Friday, Aly and I made waffles.
Waffles may not be a big deal in your household, but they are in ours. We’ve never had much luck making them, even with a standard electric waffle iron. Sometime after I started building our main sailboat, Selkie, I got a hold of a cast iron, stove top model. It’s rather fancy, comprised of a two-part iron, with long wooden handles. The irons fit together to form a ball opposite the handles. This ball fits into a ring base with a socket at one end. The iron can be turned over by pivoting the ball in the socket, warming both sides of the waffle.
I looked forward to waffles made in a rustic, old-fashioned way, but it was not to be. After a couple of disasterous attempts, Michelle set it aside. Figuring that if she couldn’t do it, there’s no way I could, I never tried my luck at it either. Waffles became a rarity in our our home.
In the early years of our marriage, we’d developed a tradition of going to a waffle house on New Year’s Day. Since returning to Alaska, we didn’t have that option, although just before we moved to Haines, an excellent waffle house opened in Auke Bay. Still, making them at home would have been a treat.
Earlier this year, I got reinspired to season our cast iron properly. That process started with finding our cast iron in the various places we’d stored it around the homestead. During that search, I found the waffle iron. It stood to reason that the waffle iron could benefit from reseasoning. And, if it could be improved, perhaps our chances of making a good waffle with it might improve as well.
I knew better than to season the iron and hand it over to Michelle, inviting her to try one more time. A waffle revival in our household needed to be led by someone else—me, specifically. I decided to wait till Aly came home for Christmas, and enlist her help.
She loved the idea, of course, and added it to her “to do” list. Our Christmas celebration proved pretty busy, and we didn’t get around to it until the day she left to return to college. Even so, we were game, and set to work well before lunch.
The first waffle failed, probably because we didn’t know how long to let it bake. I peaked at it early, and when we opened the iron for the finished waffle, it split in two, adhering to both sides of the iron. I took one half, Aly took the other, and between us we chipped the crusty pastry off the iron.
Chastened but undaunted, we agreed to try it once more; if it didn’t work, we would heat up another pan and make griddle cakes out of the rest of the batter.
No need. The next waffle, and all the rest came out perfectly! We all sat down to the first waffles we’d ever had in our cabin. When we’d finished, we jotted down a few notes, including the changes we’d made to the batter recipe, the height of the flame, the amount of time we allowed on each side. Waffles will not be such a rare thing in our home from now on.
What made this especially wonderful is that now Aly’s last day at home this waning Christmas season won’t be remembered as “the day she left.” Instead, it will be “The Day We Made Waffles.”