When my sister, Paula Kaser Price, inherited our mother’s waffle irons and the oil-stained recipe , she also inherited memories and tradition. Paula’s story gives us a great example of how donning an apron can lead us back to our memories of those family members long gone. Besides traveling back in time, the story travels from Hilliard, Ohio to Scottsdale Arizona to her home today in Virginia.
UPDATE: Paula adds, “It is a team effort as one cook frys the other dusts each cookie with powdered sugar. They are delicate so the rule is if any break the cooks must eat them immediately.” And what a shame that would be!
A Note From My Sister, Paula Kaser Price
In later years Mom and I spent a day making waffle iron cookies. The boys were sent away and we started cookin’. We had a wonderful time especially when the “boys” (Dad, Wayne, Eric and Aaron) showed up and gobbled them up getting powered sugar everywhere. Several dozen cookies were carefully hidden away before their arrival.
Dad, Paul Kaser; Wayne Price (my sister’s husband); Eric and Aaron (my sister’s sons. Aaron’s name is Paul Aaron and he now goes by Paul.).
Paul and I carry on the tradition spending a day making them then distributing waffle iron cookies to friends. Still use the stained recipe paper with Mom’s handwritten notes.
The Original Recipe
Because each cookie is made individually, given time to dry then sprinkled with powdered sugar, it is a time consuming and messy project. We always made at least a double batch, many times a double double batch. Mom wrote the doubled amounts on the recipe. The recipe came with the box of irons that are in the shape of a snow flake and a Christmas tree.
Recipe for waffle iron cookies with Mother’s hand-written doubling amounts
The past several years, because the recipe paper is torn in half and so oil soaked as to be difficult to read, I have thought I should rewrite it on clean paper. Then I reject the idea because using that recipe paper with Mom’s calculations is like having her spirit there watching over Paul and me and joining in with our fun listening to Christmas music, laughing, getting powdered sugar everywhere, anticipating the joy our labor will bring and the happy exhaustion at the end of the day.
So like Mom and I did In the 80s standing around the counter in my little house on Latham [Street, Scottsdale, AZ], Paul and I stand around the counter in our little house in the woods and fry us up some Christmas cookies.
Waffle Iron cookies with Santa
Sorry they don’t ship well. Also sorry I wondered down memory lane. Oh well, it is that time of year.
PS. Do you recognize the table cloth under the waffle box? It was always on the Christmas dining table in Hilliard. I think I remember being with Mom when she bought it at Lazarus [Department Store in Columbus OH]. Unfortunately now I can only use it folded in half as there is an ever growing hole on one side.
Mother made "waffle cookies", a deep fried confection known as rosettes in Scandinavian countries.
2lb shortening or oil (For frying)
1 cup flour (Sifted or fluffed before measuring)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg (Beaten)
confectioner's sugar (To sprinkle over finished waffle cookie.)
Heat about 2 inches of oil or shortening 350 degrees
Mix milk, water, sugar, salt and egg together. Stir slowly into flour, then beat until smooth. Batter should be smooth and alost as thick as cream.
Heat waffle iron (rosette) in hot oil.
Dip iron into batter being careful not to get batter on top of the iron.
Dip the battered iron into the oil. As soon as batter begins to separate from the iron, gradually lift it up and allow Waffle to drop off into oil. When waffle is brown on one side, turn to brown on other side. Remove waffle from oil. Drain on paper towel.
Sift confectioner's sugar over the waffle when cooled. (Optional: add cinnamon and/or nutmeg to the sugar)
Store in air tightly covered container. May be reheated in warm oven.
A reader asks about the term “fluffing the flour”.Here’s my source. I suggest this alternate because I realize to younger cooks, the flour sifter is a relic of the past. Sifting is no longer “a thing.” Do you use a flour sifter?
Aunt Sarah was always in motion. Her house was spotless, clothes ironed just so. When there was no more housework or cooking to be done, her hands were busy creating things–crocheting doilies or throw pillow covers, making sock dolls, embroidering pillow cases, making clothes and piecing quilts.
