I woke up on Friday morning to find my five-year-old happily watching a retro Smurfs show on TV; it brought me back to the days of Gargamel, Smurfette and beyond — Captain Caveman, Scooby-doo, Looney Tunes, Spiderman, the Flintstones and the Jetsons — all cartoons that made my Saturday mornings because back then, unlike now, that was the only time you could watch them. Later that morning, I learned that people are switching their Facebook profile photos for classic cartoon pictures this week as a way of speaking out against child violence.
Of course, retro cartoon characters bring back all sorts of feelings of nostalgia for those formative years — one reason they are now being used to raise awareness of the fact that many children won’t carry such blissful memories to adulthood. Food brings with it a strong sense of nostalgia, too — on weekend mornings when we rushed downstairs to catch the Wonder Twins or Road Runner, my mom would pull out the electric skillet and make pancakes or waffles. To this day, I associate the smell and taste of freshly made waffles with those days when there is no rush to get anywhere, and you can curl up in your jammies and watch cartoons with your family. Is there any better way to spend a Saturday morning?
The only catch to making waffles is that you need a waffle iron. But if you’re a fan of the weekend morning breakfast, they are well worth the investment — think of the expense as waffles for life for about the same price as going out for breakfast once! This recipe makes enough for two big Belgian-style waffles, but it’s easy to double or triple if you’re cooking for a crowd. To fancy them up, try stirring in some grated orange or lemon zest, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a few slices of cooked and crumbled bacon, or a handful of chopped nuts, finely chopped fruit, granola or grated cheese along with the wet ingredients.
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour
1 tsp. (5 mL) baking powder
1 tsp. (5 mL) sugar (optional)
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) milk
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) canola oil or melted butter
Plug in the waffle iron to preheat it while you mix up the batter.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and oil or melted butter. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined — don’t worry about getting all the lumps out. Overmixing could make your waffles tough.
Spoon an appropriate amount of batter onto your waffle iron, according to the manufacturer’s directions. Close the lid and cook for 2-5 minutes, until the waffles are golden. Usually the steam will subside when the waffles are close to being done. Serve them right away or keep them warm in a 200°F oven while you cook the rest. (If you do this, place them in a single layer or they will steam and become soggy on the bottoms. Put them on a baking rack on a cookie sheet, if you have one.)
Serves two; double or triple the recipe if you’re cooking for more or want leftovers.