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The golden age of waffles: Why my waffles were soggy, and how I fixed the problem

Are you tired of soggy waffles? You might want to do what I did to get beautiful, crunchy waffles like the one in the photo below.

 Laura Lockwood making waffles with our "new" antique waffle maker. 
Let's face it: I had not tasted a good, crunchy, homemade waffle for decades. 

Oh, we had all the latest gear, but they always came out soggy, and I began asking myself, "What is it about these waffles?" Was it just my imagination telling me that the waffles used to taste better? An idea began to take shape in my mind: What if the waffle makers of today just are not as good as the vintage waffle irons? 

This morning when I saw an older waffle maker at a yard sale, I decided to find out. "How much for that waffle iron?" 

It was starting to rain and the lady at the yard sale was trying to cover things up to keep them from getting wet.

I suggested, "That waffle iron looks really old."

This was in town, but for some reason the woman seemed very "countrified" to me. She stopped what she was doing and looked at the old waffle iron. "Oh, yes, that's an antique." 

"How much will you take for it?"

She must have been in a good humor despite the weather: "How about one dollar?" 

The deal was done.  Yes, it was a little greasy, yes it was a little scratched up, but I was about to embark on a scientific experiment. Well, the "experiment" as it evolved, would smell to a scientist like an anecdotal report, but so what? I suspect that even scientists tend to believe their own taste buds.

This evening about 10:30 I got hungry. We had three frozen waffles in the freezer, enough for one of us. I suggested that Laura eat the frozen waffles and I would experiment with our new appliance to make my own midnight snack. 

I kind of scrubbed it down a little, but I was thinking, Heck, this thing will get hot won't it? 

Hot enough to kill any germs, or I would always think it should have." 

I plugged it in.

I explained to Laura: "I will make some waffles and just throw the first one away. That should clean the waffle iron pretty well." 

While Laura was finishing off her frozen waffles, the vintage appliance started to smell hot, not like smoke, but like ... HEAT! 

This thing is really getting hot! 

I reflected on the fact that my modern waffle maker never emitted the essence of heat like that. I felt like the first cave man to cook on an open fire! Well, perhaps I exaggerate a little. But, I had yet to add the batter.

Laura got up to look into this activity too. We both had our doubts about how this would turn out. Would the waffles turn instantly black? Would they be scorched to ashes and soot?

I had sprayed the grid with cooking oil, and added oil to the waffle mix as well. I filled the grid with batter and shut it down. Steam was rolling out and let me tell you, the smell was reminiscent of my younger days and all the while, the the scent of real food was re-awakening the appetite of my youth.

When the steam stopped escaping I figured the waffle must be done, and I was right. That danged waffle looked and smelled so perfect, I told Laura, "Heck, I am not going to throw that waffle away!" Golden-brown exterior was too gorgeous.

I smothered that first waffle with Smart Balance and artificial maple syrup from Albertson's, and dug in. The next thing I noticed was the crunch, and I knew for certain, this experiment was a success; my days of soggy waffles were over. 

So here's the deal (What the scientists call the "summary") You can try to save the world and keep on using your Energy Star appliances if you want to. As for me, I am seventy years of age. You can't fool me into thinking those soggy, limp pieces of doo that we had endured before were real waffles

I suppose I am just too old to save the world from hot waffles.

How much difference can one little waffle make anyway? From now on, I plan to use a waffle iron that is as old as I am, or nearly so, especially when they give them away for $1.00 each, and even more so if they are still working after 50 years! (Surely there must be some energy savings involved in not having to purchase a new unit every five years to get the latest colors and styles.) 

Long live those crunchy waffles of yesteryear.

Frank Ellsworth Lockwood is also the author of the novel, "Captains All." Purchase it now at:


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