Waffling Over Waffles

My mom’s 1950s-era Sunbeam waffle iron has moved with us from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and to Glen Ellen, California. It still works. And it’s still a warm (literally and figuratively) reminder of a very special mother and her cooking.

But, of late, it’s been displaced in our kitchen by a Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker with Non-stick Removable Plates, Browning Control, and Drip Tray.

It’s been a bittersweet decision. And we’ve waffled about it.

waffle (n): kind of batter-cake, baked crisp in irons and served hot,” 1744, from Dutch wafel “waffle,” from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German wafel, from Proto-Germanic *wabila- “web, honeycomb”   Waffle iron is from 1794.

waffle (v.) 1690s, “to yelp, bark,” frequentative of provincial waff “to yelp, to bark like a puppy” (1610); Figurative sense of “talk foolishly” (c. 1700) led to that of “vacillate, equivocate” (1803), originally a Scottish and northern English usage. Late 17c. Scottish also had waff “act of waving,” variant of waft, which might have influenced the sense.

(thanks to The Online Etymology Dictionary for that definition help)

Marie Kondo can preach about decluttering – but maybe the harder part is figuring what to do with what’s been decluttered.

What do I do with my mom’s waffle iron? Post it on NextDoor or Facebook Marketplace? Sell it on eBay? Put it in front of our house with a “free” sign? Give it to the Goodwill (which in our area has become pretty selective!)? Search for a needy person or grateful friend to bestow it upon? OR just keep it, tucked away, in hopes that one of our offspring will find it at some later date and treasure it?

There’s a fun website – and NYC store – with vintage toasters and waffle irons that have been refurbished (and sell for lots of $$!). It’s ToasterCentral.com, should you be in the market for one. Unfortunately, the owner doesn’t want to buy old toasters and waffle irons, so I’ll cross that off the list of possibilities for riddance.

I just learned about the Buy Nothing Project after reading the comments made on this recent NYTimes article about decluttering; admittedly, I feel a little out-of-touch that I’d never heard of it before. According to their website, two friends from Bainbridge Island, Washington, started the project in 2013. According to “BuyNothing 101″…

BuyNothing offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide gift economy network in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people. We believe that communities are more resilient, sustainable, equitable, and joyful when they have functional gift economies.

My first reaction to the name – the BuyNothingProject – was “I can’t do that! I LOVE to buy things.” But after reading a little more, it appears I don’t have to quit buying to be a part of the group. Maybe I just need to cut back, which isn’t such a bad idea.

BuyNothing continues:

Rethinking consumption and refusing to buy new in favor of asking for an item from a neighbor may make an impact on the amount of goods manufactured in the first place, which in turn may put a dent in the overproduction of unnecessary goods that end up in our landfills, watersheds, and our seas. It most certainly creates connections between people who see each other in real life, not just online, leading to more robust communities that are better prepared to tackle both hard times and good by giving freely.

Andy – ever and always the social scientist – wonders how many manufacturing jobs will be lost if we all start cutting back on our purchases. There’s never an easy answer, is there!

As for our waffling over which kind of waffle we prefer, Andy decided to focus on the kind of waffle he really finds yucky. In fact, today’s Andy’s Corner focuses on how one person’s yucky food is another person’s yum food.

Our current yummy Belgian waffle recipe makes use of Andy’s sour dough starter, which is a good thing, since the sour dough bread-making around here has gone missing. What a relief that we found something else to do with that starter. If you don’t have sour dough starter and don’t have a friend to get some from free – and you don’t want to buy it or make it, try our favorite Buttermilk Waffle recipe, which comes from the 1989 New Basics Cookbook and uses the traditional waffle iron – or try Emeril Lagasse’s Belgian Waffle recipe, another favorite of ours.

If you find yourself waffling over whether or not to buy a waffle iron, think about your local BuyNothingProject (here’s a list of the USA groups and be aware that the Project is transitioning away from Facebook to their own App). Perhaps a neighbor is decluttering and wants a home for their used waffle iron. Think of the rewards: there’s less stuff in the landfill, you make a new neighborly friend, they declutter, and you get a free waffle iron. It’s a win win situation. No waffling necessary.

