Feb 172013

Mimi's waffles

If there’s one thing that every kid needs, it’s a partner in crime. Growing up, I felt as though my Dad’s step-mother was that person. We always delighted in each other’s company and getting to spend time with her was simultaneously a treat and an adventure because she totally cashed in on Grandmother’s Privilege and spoiled us rotten.

There was a comforting ritual that came with visiting her house overnight: I (and sometimes my brother too, but sometimes not) would get dropped off. I’d go visit the stuffed buzzard in my grandfather’s study, then I’d go play Candy Land with Mimi, and before bed she would conspiratorially make me a bowl of bananas and whipped cream. When I’d awake in the morning, the crown jewel of my visit would be waiting for me: golden, crisp, delicious, I-never-got-these-at-home waffles. With real butter, no less — something I only ever saw at her house, since I grew up in the 80’s when everyone (excepting Mimi, of course) thought that margarine was better for you.

Along with the food, of course, there are other memories: the way Mimi and I would talk over those contraband goodies she’d make for me every visit, the way we were always so excited to see each other, the way she would giggle when something I would say just plainly tickled her pink. The way she could listen to you like you were the only person on the planet that mattered. I don’t remember a ton of specific conversations, but like my maternal grandmother, I remember the way she made me feel, which as my cousin Lindsay pointed out, is the best legacy you can leave behind. She was a great partner in crime for a kid to have growing up.

And so, when she died last November, I was very sad to realize that my own daughter wouldn’t get to know her as I remembered her. So I clung to what I could: I claimed that tattered old box of Candy Land, the novel we all considered integral to her personality, and this recipe, which I got from her on a phone call twenty years ago and which I’ve been making ever since, and I’ll hold fast to the hope that these things can help culture the same things for Leah as they did for me: a sense of warmth, safety, love, and compatriotism that will last her a lifetime.

Mimi's waffles

Mimi’s Waffles
Adapted from a family recipe
Serves 3-4

Leftovers can be frozen or refrigerated with great success. Thaw and warm frozen waffles in a 200F oven; warm refrigerated waffles in a toaster-oven or regular oven.
If you’d rather use all butter or all oil, that’s fine. I do the 50/50 mix because butter gives the waffles superb flavor but can also leave them a bit greasy. Oil doesn’t contribute any flavor but gives better texture. Combining the two gives you the best of both worlds.
1 3/4 cups (210g) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) neutral-flavored oil, like canola
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Waffle toppings, such as softened butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit, berry syrup, or bourbon-berry coulis.
Heat waffle-iron and prepare the surface according to your waffle-iron’s directions. Stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
Beat eggs well. Whisk in buttermilk, butter, oil, and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet until fully combined.
Portion batter onto prepared waffle-iron (amount will vary by your iron) and cook until golden-brown and crisp (time will vary by waffle-iron). Keep waffles warm in a single layer in a 200F oven until all are cooked. Serve with your favorite toppings.

  2 Responses to “Mimi’s waffles”

  1. I loved reading this. It touched my heart. Made me want to go make some!

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