Apparently, it’s international waffle day! According to Wikipedia, waffle day came about through some homonym or pronunciation error, where Vårfrudagen, a Christian holiday in vernacular Swedish is confused with Våffeldagen, which means Waffle Day. That is amazing. For me this is just a happy coincidence because I have been making these waffles almost every weekend for a month. You may have seen previews of these beauties when I posted the recipe for the candied kumquats I made as a topping during the NYC blizzard. I’ve perfected the waffles since then through necessity (empty fridge) and trial and error. Just in time for the arrival of spring and Waffle Day, I happened upon the perfect balance in a deeply flavorful and fluffy vanilla-infused waffle. The secret ingredient is yogurt. It truly makes a difference. These waffles with citrus, real maple syrup, an egg and yogurt on top are a force to be reckoned with. But dressed up or dressed down these are a hit. My husband actually thinks these are the best waffles I’ve ever made. I tell him that he doesn’t remember the buttermilk cornmeal ones from the summer because he said the same thing about those, but these are totally different. Sometimes a subtle change out of necessity makes all the difference. Scarcity and time foster creativity and evolution.
And this is exactly what’s on my mind these days. I used to watch the show Gilmore Girls. It’s about a mother (Lorelei) and daughter (Rori) and often a grandmother (Mother–the reigning Lorelei) and how the three relate to each other and the ever-changing world around them. I was always Rori, the youngest. I related to her struggles and understood her role in the world. Lately, they’ve had reruns on and I don’t know what’s happening, but I’m now much more Lorelei. Even scarier, is that my mom actually thinks she’s more Mother. Have we matured into the older, wiser versions of ourselves without noticing it? How can we accept this march toward the inevitable?
Written as a high school essay it might sound more like this: In Gilmore Girls, as in Anna Karenina, I find myself a little cautiously curious and tenderly wistful when I revisit the stories. Whereas, the first time I read Anna Karenina I was definitely Kitty–I hated Anna and didn’t see the appeal of Vronsky to either of the women. I thought Anna was self-indulgent and inconsiderate. Oh, but how I feel for Anna now! Trapped like she is in the ambivalent void between passion and security, worrying about her well-being, her place in society and the fate of her child in the clutches of an imperfect mother struggling for deeper meaning. The story had nothing to do with young, lovely Kitty (former me) who has the gift of youth and naivete in contrast with Anna’s struggles. And Kitty ends up much better off with the deeper love of (formerly boring to me and idealistic) Levin.
What I mean to say before I lost you all is that in a culture where instant gratification and youth are paramount, I’ve found that there is magic and bittersweet solace in slow evolution, age, experience, subtle changes in perspective, and adding scars to a perfect canvas. Not only do I accept this evolution toward the more mature characters, I revel in it with a fearful respect and maintain a curiosity about the wisdom the next phase in the story has to impart.
As an ode to evolution, I give you a fail-proof vanilla waffle recipe. This is my go-to breakfast on the weekends. If you have a waffle iron they take about five minutes to throw together and three minutes to cook. The real vanilla bean and thickness of the yogurt add heft and flavor and the zest adds a bright contrast. Have a wonderful weekend!
FLUFFY VANILLA YOGURT WAFFLES W/ CANDIED CITRUS
- 1 egg
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 oz vanilla yogurt with real vanilla beans (I used non-fat Icelandic, but Greek works)*
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk or seltzer (both work great)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zext of one lemon (optional)
Note: If you can’t find yogurt with real vanilla, use plain yogurt and add one vanilla bean pod. It really makes a difference to use real vanilla here.
Preheat waffle iron to about 400F. Beat egg in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk or seltzer, yogurt, oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray or pour olive oil onto a paper towel and spread around. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown (about 3 to 4 minutes). Serve hot. Top with your choice, candied kumquats, maple syrup, Greek yogurt, granola, all of the above.