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Waffles Can Be A Noble Pursuit
There’s a very old, very subtle Chinese curse that goes something like this: “May you live in interesting times.”
Well, it seems to have happened. These are indeed interesting times. And with that in mind, I’d like to discuss something that concerns every thinking American: Waffles.
OK, maybe it’s just me.
Some seek the Holy Grail. Some look for the Fountain of Youth. These are noble pursuits, but they are walks in the park compared to the path I have chosen. I search for the perfect waffle.
I love waffles. Perhaps you guessed that. And it has been so ever since I was a little kid and we had them for breakfast about twice a year. I would beg for them every Sunday, and 50 Sundays of the year the answer came back: “They’re too much trouble. Try again in six months.”
You see, as a waffle-lover I was the family’s odd man out. The others had favorite butter-and-syrup breakfast treats in varying combinations. Dad and Vicky, for example, loved buckwheat pancakes. Mom, Dad and P.D. loved blueberry pancakes. P.D. and Vicky loved French toast. Mom and P.D. loved fried mush.
I was the waffle weirdo.
Crispy on the outside, delicate on the inside, with all those wonderful little pockets for the toppings, the waffle offered a combination of tastes and textures that hit me right where I lived. Compared to waffles, pancakes were flabby and lifeless, fried mush like trying to eat a slice of a brick.
Waffles were versatile, too. Waffles could be breakfast, obviously, but could also make a wonderful dessert with cream (ice or whipped) and fruit (strawberries or fresh peaches especially). Try that with your buckwheat pancakes. Waffles could even be a nice supper or lunch dish if you made them savory and served them with, say, creamed chipped beef.
Or so it said in the cookbook. I never knew firsthand. You see, while my brother got French toast anytime he asked for it, and while blueberry pancakes showed up every other Sunday for years, waffles were seldom seen, no matter how much I begged.
So this, friends, is the source of my quest. I must find the perfect waffle. Perhaps it will be the buttermilk waffle I’ve enjoyed so much as an adult. Maybe it will be a cornmeal waffle. I doubt it’ll be an Eggo, but you never know. I’ll give them a chance.
“Oh, but Mike,” you will say (unless you are doing an impersonation of my mother, in which case it will probably be something like “Oh for Pete’s sake” at the mildest), “this will require you to eat waffles for breakfast at least once a week for the rest of your life. Maybe twice a week, or three times.”
Yes, it will. Sorry, but I’m not seeing a downside there.
Actually, I already have as strong contender for Greatest Waffle I Have Had To Date: A raised waffle made with a yeast batter, from a recipe in Mark Bittman’s “How To Cook Everything.” Seeing as how the same book includes a recipe for the world’s greatest chicken dish (Chicken Adobo, in case you wondered) it could easily include the greatest waffle recipe too, don’t you think?
I guess I’ll just have to keep eating until I’m sure. After all, it’s a quest.
Besides, everyone knows that interesting times always go down a little easier with melted butter and maple syrup.
© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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