my heart, my waffle…
Growing up, my mom would make pancakes. Personally, I am a failure when it comes to making breakfast, but not my mother. She made excellent eggs, tasty taters, and bumpin bacon. But her pancakes? Her pancakes were perfect. They were round and crisp and fluffy, but not too fluffy. They were fragrant, and golden, and cooked to perfection. Truly, they were a thing of beauty.
But then again, they were just pancakes.
It wasn’t until Douglass that I had my first.
Belgian, I think.
There was a side bar at Cooper Dining Hall where we could make our own waffles. I never really had the time, save for a random Sunday when I wasn’t “at church.” But on those Sundays, I could be found at the Coop. I would take special care pouring just the right amount of malted batter onto the hot metal. I would lock the handles together and quickly flip over the iron so as to coat the other side. Five long minutes later, the perfect waffle.
Transmogrified, it emerged from its chamber no longer a gooey mess, but rather a crispy square of butter and syrup holding goodness. Sure, I could go so far as to drown my lovely morsel in strawberries, bananas and whipped cream. Indeed, I had. Then again, the perfect waffle needs little adornment.
Long story short, I put on at least 25 pounds that first year of college. For my own good, I made the move off campus. Goodbye Cooper, goodbye meal plan, and goodbye to my beloved waffles. Like I said, it was for my own good.
Every now and again, I would crave these waffles. Do not mistake me. Any old waffles would not do. I wanted my Cooper specialties. Who knows why? Perhaps there was something about the batter, or the irons, or the love that was put into each tasty bonne bouche that was impossible to duplicate.
There is no craving quite like it. Perhaps because it’s something I can’t have that my desire grow so strong. I try to find other things to slake my need. How about some insanely good Apple Pancakes ? No chance. Perhaps some of this fantastic french toast? Nope. How about if we stuffed it with strawberry puree and mascarpone ? Not even close. Some of your mother’s pancakes? Sorry mom. Your pancakes will always hold a very special place in my heart, but that was then.
You see, try as I might, I can’t seem to kill the craving with even the loveliest substitution. Everything seems lesser in my eyes. Sure, they might be bigger, or fancier. They might smell better. They might be plated with far greater skill. They call me. They wait for me.
But right now, I really want that waffle.
 Walker Brother’s Pancake House–There are several of these bad boys in the land we call Chicago. The apple pancakes kind of rock, though they are sweet, sweet, sweet. The Dutch baby with the fruit is unbelievable, and the Swedish pancakes are yummy. Not my waffles, but amazing in its own right.
 Toast – As Chitown is the land of the brunch, you need to be patient when waiting for a table. Just chill and know that some amazing goodness awaits. You can’t go wrong with either stuffed french toast, or anything with the words orgy or benedict.