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Island Lake, photographed by my mother, stitched together by me

Growing up, I had the great luck to spend many summers at Island Lake. Then, it was a small place tucked away from the rest of the busy world. From the lake shore, you could see other houses peeking between the trees, and occasionally there would be fishing boats; some afternoons, my cousins and I would float to the tree-filled island on inner tubes, long lengths of lilies licking our legs under the water. I also spent solitary afternoons fishing off the dock; it was mostly perch I caught, though one summer when a cousin caught a trout, I was jealous indeed. I learned how to row a boat on that lake, and how to swim like a fish.

Swimming at Island Lake

Swimming at Island Lake

It was at Island Lake that I fell in love with waffles. Pancakes, too, if I stop to think about it. Weekends at Island Lake were special; we were so busy Doing Things, we never did proper lunches, but got extra special breakfasts: one morning of pancakes and one morning of waffles. (I can still hear my grandfather preach that if we used Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, by gum, we Did Not Need Moar Butter on our waffles, and that sounded So Wrong.) Ridiculously, I have coveted my grandmother’s waffle iron ever since.

Searching for vintage waffle irons never quite got me what I was looking for, mostly because I wanted that very iron. It’s probably long dead, but I remember it and its strange fabric-wrapped cord well. The iron I needed could not be Belgian — I maintain to this day that Belgian waffles are just too deep for proper waffle enjoyment. I wanted the thin, toast-like waffle from my youth!

Enter my friend Jen, who said oh HEY, waffles, check this iron out. And it was exactly what I wanted. Thin waffles! Oh my gosh. And Amazon would send it to me in just two days?! Oh. My. Gosh.

Short stack

Short stack, photographed by me

So, for the first time, I had my very own waffle iron. It felt extravagant — it still does. That is probably ridiculous, too.

Naturally, I went in search of the perfect waffle recipe. I was not going to make it from a box, no way no how — though even as I write this, I am not certain how my grandmother made them. Was it from a box, or did she start from scratch? They always magically appeared upon my plate with me none the wiser as to how they’d really gotten there. (It’s possible Island Lake fairies dropped them off.)

A quick search of my favorite cooking website turned up Essential Raised Waffles and my interest was piqued. Raised waffles! No way. But, yes way. I make them exactly as Deb says — I leave the batter out overnight to rise. Come morning, I whisk the eggs in, and then we iron. Your batter is going to be like satin, extraordinary and frankly, GORGEOUS.

One recipe makes a ton of waffles — but they heat up excellently in the toaster, and probably freeze well too. Just think, waffles whenever you like. For now, I’m keeping to occasional weekends, and remembering Island Lake.

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  • Ida March 31, 2015, 8:32 pm

    As usual, loved it. Your writing is so pure it took me back to a place I have never been. 🙂

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