First published on February 9, 2015
When I was growing up, almost everything that we ate was homemade.
Oh sure, we would occasionally go out to lunch after church or to dinner when my brother or I won an award at school and McDonald’s was a fun treat here and there.
But everything we ate in our home was lovingly prepared by either my mom or my grandmother, who I was lucky enough to have lived with us my entire childhood.
Everything from cookies to main dishes, even bread, was homemade.
Of course, we didn’t appreciate it while we had it.
I can’t speak for my brother back then but I am pretty sure he too took for granted, as I did, that we had amazing meals each night, handmade with love.
I have yet to eat somewhere that can make me smile like the food that came out of that little Ohio kitchen.
Other than the kitchen in Tennessee where my mom now lives, but I just don’t get to taste that food often enough.
Since I have been a mom/wife/ full-fledged adult, I have been trying to replicate the food that was made while I was growing into a mom/wife/full-fledged adult.
There are many reasons I wanted to recreate it: it’s damn good, it is comforting, and quite honestly, I am hoping the taste takes me back to a simpler time.
I want to yell at the top of a mountain to all of the teenagers out there who can’t wait to get the heck out of their parents’ homes.
Enjoy it, it goes fast, it will never be the same and you will spend most of your adult life trying to get it back.
Lately, I have been on this stupid headache diet because I had a month-long headache and needed to make a change in my life.
I call it “stupid” because it sucks, plain and simple.
I basically can’t eat anything because I need to “eliminate my triggers”.
“Triggers” are such things as chocolate, cheese, soy, caffeine, citrus, onions, wine, anything processed.
So basically FOOD.
I have renamed it the “asshole diet” because that is what you are while on it.
A raging asshole.
Because every food you love is robbed from you like a thief in the night.
Stupid “asshole diet”.
So in realizing that to keep my pain away I needed to change what I was feeding my body, I realized that I need to get away from processed food and get back to homemade.
Like how I grew up.
Sounds easy enough but it wasn’t so easy at first.
Homemade everything takes time, effort, and planning, things I am good at normally but not in January.
Especially when you are recovering from a four-week headache.
AND CAN’T EAT CHOCOLATE.
OR DRINK WINE.
But I was dedicated to making changes to see if I am indeed suffering because of the crap I am putting in my mouth.
It was on a dreary chocolate free Sunday morning when I was terribly homesick for my mom in Tennessee that I texted her and asked for the recipe for the only thing that I felt could heal me.
Grandma’s homemade waffles and syrup.
Actually, the idea for homemade waffles started while I was at the grocery store looking for frozen waffles a week prior.
I decided to look at the ingredient list and this is what I saw on every single box in the joint:
I think and I could be wrong, but isn’t the above a recipe for how to make a bomb?
Because I no thinky I want to put that in my tummy or my kids’ tummies.
I literally threw the box back on the shelf and said out loud “DAMMIT I NEED WAFFLES THAT DON’T HAVE ACID IN THEM”.
My mom emailed me the recipe within hours of the text I sent her and it said this:
My mom uses the word “cheesy” like it’s a bad thing.
It’s not just so we are clear.
And the title isn’t cheesy.
I had no idea what she was talking about because I am sure she told me the story many years ago but I had forgotten.
So I emailed back and told her that I couldn’t wait to hear the story.
Here is the story told best by mom:
North Baltimore is a tiny town in Ohio NOT in Maryland, to be clear.
When I read it, I had tears in my eyes because it was like I had unearthed this gem of knowledge that I had no, well, knowledge of before!
I had no idea how my grandparents met!
I mean, I know so many great stories of the grandfather I never got to meet and I got to spend 37 years getting to know my grandmother and loved listening to her stories.
But somewhere along the line, this story got lost either in my head or in the telling but it WAS magical.
They lived hours apart in Ohio and would never have met if not for Millie and Marty.
Because of my stupid “asshole diet” and my stupid headaches, I got a little sliver of Heaven.
I felt like my grandparents were looking down on me that day.
The cheesy doesn’t drip far from the cheesy tree.
All because I didn’t want chemical waffles, I got a glimmer of the past.
It made me very verklempt, I am not gonna lie.
I didn’t even have a waffle maker, so on a cold January day, I ran with the girls to Target to get a waffle iron.
There was one left and it was on sale.
I felt like everyone from Millie and Marty to my Grandma Ella and Grandpa Albert all wanted me to have my Romance Waffles.
I made the batter, doubled it so there would be enough, and made the homemade syrup when we got home so we could have waffles for supper.
The smells in my kitchen that night, I don’t even know if I can put into words.
Or at least words you would expect from me but it was amazing and quite an emotional night.
HERE COMES MORE CHEESY, I honestly felt my grandma in the kitchen with me that night.
Here is the recipe for Grandma and Grandpa’s Romance Waffles (even though Grandpa never made a waffle in his life. He was busy farming. But I know he loved these as much as he loved his wife and daughter. THEY ARE THAT DAMN GOOD).
You will want to double this recipe. Trust me.
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (NOT soda)
1 cup milk
2 egg yolks (save the whites and beat them until peaks form)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup melted butter (not margarine because of CHEMICALS)
Mix all of the above together except the egg whites.
When smooth, fold in the egg whites.
Cook in your favorite waffle iron.
You will never go back to a store-bought chemical syrup again, I swear to you.
This was the syrup that we grew up with and you can use it for pancakes as well.
Double this as well as this recipe as is only makes 3/4 cup and we all know that isn’t enough.
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Karo syrup
Bring to a boil while stirring. Once it comes to a boil, cook for 7-10 minutes. Serve warm on waffles.
It makes me so happy to share this recipe from my childhood and keep my grandmother’s spirit alive.
Go make these waffles for supper tonight, for breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning or after church on Sunday and think of her, grandpa, Marty, and Millie.
Chemical-free cooking before chemical-free cooking was even a thing.
Homemade before it was trendy, right up my alley.
Grandma’s Romance Waffles
You will want to double this recipe. Trust me.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (NOT soda)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 egg yolks (save the whites and beat them until peaks form)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter (not margarine because CHEMICALS)
- Mix all of the above together except the egg whites.
- When smooth, fold in the egg whites.
- Cook in your favorite waffle iron.
- You will never go back to a store-bought chemical syrup again, I swear to you.
- This was the syrup that we grew up with and you can use it for pancakes as well.
- So good.
- Double this as well as this recipe as is only makes 3/4 cup and we all know that isn’t enough.