hours. Learn from my mistakes.
Let’s turn our attention once again to that big steel bowl of slimy cytoplasm! It’s time to make the egg whites work for you. They have the ability to make your waffles fluffier than anything from your wildest dreams. My recipes tells me to “beat them stiffly” but whenever I see the worlds “beat” and “stiffly” together my mind tends to wander and since I keep a CLEAN KITCHEN I just whip ‘em until they beg for mercy. Then I tie them up and call them bad names.
I continue to abuse them about three minutes before they turn into meringue. Meringue, tasty in its own right, has no place in waffle batter but is divine atop my Mum’s coconut cream pie. Mmmmm….pie.
Now we begin the most delicate part of the recipe. It’s time to blend our batter with our STIFFLY BEATEN egg whites (I assume you’ve had enough of me calling them slimy cytoplasm?). I can’t perfectly stress the importance of being gentle here. You must treat the egg whites as though she were a delicate flower, likely to wilt and die if handled too roughly. You can do nothing but take your sweet, unhurried time when combining the batter with the egg whites. Turn and fold tenderly. Use your wisk like an artist uses a paint brush. Tell your batter how pretty she is today. Ask your egg whites if she’s lost weight. Don’t let the whites lose their fluffiness because that’s the secret to the most magical, most scrumptious waffles on Earth. IF YOU WANT PEOPLE TO CHEER WHEN YOU BRING OUT THE WAFFLES THEN YOU NEED TO FOLD GENTLY.
It’s Go Time baby. Give that hot iron a good ladle full of your hard work. Start in the middle and drizzle outward. Too much and you’ll have goo cascading down over the sides of your iron. Too little and you’ll end up with crispy-edged waffles. Practice and eat the imperfect ones – nobody will notice.
Set your timer FOR TWO MINUTES AND FORTY SECONDS. You’re probably wondering why I’m yelling at you? Because I’ve been doing this every Sunday night since my Boy and Girl were ages three and five, which means I’ve perfected this recipe approximately….wait….5 times 9…carry the 2….THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE TIMES. There aren’t many things in life I have full confidence about, but making delicious waffles is definitely one of them. So set your timers.
Oh my goodness the suspense is killing me! Do you even know what is happening under there?? Magic. That’s what. Open the lid of your iron slowly and take a deep breath of hot waffle air. “Hot Waffle Air.” If I could bottle that smell and sell it I’d be rich and famous. It’s the smell of always being loved.
I need to take a minute and discuss the other wonderful characters that make this Sunday night meal so complete and good for you. Real Maple Syrup should be taken for granted, implied and always assumed. If you are living in Maine and do not use Real Maple Syrup then shame on you! And it’s August. If you are not using freshly picked blueberries then you should be dragged out into the street and shot. Or just go to the school farm and get yourself some fresh blueberries and forget my last sentence. Butter. We don’t have to actually talk about the butter. It can just an unspoken, sinful agreement.
All that’s left is to live your life in TWO MINUTES AND FORTY SECONDS intervals. Turn that batter into pure love. You may find that you have extra time while the waffles cook. I like to let my mind wander towards images of Benicio Del Toro's sweaty chest. Or maybe you could think about whether or not you’re doing enough for the environment? Endangered animals? Global warming? Or you could just take pictures of your newly manicured toes. Which I did, by the way, but I’ve already accosted you with too many pictures as it is. You don’t really want to see my cute toe polish. Oh. You do?? Okay, if you insist….
When all is said and done, you’ll have a steaming stack of devotion to give to the people you love the most. It’s one of my favorite things about being their Mum. In all reality, I like nothing more than making them good food and watching them feel full and happy.
Every Sunday night I bank on my perfect waffles canceling out all the neurotic tirades that will inevitably begin on Monday morning.