During the month of March I will be writing every day in the company of my fellow slicers in our writing community annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. This is Day #5.
March 5, 2021
Last Sunday we called with our eldest son in Chicago on our way home from the grocery store. He was making waffles when we called. We are a big waffle family from way back.
Way back from before his time, I can remember my father on the weekends with his long waffle iron that made four brick size waffle rectangles stretched out across our ‘snack bar’ in the small kitchen in our ranch house. He is mixing in ingredients such as peanut butter and bacon talking the whole time in his rich baritone about how this was going to be the perfect batch. It always was. Smothered in butter, crispy and covered with what was certainly not maple syrup, I can remember carefully cutting each square in those rectangles into perfect bites. Across all these years, I can still see him there, his favorite bowl and that massive waffle iron, his hair messy on top of his head, his eye glasses cock-eyed as he measured each ingredient. I wish I had that recipe now, so I could recreated that exact taste. And then, there we were, snuggled around that kitchen table or pulled up to that ‘snack bar’ as the steam rose from that opening waffle iron to reveal those heavenly waffles.
Bob and I kept that tradition of making waffles in our young family. In the beginning there wasn’t a fancy stainless waffle iron. Oh no, there was a twenty dollar round waffle iron, but that little waffle iron made lots and lots of waffles. Truth be told, I made them so often when the kids were young that I didn’t make homemade waffle batter, I used pancake mix much of the time. In homage to those waffles of old and the culinary tastes of some boys still in single digits, the waffles sometimes had a few mini-chocolate chips mixed in. Again, there we were, a different nuclear family snuggled around the table in our kitchen, the smell of baking waffles all around, those hungry boys waited in eager anticipation for the taste of crispy, fluffy waffles.
Fast forward to our present day, I own a fancy stainless waffle maker still brought down from over the refrigerator for our Sunday brunches less one son twelve hundred miles away. These days, I make my own waffle batter and the waffles are smothered in Vermont maple syrup, a taste acquired from our years in New England. Occasionally these days waffles are accompanied by gravy and fried chicken for the men, but not for me. Waffles are still smothered in butter and syrup and cut into those perfect bite-size squares. I still think of my father, long past, when cut those squares and take that first bite.
Our older son received his fancy waffle iron for his birthday this year along with maple syrup. Missing restaurant brunch, as many of us are, he makes his own waffles in his kitchen so far away from ours. As he tells me about his ingredients, his method, his kitchen, we are drawn together across the miles and across the years. I feel the warmth of all those Saturday mornings in the rear view mirror. The love of family baked into perfectly baked fluffy squares.