Righteous Iron

This being the Christmas season, I noticed that I had to tighten my belt into almost uncharted territory. This is the same belt I have been wearing since the Christmas of 1976, when my Mother gave it to me as a practical present. A step or 2 up from underwear, and one that I truly appreciated, even now. The belt is still going strong, but I might have to punch another hole in it soon.

Since the Mrs and I have dropped off the edge of the world and only come to town every once in a while… Well, let me rephrase that and say, since we are no longer gainfully employed, and also no longer have the need to eat in town, a curious thing has happened to me. I started to loose weight. Not that I really needed to loose weight, but little by little, I noticed that my pants were getting a bit droopy. Hmm. By the time I was down by 10, I did some serious contemplating on what the deal was. We eat pretty dang well. The lovely Mrs is known around these parts as That Lady What Cooks Good.

And as such, she has a liking for making things from scratch. Good things. Yes, folks I scored large when I found her. I like to say, I got the pick of the litter. Thanks Jean! So she cooks and feeds me healthy stuff, but she always has done that, so why am I getting lighter, but not in my loafers? Well, when we were working, we tended to eat in town on Fridays. Something to lighten the dreary day to day working blues. A treat for her because she didn’t have fix anything, and more importantly not have to clean up afterwards. It was the only time that I ingested sugar or its cousin, high fructose corn syrup. We were already eating meat, fat, eggs and nuts and that hasn’t changed. Only the sweet stuff got cut out. Sugar.

The more I researched into this, the more interesting it became. Turns out sugar is poison to us in more than small quantities. Ask your dentist, not the fat one though, that would be an uncomfortable conflict of interest for them. I even hesitated to mention it to my Doctor as he was getting sort of round too. Maybe you’ve noticed that almost everybody is way heavier than everybody was a couple of decades ago. Men in particular are prone to having a gut, starting around age 30 and growing larger as they age. I can’t talk for women, they’re built different, wired and plumbed different and if you don’t think so, run along now, adults are talking.

Turns out cave men loved sweet stuff but had limited access to it. And that’s been the case for a long, long time until now, when they shovel sugar and its evil cousins into just about anything. Talk to somebody in the soft drink industry. Billions of dollars of profit and most of us guzzle it down like water. I actually know people who only drink soda and never water. And diet drinks. Just don’t do it. Diabetes anyone? Yes, I know, I am an extremist about this, a loony you might say, but hey, it works for me and my pants need a belt, the Christmas belt my Mother gave me 39 years ago.

So, I cut out sweet things in my life, ‘cept my wife, and I am suddenly looking for a hole punch for my belt. Except… except every now and then, I get a hankerin’ for some waffles. No, not the frozen, store bought crap you get at Wally world. Real honest to goodness home made waffles the way Grandma used Norman Rockwell Grandmato make them. I have to say at this point, I am quite sure my Grandmother never made what I am referring to. She was a pretty awful cook. Made a mean batch of rice crispy bars, but that was about it. I am talking about a Norman Rockwell Grandma, in a way back time, when things were simply, happier and life was a whole lot smellier. Had to throw that last part in there because I am a stickler for realism.

I got the waffle idea from watching a guy on YouTube. He’s called Boss of the Swamp, lives in New England and doles out pearls of wisdom by the bushel basket. He picked up some old iron somewhere and one of them was a waffle iron, old school, no electricity, awesome. These old waffle irons float around on Ebay and auctions from time to time. They quite often go for some serious money. Mostly going to collectors, the scourge of a working man’s life. These parasites suck up perfectly usable tools and drive the price up for the rest of us.

The trick with old waffle irons, as with all cast iron, is seasoning. These dudes were non stick way before Teflon came to town. And people being people, quite often don’t have the patience or the inclination to do it right or at all. Not convenient enough for our modern world. Fine. In true little red hen fashion, no waffles for you.

Watching this guy bring old cast iron back to life and making waffles that just drop out of the iron was more than I could take. I started making inquires on Ebay. There were quite a few old irons available, all going for around $80 to $120. Collectors inflating prices again. I did some strategizing and informed the Mrs of my intentions. Surprisingly, she did not shoot down the idea. Or more likely, didn’t want to fight the inevitable. Whatever. We both looked around and I found one that was starting out at $50 and had 6 Puritan-Waffle-Irondays left before the end of the auction. She found one that was Buy It Now at $80. We talked about it and decided and sleep on it. The next day I noticed several of the irons we had looked at were gone or much higher priced. I placed a $51 bid on the iron I had found. I was pretty sure I would be out bid before the close of its auction. Several more days went by, and by this time I had forgotten about my bid. The Mrs really liked the one she had found and we up and purchased it, patting ourselves on the back on getting a somewhat good deal.  2 days after making our purchase of Paula’s iron, I get a e-mail that informs me that I have the winning bid on a waffle iron. What??
Apparently, nobody else bid on the iron that I had found, and we got the whole thing, including shipping, for less than the iron we purchased. I guess you can out think yourself every now and then. Stereo old school waffle irons.

Our irons show up and the purchased one looked pretty seasoned, so we plan on waffles for breakfast. A word to the wise, never look a gift horse in the mouth and never assume your used iron is good to go. Since we had no clue on how long it took to make a waffle in this iron, we winged it. The first one, stuck kindaBurnt-Waffle bad and was a little burned. That was the dog’s. The next one really stuck but had the right color so yay, but it looks like we are gonna have to season our iron, and let us not talk of this incident ever again. We spent the rest of the morning seasoning the iron and did it over the stove top. Get the iron warmed up and apply oil. We used olive oil because we use olive oil on everything. Just brush it on, all over and let it soak in and sit over low heat for a bit. Do that about a dozen times, which takes a hour or so and then put it in a 300 degree oven for a hour or two. Now it is seasoned.

GBD-WaffleThe next morning, we really made waffles. Heat the iron up while you make the Non-Stickbatter. Add dates, blue berries, whatever you like. The waffle iron should sizzle when you drop in the batter. 3 minutes per waffle, flip at a minute and a half mark. The golden brown waffle just drops out of the iron. Perfectly done. I added butter and Aunt Jemima to my waffle and stuffed that sweet thing in my mouth. Bliss. I felt like a cave man that had filled his mouth with ripe blackberries for the first time. My wife has this deal that she makes everything into a sandwich, put her bacon on the waffle and folded it Paula's-Waffleover and made a bacon waffle breakfast sandwich. A little weird but genius. I think am going to have to one up her, and put a poached egg with gravy on my waffle. A breakfast commercial. If you don’t know what a commercial is, try eating at a truck stop now and then. The turkey commercials are really dang good.

We have done this twice now and the waffle iron works beautifully, also I have leveled off to my 7th grade weight. Turns out, a little poison now and then is just what the doctor ordered. And the best part is I don’t have to get a larger pants size to fit some big iron in the waist band of my jeans. What? Isn’t everyone sportin’ a concealed carry waffle iron?? There’s no school like old school.