Having family traditions is important. They make you feel more like a team. They can bring families together. They are memory makers. I thought I would share one of my families traditions and I would love to hear about yours!
For our birthdays, my Mom would make something she called a “Royal Breakfast”. About a week before, Mom would have us make an “order or wish list” of our desired menu. It could be anything: bacon, omelet, biscuits and gravy, cookies, cake, sausage, waffles, pancakes, whatever! On our birthday or a weekend day closest to our birthday, I remember waking up to that to die for smell of bacon and sausage frying, and waffles baking. A few minutes later you could hear the “Happy birthday” jingle coming down the hall, towards my room. My entire family would be there (except Andrea…she and I have the same birthday!) singing and holding a breakfast tray complete with our fanciest dishes, a flower in a vase, and a candle to blow out. Oh! and I forgot to mention a “bell” to ring when we needed a refill. That’s what I call a royal breakfast. My Mom would set the tray on my lap and we got to feel like royalty for a day. I love this tradition, and I plan on doing this with my kids…someday!
One item that was always on my “Royal Breakfast Wish List” was my Mom’s waffles – crunchy, fluffy, buttery, mouthwatering goodness. She usually made them on special occasions (like our birthdays) or on the weekends or on days when we all got down on our knees and begged her. Her secret ingredients that made the waffles stand out were using oatmeal in the batter (makes the waffle have more of a crunch) and adding a touch of Mexican Vanilla. When I was a teenager, I went on a Mission’s Trip to Mexico where we bought bottle after bottle of real Mexican Vanilla. I think we had like 15 bottles! This stuff is beyond amazing, it literally sends whatever food it is added to over the top. But my Mom’s real secret weapon to making the best waffles known to man was a special waffle iron that was over 50 years old! BTW…isn’t it amazing how some things really had been made with that kind of quality? It was a bulky and heavy square thing that dished out four waffles in one use. This waffle iron made the waffles cook evenly and gave them that perfect, soft crunch. The only thing you had to be careful of when using it was not greasing the iron enough. If you didn’t brush the iron with olive oil or some other grease, you would end up with waffles glued to the waffle iron! This is the biggest hassle to clean out…uggh…memories…
For my entire childhood and up till I went to college our 1950s waffle iron served us faithfully, producing batch after batch of perfect waffles. There were a few times towards the end of its life that the cord would send out some sparks. That was kinda scary. But otherwise, it was still kicking.
When I was in college, hundreds of miles from home, I heard some horrifying news on the phone. My Mom casually said that she had made waffles for my younger sisters, using a new waffle iron. WHAT? A NEW waffle iron???
“Just giving the old one a break?” I asked, telling myself not to panic.
“Oh, no…didn’t I tell you? I threw that old thing away!”
It was a crushing moment. And the waffles have never been the same since! RIP Waffle Iron.
How do you top your waffles? What do you top them with? What are your family traditions?
I am really, and I mean really, weird about sweet things. I think it’s called a “Super Taster”; (learn more about it at Smithsonian.com, “A Matter of Taste” by Mary Beckman; if you read about it-I have no problem eating vegetables…fruits are what I have a really hard time eating!) Basically I have a bunch more sweet taste buds on my tongue than most people, so when I eat a bite of cake it tastes like I just shoved a gallon of sugar down my throat. I like the flavor of sweet things but it is literally impossible for me to eat them. My twin sister, Andrea, is the exact same way! Weirdies together! So my waffle is topped with butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. Ya, totally weird, but delicious!