Kicked Out of the Kitchen

September 23, 2017

I’ve always had a rather distant relationship to food, perhaps because I never learned anything about nutrition as a child, and my mother always kicked me out of the kitchen. She preferred to cook alone with her phone and her cigarettes, Peg Bundy-style.

 

My mother left home in the Philippines when she was 17 to travel the world as a dancer. At 23 she met my father and settled in Norway. Lacking any formal education or practical knowledge of home economics, she learned by doing and was not afraid to experiment.

 

But experimentation doesn’t lead to knowledge about nutrition, so that was never a factor in my house. Taste was all that mattered, resulting in some strange ideas. At one point, I was taught that a McDonald’s meal contained all the important food groups. (A piece of lettuce on a Big Mac plus fries made of potatoes = ”healthy.”)

 

But on Sundays, I got to be in the kitchen helping Mom. That’s when we made waffles. My mother will probably deny it, but I think her reasoning was that waffles and bread are same thing, so she will put anything on a waffle that she’d put on a sandwich. Cheeses, cured meats—you name it and I’m sure she’s tried it. Belgian waffles are topped with whipped cream, American waffles are served with maple syrup, and Scandinavian waffles include jam, but my mother took experimentation to the next level with a waffle topping of liver paté.

 

I didn’t even know that this combination was weird until I got a job in an office that had a custom of Friday waffles, and I added liver spread to the table. People were outraged and a little sickened. Nobody would touch it except for me.

 

The traditions of childhood are deeply ingrained, even if the rest of the world is baffled. Some people put applesauce on their French fries or pineapple on their spaghetti. I still love Sunday waffles, especially in Mom’s style with paté.

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Anie Hart lives in Norway and blogs at www.aniehart.com.

Waffles

 

1 1/2 c. flour

4 T. sugar

1 1/2 t. baking powder

1 t. vanilla extract

1 t. cardamom

scant 2 1/2 c. milk

3 1/2 oz. butter, melted

3 eggs, beaten

 

Combine dry ingredients and whisk in the milk to make a smooth batter.

Add melted butter and egg.

(If the batter becomes too thin, add more flour.)

Use batter in waffle iron.

Makes about 14 waffles.

 

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