August 11, 2010

Waffles and Memories


The son of a grocer and trained in the art of butchery, my Grandpa was a terrific cook. My Grandma was a great cook too, and together they seemed happiest when they were efficiently executing a meal for our family, his part usually being the meat component of the meal. Amazingly good food came from their kitchen, but one favorite memory is of Grandpa's waffles.
Occasionally we were invited to Grandpa and Grandma's for Sunday night supper. This was different than Sunday dinner, which was an elaborate meal served mid-day. Sunday supper was a relaxed and casual evening meal, and was often a pot of one of Grandpa's interesting soups from which he'd pull a cheesecloth wrapped bouquet garni before ladling into bowls. This fascinated me, how he magically infused the broth with intriguing combinations of flavors, and I learned by watching. But my favorite Sunday supper was his waffles.

Plain waffles, streaked through with fluffy bits of egg white, lightly glistening with maple syrup. Nothing fancy. Grandpa knew that after separating the eggs and whipping the whites, the lightest touch in folding the whites into the batter would make for the most tender, crispy waffle. If any error was to be made, it would be in undermixing the batter, leaving a few pure white streaks remaining; a much more preferable outcome than a tough, chewy waffle. I learned by watching him, too.
Pancakes are okay by me, but I'm crazy about waffles, when given the choice. I still use the fluffy egg white method of my Granddad, and still use my old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook recipe from the splattered and stained page. I've made notes over the years, adjusting the quantities greater when there were three kids at home, and now lesser for two of us. I like how my own personal history lays over the top of something special my Grandpa didn't even know he was giving me.

Here's our latest waffle iteration. The batter is sprinkled with pecans and blueberries before baking and is topped with an Oregon triple berry sauce and a dollop of tangy Greek yogurt. Pretty terrific.

Grandpa's Waffles

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 beaten egg yolks
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 stiffly beaten egg whites

Sift together dry ingredients.

Combine yolks, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients.

Fold in whites, leaving a few fluffs. Bake in waffle iron until brown and crispy.

Triple Oregon Berry Sauce
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons corn starch, mixed in 1/4 cup cold water

I cup raspberries
1 cup strawberries, quartered

Place the blueberries, water and sugar in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until blueberries are soft and are beginning to give up their shape. Stir in cornstarch mixture and heat until beginning to bubble and thicken, about two minutes.

Stir in remaining berries and heat for one more minute. Serve over waffles, pancakes, ice cream, etc.

I hum very quietly when I cook, and it was recently pointed out to me that my Grandpa did too.

24 comments:

  1. This looks incredible, awesome and delicious, but I'm not going to be distracted! I'm looking for the fig jam. Are you going to post it? :)

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  2. I love your blog. I have a lot of dietary restrictions but reading well written articles about food is a tasty substitute. I loved waffles. I've tried the gluten free variety, but decided it was better to let the crisp wheat and heavy oil version of Sunday waffles just linger and develop sweetness in memory.
    Thanks,
    joy

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  3. Now THOSE are some waffles! It makes me wish we had a waffle maker at home... because these look absolutely perfect!

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  4. I really enjoyed this post! I love hearing about the history of recipes and the stories that go along with them! We use the egg white method also, and funny, those little white streaks are a favorite for me too.

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  5. WOW, so delicious looking. Love all the love and memories in this. Well done.

    Thank you for sharin,
    Joanne

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  6. Never thought of separting the yolk and than beating the whites. Must really impact the texture!

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  7. Wow, that is one amazing looking waffle :)

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  8. Thank you for sharing that memory with your grandfather. This looks amazing, will try this but to make pancakes we are not big waffle eaters but after a story like this I can't help but want to try it.

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  9. What a sweet post and lovely memories. And the waffles look mouth-watering!

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  10. The waffles look great, and that final plate speaks volumes!

    Bon appetit!
    =:~)

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  11. Another trick of your grandparents was to make an extra large batch of waffle batter for supper waffles, then use the remaining batter for breakfast pancakes. Mmmmmm...so much better than regular pancakes.
    Love,
    Dad

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  12. It's officially.. I can't wait for a waffle maker anymore. I need one and this post is proof!

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  13. I like your grandpa's waffles, Dearie! They look delicious-seriously...
    Buzzed by the way (wink).

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  14. Excellent post. The waffles look delicious! I love the picture of the completely cleaned plate! I think it's great that you can make these waffles and always bring back memories of your grandpa.

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  15. Wow, those look like amazing waffles. You are makin' me hungry. I adore waffles. I love Alton Brown's Chocolate Waffles recipe. Have you tried it yet? So good.

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  16. What a great memory! The waffles look absolutely delicious! I can almost see a peace sign in the blueberry sauce on the empty plate.

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  17. We haven't had waffles in a while, but your post makes it necessary! MMM waffles with warm peaches and sticky maple syrup. Can't wait till Sunday!

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  18. This post makes me think I should buy a waffle iron...........

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  19. Those waffles look like a delicious mess! Thanks for the berry sauce, my dad is always looking for a new fruit syrup!

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  20. You made making waffles downright poetic, and I love the connections between food and memory, what a lovely post.
    Gree

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  21. Pam, it's late at night, but now I want breakfast because of these waffles.

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  22. My most favorite memories always have something to do with food...

    Jason

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