Lifestyle & Culture

Kitchen Detail: Waffles, Not Neckties

Photo above from the website of appliance maker Breville. Photo on the front from the Cuisinart website.

By  Nancy Pollard

After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years—La Cuisine in Alexandria, Virginia—Nancy Pollard writes Kitchen Detail, a blog about food in all its aspects—recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food-related issues.

Richard Pryor in Superman III screenshot, Father's day

Richard Pryor in a “Superman III” screenshot.

IN SPITE OF the myth, I don’t think my husband ever received a tie for Father’s Day. In fact, it was always difficult to get him anything, as he consistently  bought exactly what he wanted before any of us could purchase it and get the gift wrapped. I used to try to read the smoke signals sent by wine gurus and get an interesting wine that he had not tried or heard of, but to no avail. My daughters did score a couple of literary hits with the writings of Dave Barry or Carl Hiassen. We still have them on the bookshelf, and their male humor has stood the test of time. But ultimately, the two girls decided that they would recognize the day by picking out a film and taking him to a movie theater (I was allowed to go along). This became a Pollard family tradition, broken only when both girls moved to Europe. The low point in Father’s Day Films was Staying Alive. At the end of the film, The Father in Question confessed that he hated musicals. But the high point was Superman III, in which we were introduced to the hilarity of Richard Pryor. In fact, certain among us feel that he made the film, and that the family would watch anything he was in,  especially his more cutting-edge stand-up performances with their bitter social commentary.

The Waffle Contest

Page from Lenotre cookbok with waffle recipe for Father's day

Page from a Lenotre cookbook with a waffle recipe for Father’s Day.

lenotre desserts and pastries book cover for Father's dayThe other part of the Father’s Day ritual was The Breakfast to Make Dad Happy. We had a few trials with French Toast, Apple Fritters, Popovers, and Muffins (he nixed the muffins after a couple of tries). The all-time winner was the waffle recipe from Gaston Lenôtre’s Desserts and Pastries. It is from one of those AOOP books (Alas Out of Print), which really is a shame, because I learned a lot of French pastry fundamentals from this book. Lenôtre’s Buche de Noël is still my go-to recipe every Christmas. While reading the latest book by Bill Buford, DirtI found out that chef Michel Richard had tested and written many of the recipes for this book when he worked for Lenôtre. So there were many waffle-making experiments in our house over the years, and all of them were okay to pretty good. And yes, I had made the waffle recipe Paul Bocuse attributed to his grandmother; it doesn’t come close to Lenôtre’s. Obviously, Paul’s grandmother should have met Gaston’s grandmother, or perhaps Michel Richard’s. In the end, The Father in Question preferred the Lenôtre recipe (as did other non-voting members of the family) to the more famous Bocuse one on the Internet. Father’s Day main dish—check.

A Waffle Iron Discussion

Jotul Waffle IronIf you are a KD reader of long standing, you already know that I loathe chemically produced non-stick surfaces. I may change my mind with some of the newer ones coming out of the EU, as their regulations are stiffer than ours. But that’s not a promise. And you can still purchase waffle makers  that are without the non-stick finish. The one that I have had for over 30 years was made by Jotul, a Norwegian company still internationally famous for its cast-iron stoves. We carried their waffle irons at La Cuisine until they stopped making them. Yet another sigh. Like any cast-iron product, it required seasoning, but it works like a champ, and there is no electric cord. You slap it on the burner and brush the grid with the fat of your choice (mine is butter), and you are ready to produce this Father’s Day favorite. The waffles themselves freeze beautifully, so go ahead and make the full recipe. I freeze them on a baking sheet and then transfer them them to a freezer bag. Take out the ones you need, wrap them in foil or throw them in a covered dish in a medium-hot oven and you will have happy waffle campers.


Our favorite waffle technique gives 10 large or 20 small waffles.
Recipe by Gaston Lenôtre.
Adapted from Lenôtre’s Desserts and Pastries.
  1. 1½ cups (35cl) whole milk
  2. 1 pinch fine sea salt
  3. 6½ tablespoons (100gr) butter
  4. 1¾ cups (250gr) all-purpose flour
  5. 8 eggs
  6. 1 cup (¼lt) milk mixed with 1 cup (¼lt) heavy cream OR 1-1/3 cups (3dl) milk mixed with ¾ cup (2dl) crème fraiche
  7. Confectioners’ sugar, jam, whipped cream or chocolate sauce are great partners with these waffles.
  1. Heat the milk and salt, and then add the butter and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour all at once and mix thoroughly with a wood spoon.
  3. Put the batter back on the heat (medium) for a few seconds, stirring constantly until it comes away from the sides of the pan in a smooth mass and no longer sticks to the spoon.
  4. Scrape this mass into your mixer bowl, with the beaters on low speed, and beat in the eggs, two at a time.
  5. Still beating at low speed, add one of the milk/cream mixtures listed above.
  6. Heat your waffle iron, and butter it lightly. You want it quite hot so that a drop of water pops off immediately.
  7. With a ladle, fill the waffle iron and cook each side around two minutes if it is a stovetop waffle iron. An electric waffle iron will take longer.

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