I think of Aunt Sarah every time I get out my hand-held electric mixer. She gave me one for a wedding present and it lasted about 40 years before I had to replace it, so she was in the kitchen with me for a lot of years. (Of course the mixer was from Bill, too, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t have much to do with the choice, although at the time he was working at the hardware store where she would have purchased it in Killbuck).
I am intrigued by this flapper era picture of Aunt Sarah and Uncle Bill (William J. Anderson, my mother’s brother, 1905-1978). They look like they would have a lot of fun, didn’t they?
Sarah and Bill Anderson 1925
Sarah and Bill married in 1924. She was 21, and although he had turned 19 just the day before they applied for the license, he stated that he was also 21. These are probably wedding pictures.
This picture of Bill Anderson would have been taken about the time he and Sarah married, when he was 19.
Bill and Sarah had one child, Robert J. Anderson, whom Sarah doted on. (I’ll talk more about him in an article about family in World War II).
Sarah’s domestic skills became the family income provider in at least one point in her young married life when she and Uncle Bill ran a laundry business in Killbuck, Ohio. And in checking census records, I notice that she and Bill took in borders early in their life together, when they were living in Dayton Ohio. One more lady in the family who had rented out rooms.
The one thing that Sarah Anderson liked to do even more than domestic arts was talk. Wind her up and of she would go in a fast-paced, high-pitched voice, filling you in on what had happened to everyone in the town since last you met.
I have a get well card that Sarah sent to my mother. She added a note filling the inside and back of the card in her neat, small, round script.
She started with the usual concern for the patient and good wishes. But then she veered off the task of cheering up Harriette and recited all the ills–preferably fatal–that had befallen mutual acquaintances. Anyone who did not know Aunt Sarah might have wound up depressed. Mother probably got a good laugh from the recital of woes.
Today I’m making Aunt Sarah’s Cherry Pudding, the dessert she had waiting for Ken and me the last time we visited her in Killbuck. When I adapt her recipe I reduce the sugar. Aunt Sarah loved sugar. So before I share the recipe, here’s an Aunt Sarah memory from my sister, Paula Kaser Price.
Aunt Sarah and The Iced Tea Incident
By Paula K. Price
Aunt Sara was a hard working, kind, long-winded soul. I often heard it said of her that she could talk the ears off a mule. Uncle Bill, her husband, would turned off his hearing aid to get some quite. She knew it and just kept talking. I witnessed this phenomenon often.
However, I think every one loved Aunt Sara and appreciated her willingness to work hard at whatever she did. I know I did. In hindsight I wonder if her ability to talk might have been the result of her consumption of great amounts of sugar.
One hot summer day my Grandmother, Mother cousin Debby, Aunt Sara and I were gathered in Grandma’s kitchen for lunch. I don’t remember what we had to eat but knowing Grandma I imagine some delicious cold meat on home made bread (lots of mayonnaise) cucumbers and pie. I do remember that the grownups were drinking iced tea and us kids had milk.
My grandmother, being diabetic, put a few drops of saccharine in her tea all the time complaining it just didn’t taste like sugar, what a sacrifice she was making and maybe it was all hooey anyway, knowing full well she would eat pie for dessert.
Aunt Sara, chattering away in her usual manner added spoon after spoon full of sugar to her tea until there was a little white tornado of sugar in her glass.
For a second she stopped and looked at her tea. “Vera, I think there is something wrong with your sugar. It won’t dissolve.”
Grandma responded indignantly, “ Oh for God sake Sara, you just put too much in.”
Defensively Sara began stirring her tea with great vigor. “See it just won’t dissolve.”
At last the glass couldn’t take it any longer. The bottom broke out and tea went everywhere.
We all jumped up except my Mother who calmly said, “Well I guess that will cool thing off a bit”
Aunt Sarah’s Cherry Pudding
Cherries for Cherry Pudding
There are cobblers, and slumps, and crisps and Brown Bettys, but Aunt Sarah called her dessert a pudding. She probably made it with the bright red slightly sour cherries that I remember growing on trees around Killbuck, but I used Bing Cherries, which are sweeter. Whatever kind of cherries you use, adjust the sugar, particularly if you do not have Aunt Sarah’s sweet tooth.
