Saturday, December 27, 2008

Waffle Iron 1 Ben 0

Do you know how kids, when they're young, wake up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning and dive headfirst downstairs to look under the tree, while mom and dad are hoping for a little more sleep first? Fast forward to a few years later, when the same kids are home from college for the holidays and, around 11:00 a.m. on Christmas morning, mom and dad are saying, "Are they ever going to wake up and come down here?"

I got a gift this year I'd really been hoping for: a waffle iron. I'd wanted it since getting used to having fresh waffles while on vacation earlier this year, when the hotel had an electric one in the lobby as part of their breakfast set-up. Since the last thing I need is another electric appliance on my kitchen counter, I got one of the old-fashioned cast iron kind for the stove top.

If you've never had cast iron cooking equipment, your first is
a real experience. First you have to bake it to clean off the paraffin used to protect it during shipping. Then you have to oil it and bake it again to "condition" it. Turns out cast iron is not naturally non-stick. Who knew? For washing, ti's water only. If you use soap, it undoes all that conditioning.

Combining the conve
nient parts of several batter recipes, including some I just made up, I proceeded eagerly into this new adventure and made my first waffle. Or what would have been my first waffle had the half that didn't overflow onto the stove not burnt to an unrecognizable crisp and gotten shredded as I tried scraping it out. A few minutes and one quick visit to the Internet later (and now armed with information on how to actually use a cast iron waffle maker), it was time to scrape it clean for another attempt. I was determined to make as many tries as it would take to cook something edible. (That's what big bowls of batter are for, right?) The second try wasn't much better, though at least it didn't overflow. The third try came out overcooked but moderately edible, assuming the person you gave it to was either really hungry or in a charitable mood. The fourth and fifth tries came out reasonably. The fifth quickly became a total disaster when I poured the last of the batter into the bottom half of the waffle iron and then, drunk with my new-found waffle-making successes, put the top half on up-side down. (In the true spirit of foolishness, the fact that the two sides of the top half look nothing alike wasn't enough to prevent me from doing this.) What I was able to scrape off became my portion, but that's ok. One of the great parts of cooking things yourself is that food which you'd recognize as horrible if someone else made it ends up tasting great to you.

The waffle iron is now rinsed, oiled and stored away till I get a rematch. And this time it's personal.


Class of 2008

I may not have put decorations on the tree or remembered to buy a wreath, but at this time of year the gingerbread cookies just have to get made. Some readers may recall that last year, in addition to making conventional gingerbread men I put together a kind of designer series. (They're at
http://ben-better-left-unsaid.blogspot.com/2007/12/ah-christmas.html. Right click on the partial photo and select "view image" to see the whole photo.) This year, I am pleased to announce the following new additions:

The Jennifer Aniston:





















The Governor Blagojevich:


























The Plaxico Burress:


12 comments:

Tawnya said...

I was laughing so hard reading this.... Cast iron is finiky but if you treat it right your grandkids's grandkids will be able to use it... The new ginerbread men were cute!!!

miss alaineus said...

i will leave the cast iron to the experienced chefs such as yourself. as a noob to the cooking world, i say BRING ME THE GADGETS!

now tell me where i can get that thingy that guts a chicken for you and folds your sheets.

merry christmas from the mitten!

xxalainaxx

Amy said...

I bought myself an electric waffle iron. I just had to have it. 4 years later, it sits in my pantry, dusty and alone. Eh. :)

Monica said...

We stayed at a hotel with a waffle iron too and I've been wanting one since that time! It was so yummy having fresh waffles in the morning. However, I then start to remember the heavy cast iron one my dad had and it scares me away. Now hearing of your experiences, I'm thinking I'll just book another night at the hotel! It would be best for my sanity. Let us know how you do on the rematch.

Monica

Lisa said...

I have heard about how difficult cooking with cast iron can be. I can barely use a regular pan so I think I'll just stick with that. LOL.

My husband still gets up before dawn on christmas morning. I can't get him up for work but one day a year he gets up before me!!

Happy New Year!

oldhousegal said...

Sounds like a lovely piece of equipment. One of my own favorites is a copper bowl I bought many years ago for whipping egg whites. Something about the copper helps them to whip up fluffier (is that a word?). Now, do I whip egg whites regularly? Occasionally? Ever? No, no, and no, but I still love the bowl. I've been in a baking frame of mind recently. I experimented making all kinds of holiday sweet things, using lower-fat, lower-sugar type recipes. Semi-healthy you could say. I thought they came out pretty good, but my relatives (even the dear hubby) seemed to prefer the hard stuff, you know the buttery, sugary diabetes-and-heart-attack-all-rolled-into-one kind of fare. What are ya gonna do?

FrankandMary said...

Anyone who needs some fantasy as an escape from an intolerable reality should read that entry.
~Mary

Washer Mom Val said...

Very funny.

DB said...

I'm rooten fo ya Ben. DB

Martha said...

Well? Have you had the rematch yet? Hope your holidays were wonderful! Happy New Year! :-)

Cathy said...

Ok a waffle iron? Enchanting story about something I never thought about. Just goes to show...(not sure about what but it does)

Kathy said...

Mmmm, I can smell those waffles cooking. I love waffles. I've been craving them.

When you described seasoning your waffle iron it reminded me of when I was a kid and washed my mom's iron skillet in hot soapy water. She flipped out as she had to re-season it. Ahh, how did I know? LOL

Kathy