something out of nothing: raised waffles

one of the strongest traits i've inherited from my paternal lineage is a love of junk.

my grandmother has scoured garage sales every saturday morning since she moved to the states in the seventies.

my dad is not only a lover of the junk shop, but also a hoarder.  don't even ask for details--i can't go there.

i love junk.  i love the idea of uncovered treasure amongst someone else's discarded bits.  i love making something old new again, giving what's been exhausted a second life.  and of course, i love finding a use for something thought to be useless.  that is, after all, the way i cook.

every town has a junk store (and i'll readily admit that east coast and midwestern junk is far superior to california junk), but berkeley's

urban ore

has no equal as far as i'm concerned.  it's humongous, relatively organized, and has a constant stream of new junk.  there are those devotees, i'm sure, who visit every single day.  there are those, i know, who have renovated entire homes and businesses solely using materials from urban ore.  and then there are people like me, who go there when we need a new filing cabinet or just pull into the lot on a whim when we're in the neighborhood.

the other day, i did just that, and i found this beauty for $5:

the sunbeam w-2, produced from 1945 to 1955.  after a little web research, i learned that the same machine can now go for $295!  score!

it was a bit scuffed and greasy, but i got up close and personal with a stainless steel scrubbie and shined it up.

what next?  waffle party, of course.

and since i was planning ahead and had my wits about me, i made the best waffle recipe ever*,

marion cunningham's raised waffles.

the thing i love most about waffles is that even someone like me, whose refrigerator is usually populated with nothing other than two dozen half-empty condiment jars, reliably has all of the necessary ingredients on hand.  and even when i don't have maple syrup around, i do have all sorts of other sweet and delicious things to put on top.

this time, i made some berries with beaumes-de-venise and whipped cream, pulled out all of my jams and honeys down from the cupboard, fried up some bacon for the amy-dencler-original-bacon-in-waffle, and told everyone else to bring things to put on top of the waffles.  guests showed up with butters, coffees, and even maple syrup made by an old friend.

i was so busy running around, i didn't get a chance to take any photos to share, but they didn't look too far off from


(though molly's appear to have been made on a belgian waffle iron).  trust me when i say that much fun was had.

marion cunningham's raised waffles


the breakfast book

, one of my most treasured cookbooks of all time)

yields about 8 waffles

1/2 cup warm water

1 package (1 tablespoon) dry yeast

2 cups milk, warmed

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Use a large mixing bow, as the batter will rise to double its original volume.  Put the water in the mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast.  Let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes.

Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour to the yeast mixture and beat until smooth and blended.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the eggs, add the baking soda, and stir until well mixed.  The batter will be very thin.  Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into a very hot waffle iron.  Bake the waffles until they are golden and crisp.

This batter will keep well for several days in the refrigerator.

*even though most who taste these marvel at their amazing lightness, crispness, and all-around amazingness, there are those who are disappointed because they were expecting a chewy interior.  if that's what you're looking for, i suggest

marion's classic waffles

, which are also good for those times when you didn't plan for waffles ahead.