“Gloria, would it work for you and Daniel to come to our house on Saturday morning to make waffles for our guests?”
It was Mom, of course. Who else would ask?
I was intrigued with the idea. I enjoy making waffles but better than that, two of my uncles and their families, along with a special great-aunt, all from Ohio and Pennsylvania, were the brunch guests. Those from Ohio came from Holmes County, the largest Amish community, which is in stark contrast to our small group in Flat Rock, Illinois.
It was a short walk through the drizzling rain to Mom’s and I soon found myself in her cozy kitchen whipping up a huge batch of waffles. My large bowl filled up in a hurry with more than two quarts of milk, a dozen eggs and 12 cups flour.
As an adult, I love cooking and baking in my mom’s kitchen. It brings back so many memories of girlhood days spent there. You would think, with all the time I’ve spent there, that I would know where everything is. But I don’t.
Mom has an outstanding knack for rearranging and organizing. So periodically she comes up with new ideas of where to put her favorite kettle or other items that are not used on an everyday basis. For that reason, I prefer to wash dishes, rather than putting them away at her house. Or is that just a good excuse? Putting away dishes isn’t at the top of my favorite list. Although I must add that after 5½ years of being a housewife, I am actually learning to enjoy putting dishes away in my own kitchen.
Back to my waffles. All went well until I was ready to dump in six tablespoons of baking powder and discovered that Mom’s container only had a couple of scant spoons. After a quick but futile search of her own cupboards for baking powder, she hopped on a bike and pedaled over to my kitchen to fetch some of ours. Bicycles are used in our community. Some Amish settlements use them, others do not. Some Amish use scooters instead or even roller blades, but bikes are common here.
Soon the waffles were whisked together and the waffle iron was heating on the stove top. One of my sisters fetched a large roaster to put the waffles in. I set them in the oven to keep them nice and hot which is very important to me. In the meantime, Mom prepared sausage patties and scrambled eggs as well as coffee and tea. Earlier in the morning, they had added leaves to their table, extending it to 15 feet. Mom set the table with her stoneware dishes. Her attractive homemade cherry and chocolate coffeecakes proved to make attractive centerpieces.
At 9:30 a.m. the guests began arriving. Soon the table was filled. Some of us sat to the side, and I didn’t mind being one of those. It gave me the chance to visit with my great-aunt, Mattie, who had come. Due to her food allergies, she sat in a rocker off to the side. As a little girl, I loved going to her house. Being single, she always took generous amounts of time to spend with us children. I was always absolutely awed by her collection of bells of all sorts of designs and colors. Bless her heart, she distributed her collection to her great-nieces and nephews.
I don’t get to see Mattie very often, with 400 miles between us, but she still holds a special place in my heart. We continued to visit after brunch until it was time for them to go home. The dirty dishes could wait, the time was too precious to spend doing anything other than visiting.
As for the waffles. I had never made a single waffle in my life until after I met and married Daniel. He has a lot of skill at making them so he has been schooling me in the art of waffle-making. Waffles have become a favorite of ours for visitors after Sunday school. Our standby menu is waffles and an apple sausage ring filled with scrambled eggs, along with a smoothie for dessert.
A few weeks after we were married, Daniel contacted his family in Danville, Ohio, for their waffle recipe. I like trying new recipes so I tried several others, but we haven’t found any others that we like as well as these. They have an outstanding buttery flavor. We always use Wheat Montana whole wheat flour. But regular baking flour will also do the job. Like any other recipe, if you use whole wheat flour, you’ll be able to cut down on the amount of flour by 25 percent.
2 eggs, beaten
1½ cups milk
½ cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
Whisk wet ingredients together, then mix in dry, and stir until combined. Some tips to consider while making these: don’t over-combine after adding dry ingredients. Also, Daniel has discovered that it works best to brown the waffles for one minute and 30 seconds, with an additional one minute and 45 seconds on medium heat on the second side. It toasts them to a nice golden brown.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.