I first published this post five years ago, a week after my mother died. Today I’m republishing it to celebrate Mom and her prized Belgian Waffles on what would have been her 82nd birthday.
Family recipes are a wonderful way of keeping those who have gone before us present in our lives. Three more great-children have arrived since Mom left us, and they’ve joined the older two in talking about my parents as if they knew them. One of my four-year-old Little Misses likes to tell me stories about Metje, and always informs me that “she was your Mom.” I’m so grateful the older two girls and Mom had time together, but of course my heart aches for all that has been missed since then.
I’ve decided to let this post and its title stand as I originally wrote it, adding only this introduction and the recipe. I finally made Belgian waffles for the first time this Easter for our family brunch. The stories flowed and it was like having Mom at the table with us again.
Farewell to My Mother
It’s been quiet here through the kitchen window lately, and the little writing I’ve done has felt flat to me. Sometimes life diverts us from our normal interests and routine to something more important and profound.
My mother died recently, peacefully, following a cruelly wasting illness. I’m grateful for the time we spent together in her final days.
Mom came to Canada from Belgium as a young teenager, and built a rich and full life here. She was a determined, creative and talented person who excelled at everything she did. Her interests were wide-ranging. They included everything from woodworking and plumbing to a diverse range of arts and crafts (most notably pressed flower art and card making), gardening and, of course, cooking. When she was in her early sixties she taught herself to overcome a fear of public speaking, and started teaching pressed flower art.
Mom was a perfectionist, but she also had an artistic eye and brought grace and elegance to all that she did.
Last fall my daughter Jennifer and I stayed over at her house and the three of us spent the evening poring over old family photos, from both the old country and the new. It was bittersweet, as we already knew that her time with us was drawing to a close. The next morning, Mom showed us how she made her renowned Belgian waffles.
Someday I’ll share the recipe and more video of Mom’s technique, but for now I just wanted to post this clip. It’s another chance to hear her voice with the accent that I hardly noticed in person, and to see her beautiful, hard-working hands doing what they did best, creating something for others to enjoy.
♥ ♥ ♥
Making Belgian Waffles Together
The recipe card in Mom's elegant script says "DELICIOUS!" and that's not an overstatement. She also noted that the recipe is from the Gazette van Detroit (which has been serving the Belgian American community — and some in Canada! — for 103 years).
This is the recipe as written on Mom's card. When I doubled it, it served 10 people: five adults and five Little Misses who rivalled the big folks in their capacity to consume waffles with whipped cream and strawberries. I used Mom's waffle iron, which produces thick Belgian-style waffles.
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cups milk (500 ml)
- 2 cups all-pupose flour (500 ml)
- 1 tbsp baking powder (15 ml)
- 1/2 tsp salt (2 ml)
- 1/3 cup oil
- 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Beat egg whites first. Set aside.
Preheat waffle iron.
Put all remaining ingredients in large bowl. Beat on low until moist, then beat on medium until smooth.
By hand, gently fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
Pour ladle in centre of grid until golden brown: 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the kind of waffle iron. Standard brand flat, 3 minutes. Belgian thick 3:30 to 4 minutes.
Serve with your favourite toppings.
First published 2014 06 19
Republished 2019 06 06