Meanwhile, I wish I could send off my vintage Sunbeam waffle iron to the British artist Joe Rush, who uses old metal items in his sculptures. His most famous work, done with recycled electronic items, must be the recent Mt. Recyclemore, depicting the 2021 attendees at the G7 Summit. What a way for metal to go! That’s Biden, BTW, on the right. The one on the far left is a gimme, if you look at the hair!

Sourdough Belgian Waffles

Sourdough Belgian Waffles

  • Servings: makes four 7 inch waffles
  • Print

For help with your sourdough starter we recommend you check out the guide to sourdough baking on the KingArthurBaking website.  This sourdough waffle recipe is adapted slightly from Sam Sifton and the NYTimes.

for the sponge – done the night before:

  • 1 cup/240 grams sourdough starter “unfed” (i.e., it’s been a day or so since you fed it)
  • 1 cup/224 grams buttermilk
  • 1 cup/120 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon/about 13 grams light brown sugar

for the batter:

  • 1  egg
  • 1/4 c melted  butter 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Note: this recipe assumes you have live and active sourdough starter available.  It will not work without an active starter.  Also, our recipe includes both grams and cups, but we recommend weighing ingredients by grams with a kitchen scale to be more precise.

The night before making the waffles, prepare the sponge.  Put the sourdough starter in a large bowl and add the buttermilk, flour and sugar, then stir to combine. Cover the bowl and allow it to rest overnight at room temperature.

In the morning, the sponge should be light and bubbly looking, and increased in volume. When you are ready to cook, whisk the egg, melted butter or oil and the vanilla extract together in a small bowl, then add the mixture to the sponge. Add the salt and the baking soda to the batter and mix to combine.

Pour some of the batter onto a preheated greased waffle iron and cook until the waffle is brown and crisp, then repeat. Or use a small ladle to create pancakes on a preheated oiled pan or griddle, flipping them when they are well browned on the bottom. Serve immediately

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.


The New Basics Buttermilk Waffles

  • Servings: makes twelve 5-6 inch waffles
  • Print

This is meant for a standard, not a Belgian, waffle iron

  • 1 1/2 c flour 
  • 1/2 c whole-wheat flour 
  • 2 T (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 c buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 c butter, melted and cooled

Preheat a waffle iron and grease it lightly. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl stir together the buttermilk, egg yolks, and butter.
Beat the egg whites in a mixer until stiff. Stir the buttermilk mixture quickly into the dry ingredients, until almost blended. Then gently fold in the egg whites. Cook the batter in the prepared waffle iron, using a generous 1/3 cup for each waffle, until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately, with your favorite fruit sauce.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Emeril Lagasse's Belgian Waffles

  • Servings: makes at least eight 7 inch waffles
  • Print

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 T butter, melted
  • 2 c milk
  • non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  In one medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  In a second bowl use the wooden spoon to beat together the egg yolks and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved and eggs have turned a pale yellow.  Add the vanilla extract, melted butter, and milk to the eggs and whisk to combine.  Combine the egg-milk mixture with the flour mixture and whisk just until blended.  Do not over mix.  In third bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.  Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter.  Do not overmix!  Coat the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and pour enough batter in iron to just cover waffle grid.  Close and cook as per manufacturer’s instructions until golden brown.  Serve immediately

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.





  1. Deb says:

    I have been the elated recipient of many amazing gifts that you were passing along. I’m rather a fan to pass things along, especially when it’s a friend!!


    • theRaggedys says:

      Thanks for the comment Deb. Friendship is probably the ultimate pass-along and it is definitely a reciprocating gift. As Mr. Rogers so aptly said, “Thanks for being my neighbor!”


  2. theRaggedys says:

    From my friend in Washington comes this reply: Nice idea for sharing! I have a friend who lives in a 55+ apartment for limited income individuals; it’s a lovely 3-story building on the outskirts of town, well-appointed and well-kept, including flower gardens that the residents tend. Anyway, there is a community area on each floor including a kitchen for pot lucks, etc. , that is regularly supplied with “leftovers” from local grocers and farmers. My friend finds it so helpful to just be able to grab an onion or a potato or a box of berries, since she doesn’t cook much and therefore doesn’t go to the grocery store very often. Many of the residents are infirm and don’t drive, so they plan their meals around what’s available in the free kitchen. It’s a nice gesture from the community towards its elders, and it seems to be very much appreciated. Just thought I’d share what we do in a rural area. Eileen


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