Monday, October 07, 2013

Waffling With Mom

Waffles were on the menu on Sunday mornings since forever.  After I had moved out in college, whenever I was home on Sunday morning, we always had waffles.  Even last year my mom made waffles for us on Sunday when we visited.

But since March, my mom's legs finally went on strike - her muscles aren't following her instructions and they hurt.  Her mind's basically sound, but it does wander off now and then.  One thing that we can do together is cook up old favorite family recipes.

So I asked Mom if she wanted to make waffles Sunday morning. 

In the summer we made my mom's old Hungarian Goulash and she supervised the whole thing, especially how to mix the ingredients for the dumplings.  We had a lot of fun and a great meal at the end.

The caregiver wasn't too sure about the waffle idea, but I was determined.

Steve:  Where's the waffle iron?
Mom:  In the lower cabinet on the left, wrapped in a white and red towel.

Sure enough there it was.  This waffle iron has to be 40 years old at least.  I checked and found this story at Chow hound about someone with the same waffle iron.  I got out the flour.  There was baking powder, milk.  We used olive oil instead of butter.

Steve:  Where's a mixing bowl?
Mom:  Turn 180˚.

And there behind me on a shelf was the old white mixing bowl with the beaters from the electric mixer.  The mixer was right next to it.  She sat at the table in her wheel chair and guided me as I poured the ingredients into the bowl.  I had to put the baking powder in a little milk and water in the measuring cup and let it do its reaction on the side before adding it to the batter. 

Soon I had a good thick, but not too thick, batter.  I'd already been told to plug in the waffle iron so it would be hot.  But we couldn't find the brush to put the oil on the griddle inside the waffle iron.  I poured a little in with a spoon then opened and closed the waffle iron several times to get it on the top and bottom.

Then I poured in the batter and closed the waffle iron.  The light was on outside.  When it went off, the waffles should be ready.  While the first one was cooking, I remembered we needed chocolate chips.

Caregiver:  We don't have any.
Mom:  Look in the second drawer on the left.  Is there a cookie tin in there?
Steve:  Yes.
Mom:  Look inside the tin.

And there was an unopened bag of chocolate chips.  There's a reason my mom doesn't want anyone organizing her kitchen (or any other part of the house) for her.

I had tried to open the waffle iron to check.  The batter had risen and pushed it open a little, but it was sticking to the griddle.  Would the waffles come loose easily or tear open because they were stuck to the griddle?

The light went out and I tried to open the waffle iron.  It seemed to be stuck, but then the waffle popped loose from the bottom and I was able to pull it off the top intact. It was perfect.

The picture is the second waffle - the one with the chocolate chips.  Fat, crispy, and fluffy inside.

Then we cut some bananas on top and poured some honey and some Himbeersaft onto the waffles.

We both ate way too much waffle.  But it was a delightful morning.  I tried to explain the waffle tradition to my mom's caregiver so she could understand this was more than just a messy breakfast experiment.  It was a tapping into important parts of my mom (and my) brain.  A place where she's still fully mobile and her mind has everything under control.  At one point when we couldn't find the brush to oil the griddle with, my mom forgot she couldn't walk and said, "Let me get it" and tried to stand up. 


  1. Since moving to England, I can say I miss pancakes and waffles. It's just not part of this culture's cuisine. My family had waffles or pancakes every Sunday morning as well -- German tradition, perhaps?

    Something Gene and I had the good fortune to do in the last years of my mother's life was to get together on Sundays -- it was our only day away from the office. Often we would share home-cooking, alternating one week at our house and the next at my mother's.

    Precious and good memories, Steve. All of those days. It brings tears to my eyes now, to think of the power of shared, traditional food with those we love.

    We still have her tin one-cup measure and we use it here, in our now metric world.

    Thank you for giving this to your mother, and thank you for the still warm memory of good times.

  2. Thanks for the link to our Himbeersaft post! This is a lovely post about cooking with your mom -- and the waffles look fantastic, too!

  3. One of my mother's special treats growing up was to have waffles for dinner and invite friends to share. Sitting, watching the iron rise with the delightful result - golden crunch and sweet center - better than a five course meal! Such a happy memory - thanks, Steve, for bringing a smile today!

  4. I never know which posts are going to elicit comments. Jacob and Anon I'm delighted this meant something for you too.
    Sonya, thanks for having your blog so I didn't have to explain Himbeersaft. I looked over your site and saw the same measuring cup my mom has in Gaby's Krokerle post.


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