Aunt Sarah’s Cherry Slump
Recipe Type: dessert
Author: Vera Marie Badertscher
Sarah Anderson made cherry slump with a whole lot of sugar.
1 Cup sugar (white)
2 tsp. baking powder
(1/2 tsp. salt)
Butter size of egg (6 T)
1 C milk
Enough flour to make a stiff batter (2 Cups)
2 Cups cherries (up to 3 Cups, pitted)
2 Cups boiling water (or reduce to 1 1/2)
1 Cup sugar
(2 Tbsp cornstarch)
1 Tbsp butter
(Mix flour and 1 Cup sugar with baking powder and salt, work in butter as for pastry, stir in milk)
(Boil water, add cherries, sugar and cornstarch mixed, and butter. Simmer until slightly thickened)
Put batter in large pan (9 x 13) and pour dressing over it and bake 3/4 hour at 350.
I have enclosed my additions in parentheses. You have to use your own judgement as to the amount of sugar, based on the sweetness of the cherries, but with Bing cherries, 1/2 cup in the cherries is enough, and I cut the sugar in the batter to 1/2 cup as well. The 2 cups of water seems excessive and leaves a very runny fruit “dressing”. I reduced the water and added cornstarch to thicken it. This is most similar to recipes I have seen for cobbler, except that cobblers generally put the dough on top.
Elsewhere I have mentioned that my maternal grandfather, Guy Anderson, was one of the apron-wearers in our family. My sister, today gives a boost to our father, Paul Kaser, who was handy at a lot of things, but limited his cooking pretty much to pancakes, carving the turkey and backyard barbecue. I’m so happy to welcome my sister as a guest writer.
Paula (Kaser) Price, around 1958
By Paula Kaser Price
(This post is about Paul Kaser, 1909-1996)
That old aluminum griddle with the detachable handle was one of my favorite Saturday morning sights. It was dented, stained and a thing of beauty.
The magic was that my Daddy was going to make animal pancakes for me. I am sure it was just for me because my sister and brother were too old and didn’t appreciate the wonder of it all.
The griddle covered both front and back burners on one side of the gas stove so there was plenty of room for creativity. Dad usually wore his old man-apron or if on occasion it couldn’t be found he wore one of Mom’s aprons which, of course, brought gales of laughter from me and profound scorn from my teenage siblings.
I remember sitting at the Formica-topped kitchen table, swinging my feet as I sat waiting for the griddle to reach the exactly right pancake temperature. Finally, after an eternity, Dad would wet his fingers, shake water onto the griddle, and when it sizzled – ready!
Then came that question I had been pondering the answer to as I swung my feet, waiting.
“What kind of animals should I make?”
I always came up with something impossible. “How about a duckbilled platypus and a porkypine?”
The reply would always be, “How about a turtle?”
Turtle Pancakes.Turtle out of shell and turtle in her shell. Photo courtesy of Paula Price.
He would begin his works of art, wielding the spatula like a conductor’s wand. Often the viewer needed great imagination but soon turtles, snakes, cats, bats, dinosaurs, bears and birds appeared on my plate. I’d apply butter until it melted and formed a great lake then I’d mix in some syrup. When I was stuffed full, happy and loved I’d run out to play with my friends, bragging about my Daddy’s animal pancakes.
Vintage Aunt Jemima ad
Note from VMB: To the best of the three sibling’s recollection, Dad used Aunt Jemima pancake mix. In the 1950s, it never occurred to us that there was anything wrong with the use of a stereotypical big black “Mammy” with a bandanna on her head as an advertising image. Dad liked other kinds of pancakes too, including buckwheat and corn. Here’s a recipe for my favorite cornmeal pancake, adapted from The Joy of Cooking. 4th printing, 1976.
1 1/2 C cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 C flour
Cut into dry ingredients: 1/4 C butter
2 C plain yogurt
Stir all ingredients together. Makes a dozen small, thin pancakes, turtles or platypus.
Note: When Grandma had a recipe calling for sour milk or buttermilk, she sometimes added 1 TBLS vinegar to each cup of milk and let it stand for a bit.