Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekend Cook Book Challenge in retrospect

This is a post I initially wrote for Weekend Cookbook Challenge no.18 hosted at "I like to cook". Somehow, inbetween kids at home for the summer holidays and preparing our vacation the post never got posted. I figured since I have to start somewhere to again, I could as well do it here (I hate to see things go to waste, even if it's a ramshackle post that was already finished the 15th of July....).

So, to explain the challenge: we were given a choice of either something made of red and white, or something made out of a cook book in red and white. I could have picked King Arthur's Baker's Companion, but instead decided to open Sheila-Lukins' USA Cookbook.

KA, I know for sure, would have given me success recipes, Sheila on the other hand... Don't know what it is with that one. Somehow I love the way the book looks and feels in your hands, it's a sturdy square chunk of a book, bold cover, I like the way the recipes are written, hell I even like the cheapish paper the book is made off. For me the book oozes something comforting, it almost pats you on the arm and says: hey, I know you don't know how to cook but let's do it together, see I am not scary, look at my friendly lettering and the soothing little stories that are preceding every recipe.

The recipes in this book are an overview of true American dishes, chapters are divided by type of meal; breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks. In a way that's convenient, on the other hand if you are looking for a muffin recipe you have to think real hard at what time other people would like to have their muffins.... Comes in the magnificent index which is real nice and lists the recipes by their names as well as their ingredients. I like that. In my Dutch version (yes, it's translated and that feels a bit weird with the all-American cover and the all-American recipes) it even gives the recipes in their original names as well.

So, why not use it more often? I really don't know. I made a very successful cake once, used the layer cake recipe again to make other cakes and it worked great. I really don't know why the recipes in it don't shout: make me, no me, oh make me!

This time I chose a waffle recipe, and not just an ordinary waffle recipe but the Marion Cunningham raised waffles! To be honest I didn't have a clue who she was but it seems she is the Queen of waffles. Well, apparently I am not! Have a look;

This doesn't look half bad eh?

And... this is the other side. You know how they say there are always two sides of a discussion? Well here it is, discuss!

Don't think it was just this lonesome waffle showing us the dark side, they were all like this. The batter was way too liquid, the yeast managed to raise some of the batter but underneath there was a milky sea.

The flavour was off as well, overly sweet and awfully buttery (really just greasy...yuck!). I realized however that I misread the recipe....ahem....happens a lot right? In your houses as well right? Again I started a recipe two hours before mealtime and halfway through discovered that the batter had to rest a whole night in the fridge prior to using.....ánd prior to mixing the eggs in... yeah right. I was looking at a bowl of strange-looking batter at the time, eggs whisked in and all.... screaming kids around me: Yay, we're having waffles....

So what's a Mom gottado? She serves waffles and then blogs about it, dissing a recipe where throngs of people rave about... or not all of them?. Hmmm, obviously, what She really needed to do was toss the whole batch and start another recipe, another batch. Yup! But She didn't.

PS: for you to try.... here's the LA Times recipe (if you scroll down there's some instruction on how to par bake your waffles and reheat them in the oven to feed a hungry family in one batch. Might come in handy!

PS2: I know I know... if I let a dough rise for a fraction of the time it needs I would have gotten a disaster bread as well. So, it's not the recipe, it's me.


  1. Karen you stun me. Somehow I missed the waffle rage I see here in your links. Now I think I must try this recipe.
    I love how you go on about the book.

  2. Karen, waffles are just an excuse to eat lots of syrup for breakfast!! These waffles would do the trick! And I have known others who read recipes in the same way. Gotta marinate for 24 hours -- no way!

  3. I mis-read recipes all the time! You would think I would learn, but not yet. Thanks for taking part in WCC. Hope you'll join in again.

  4. I can identify with that. I just misread a recipe but I still blogged about it. It happens a lot to me.I don't have screaming kids to blame them on though....

  5. Aww well.. I've so been in your shoes - about 1,395 times. heee!

    So do you think you'll try again knowing what you did wrong this time?

    I love waffles but don't have an iron.. need to get one of those, eh? =)

    Funny post, sweetie, I really enjoyed that! :D


  6. I've got such great childhood memories of the 2nd hand waffle iron that my mother picked up somewhere and we used until it couldn't provide waffles for a family of 9 anymore. I'd love to have one myself, but if I see the damage that my new ice cream maker has reeked on my waistline, I'd think a personal trainer is probably the better way to go. Can I just come over to your house instead? ;-)

  7. Tanna, Sue: I think I know what you mean...

    Sara: thanks for reading this post so long past the due date!

    Veron: well, I can lend you mine for a while...

    Lis: I think I will yes, but you know, somehow I gained some weight during these past weeks... 's got something to do with DB affecting my sweet tooth.

    Mari: thought I *needed* an ice cream maker soon (birthday coming up) but now you mention waistlines, hmm not a good idea! (See above) But you're welcome to join us waffle-eating, I'll bake and you eat okay?

  8. Of course we all misread recipes and try to make a recipe that is supposed to rest overnight work in a few hours instead. How often can one plan like that anyway? I usually go 'Oh it's almost dinner time, guess I better figure out what to cook' when dinner time is like 1/2 hour away. With kids, it's even more difficult to plan. Try this one again sometime when it can sit overnight and see if that makes a difference...and reduce the sugar a bit??

  9. The Cunningham recipe worked really well for me, but as you noted, many others did not like it.I did let it rise overnight though, and also, I have an old fashioned waffle iron which does not, produce deep "belgian" style waffles- I can't tell from your photos what sort yours is?

  10. @ Elle,
    Most of the time I cook along your schedule, the half hour before dinner kind.

    I saw your post just after I finished mine, I used to have one of those heart shaped thinner waffle iron but this is the deeper rectangle Belgian waffles. Maybe that makes a difference as well.
    I think I will try again and maybe reduce the sugar/butter a bit next time ánd make sure it has a proper rest.


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