Food is important at our house. Since The Furry Guy works second shift, we don’t really eat on the same schedule. Meals aren’t usually taken together. Still, the food itself is important.
Take pancakes. Our family likes homemade pancakes. When our son was still very young I came across an idea for an easy way to make smiley-faced pancakes. I put some batter in a condiment bottle and use that to create the eyes and smile. I then pour a ladleful of batter over it all. Voila! Smiley faces. The condiment bottle gives me a lot of control. I’ve made all kinds of shapes. A family favorite is butterflies. Our son’s favorite was the caterpillars I made with the last few squirts from the condiment bottle. They were just drips all joined together, but he loved them.
The guys always liked waffles, but I hated having to whip egg whites. Since every recipe I saw for waffles called for whipped egg whites, I rarely made them. When I did I’d make a big batch, cut them into quarters, freeze them flat on a pan, and then bag them up. Tada! Homemade frozen waffles. One Christmas when our son was in junior high I received a new cookbook for Christmas. Inside was a recipe for waffles that didn’t require whipped egg whites. Suddenly waffles weren’t such a pain to make—well, except for the whole waffle maker thing. That took a lot of time, so waffles were still somewhat of a rare treat. One day when I was making a big batch of frozen waffles I started to run out of time. I stuck the remaining batter in the fridge. The next morning I really didn’t feel like messing with the waffle maker, but I didn’t want the batter to go to waste. I decided to cook it up on the stove top like pancakes. The guys loved it. That’s how wafflecakes came into being.
By the time our son was in high school we were all doing our best to eat as healthy as possible while still eating things we enjoyed. That’s when I discovered spelt. Spelt is a cousin to wheat. It’s higher in protein and fiber. I discovered that in most of my recipes (including wafflecakes) I could substitute spelt for up to half of the all-purpose flour without too much trouble. This added a healthier component to what I made. It also adds a slightly nutty flavor if you use enough.
Our son is now in his early twenties and lives far, far away. Recently I decided to add a little spice to our wafflecakes. I used a cinnamon spice blend from my direct sales company and added some additional freshly-ground nutmeg. Wonderful!
Wafflecakes aren’t an everyday thing, but I make them probably about every six weeks. The Furry Guy would be happy if I simply made pancakes, but he really enjoys what I make now. Our son would have grown up fine if he’d had plain, simple pancakes. But, when we talk about those smiley-faces it makes him smile. By seeing my fiddle with the waffle recipe he saw that things didn’t always have to be what others expected. By watching me add the spelt he discovered that healthy didn’t have to mean tasteless.
I hope one day to be able to serve smiled-faced, cinnamon-spiced, spelt wafflecakes to my grandchildren. I’ll teach them that fun and healthy can both apply to the same foods. In the meantime, even though it’s now just The Furry Guy and me, I still make those wafflecakes with smiley faces. Most middle-aged people have far too little whimsy in their lives. Smiley-face, cinnamon-spiced, spelt wafflecakes help add a little flight of the imagination to our morning routine.