My Dad has never been someone who enjoys making meals. He claims he always had a dream of being a short-order chef, to the extent that he has memorized some diner slang (“Adam and eve on a raft- float ‘em”). Granted, Dad’s scrambled eggs and omelets are delish. He says if he was on his own, he would live on sandwiches. I don’t doubt it. When my Mom worked weekend shifts at a hospital, he would make my sister and I the same dinner every night- burnt hamburgers. He would get distracted as we watched The Six Million Dollar Man on TV, and invariably the house would get filled with smoke as the burgers burned.
Yet, my Dad had a specialty in the kitchen growing up- waffles. I’m not sure how the tradition started, but I recall in the mid-80’s our kitchen on Saturday mornings filled with the irresistible scent of waffles and maple syrup. Dad’s waffles didn’t come from a box; he made them from scratch and cooked each one to order. He used a recipe called “Oh Boy” Waffles from a stained 30-year old cookbook. As the waffles rose in the iron, he would admonish the waffles: “Rise you sucker, rise!” Needless to say, we were a happy family on waffle weekends with the delicious treats and commentary. Dad always had his with peanut butter and jam, which I tried to like (but didn’t). I stuck with butter and syrup, and branched out to fruit and ice cream.
When I started to make my own waffles years later, I found out that “Oh Boy” Waffles don’t turn out as well as they once did. The waffles stuck to my waffle iron. Other recipes were auditioned, but my favorite is the basic waffle recipe that came with my $20 waffle maker. No need for fancy waffle makers- Belgian waffles are usually steamy and floppy, so a basic nonstick model that allows steam to escape does the trick. The only waffle rule I stick to is, never make a soggy waffle. Crisp is best, and any extras can be frozen or refrigerated and heated up in a toaster or waffle iron. I can never enjoy a waffle in a restaurant; they are never crisp enough. So, the only solution is to have a waffle weekend, which I did today. No one said, “rise you sucker rise,” but the waffles were delicious, and a special treat after a long week. Dad would approve. If we had waffle weekends across America, I’m convinced our happiness scale would go off the charts.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 ¾ cups milk
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat eggs in small bowl; add oil and milk. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir with a spatula. Finish with a whisk. Let batter rest five minutes before using. Follow directions for waffle maker. Spray iron with nonstick spray when ready light indicates; put small amount of batter on iron for a “test” waffle. Proceed with remaining batter. Makes about eight waffles.