I believe in the power of waffles. Not the big, fluffy kind you get at a restaurant loaded with fruit and whipped cream and heaven knows what all. Real waffles – the kind with little tiny squares that make your butter clump and not spread smoothly. The kind of waffles your mom can make with ingredients she always seems to have on hand – flour and baking power and eggs, not a mix. Waffles made on an iron that likely dates to the Eisenhower administration. The best waffles do not cook evenly or have a uniform shape. They are crisp, brown, warm, melt in your mouth – and if you’re really lucky, like I am, your mom serves ‘em up with peanut butter.
I believe in the power of waffles because one less than fabulous, perhaps even horrid, day my mom saved the world with waffles. My 2-year-old had been very two that day, my husband was struggling with something in his grad school class, and I was just tired and crabby – something had to be done to turn this around. “Come on over,” Mom said when I called, “bring Solveig and we’ll all have some dinner.” I arrived, child in tow, relieved that someone else would entertain my toddler for awhile and I could just sit. Mom made waffles.
The waffles arrived at the table piping hot, bumpy on the edges, straight from the iron. Butter, maple syrup, lingonberry preserves – I topped waffles with each – but the best were the ones with melty, oozy peanut butter that dripped down my chin. My daughter was calmed and contentedly ate her waffles. I ate mine. All was right with my world again. Those waffles had delivered a mother’s embrace directly to my taste buds – the sort of reassurance generations of moms have cooked up in the kitchen for their children when they need it most. Plain ordinary waffles.
We spend a lot of time worrying about the big things in our lives: Who won the election? I’m 40 and I haven’t yet saved the world and I don’t have a book deal – does that mean I’m a failure? Paper or Plastic? We lose sight in all of that of the little things, remarkable and not, that make up our daily lives. Even with the huge motivational-industrial complex out there churning out mugs, magnets, posters, and books chock full of pithy sayings to remind us, we still pay most attention to the big, whiz-bang things and pay little or no attention to the goodness of ordinary things – like waffles.
I believe in the goodness of ordinary things. I believe in the power of waffles.
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