Belgian Waffles and Youthful Perspective
I met my best childhood friend by chance in first grade. I was the new kid in a new school system, and had kind of stumbled into the friends I had at my old schools. But we were inseparable when we could help it; hanging out as much as we could in-school and out-of-school, and spending time at each other’s houses for adventures only childhood could manifest. The outside world was wide open, the TVs felt bigger, and even my asthma-having-self had energy to spare.
In time, I started to be invited to family meals, chief among them breakfasts at one of the myriad family restaurants in the area. For the longest time, I got the same thing: Belgian Waffle, blueberry topping, whipped cream. Just me, my friend, and her parents, tucked in a booth as the morning music crackled on a generally-outdated sound system. Life was simpler, and the food was delicious.
Flour, 2 C.
Sugar, 3/4 C.
Eggs, 2 (separated)
Whole Milk, 1.5 C.
Butter (melted), 1 C.
Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp.
1.) Combine all dry ingredients.
2.) In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add milk, butter, and vanilla to yolks; mix well.
3.) Stir wet mix into dry mix until just combined.
4.) Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.
5.) Cook as your waffle maker directs.
6.) Drizzle syrup or top with fruit!
Berries or Fruit (fresh or frozen), 4 C.
Sugar, 1/2 C.
Honey, 1/3 C.
Cornstarch, 2 tsp. (to thicken, if desired)
1.) Combine fruit, sugar, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
2.) If using, add cornstarch mixture to saucepan.
3.) Boil until berries break down and compote has thickened to desired consistency, ~2–3 minutes.
I decided to pregame the New Year with a similar outing: familiar restaurant, familiar breakfast, but on my own this time. My friend has moved out East, further South; her family, elsewhere in Connecticut. We don’t really talk a lot these days; holidays, birthdays, sometimes out of the blue. It hurts to see how much they’ve changed, or maybe how much I’ve changed. But I’ll be damned if that Belgian Waffle with compote on New Year’s Eve, 2021 didn’t send me reeling back to the best times, the simplest times that I had years ago.