Old-time Waffle Recipe

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday,  December 6, 1913: The whole family was invited out for dinner today. We all went except Pa. It was up at Tweet’s place. We had something that I always had a curiosity to know what they tasted like. It was waffles.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

mmm. . . Waffles sound good.

Until I read this I hadn’t realized that waffles were around a hundred years ago. I wonder how they were made back in the days before electric waffle makers.

Here’s an excellent old family recipe for waffles and it may be similar to the recipe that Tweet used.

Waffles

2 cups cake flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, separated

1 1/4  cup milk

6 tablespoons melted butter

Beat egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl combine cake flour, baking powder, salt, egg yolks, milk, and butter. Add flour gradually, beating only until smooth. Gently fold in beaten egg whites. Bake in a hot waffle iron.

Yield: approximately 4 servings

This recipe old, but it’s not a recipe of Grandma’s. Let me tell you its story:

This recipe was in my mother’s recipe card box. I think that it is the waffle recipe that my maternal grandmother used. (The grandmother I write about in this blog is my paternal grandmother).

We often had waffles when I was a child—but we never used this recipe—instead we used the recipe on the Bisquick box.

A few years ago I compiled my recipes—including recipes of my mother’s  which were in my recipe box but that I’d never made—into a family cookbook. I gave the cookbook to my children and other relatives.

A couple of months ago my adult son said, “Mom, that’s a great waffle recipe in your cookbook.”

And, I responded, “What recipe?” since I’d never made the waffle recipe and had forgotten that I’d put it into the cookbook.

I recently actually made this recipe and it’s wonderful—and it’s even more wonderful that my children are discovering their food heritage.

Tweet was the nickname of Helen Wesner. She was a friend of Grandma’s and lived with her family on a farm at the edge of McEwensville.

12/7/13 Update

My readers are wonderful. I now know what an old-fashioned waffle iron looks like. RuthAnn at Labyrinth Living sent me a picture of an old-fashioned cast iron waffle iron that her great-grandmother used. She gave me permission to share it with you. Here is what she wrote:

waffle.iron.1890

It would have been used on a wood cook stove, but I know Grandma also used it later on her electric stove, just right on the elements.  If you can see on one piece, one end has a round socket and the other piece has a round ball that fits into the socket.  So those two halves fit together and are placed on the stove to heat.  One lifts the handle to open the halves, and puts the batter on the waffle grid, then closes it and holds it for about a minute and then lifts the two handles together and swivels it around (the ball in the socket is the swivel) and puts it down to cook the other side.  When it stops steaming, it should be ready to remove and serve.

42 Responses

  1. Of course, my wandering mind had to find out when electric waffle makers were first available. The first electric waffle makers were manufactured by General Electric in 1911. The inventor who made them possible lived in Abbottstown, PA, which was only about 130 miles south of McEwensville.
    Who knows, maybe Tweet had an early model :-)

    • Thanks for the info. It’s amazing that the first electric waffle makers were made in Pennsylvania. I don’t think that McEwensville had electricity in 1913–but it’s hard to be sure about things like that.

  2. What a wonderful idea to put all those recipes together and give copies of the cookbook to your children so they could appreciate their food heritage. Waffles are delicious but I didn’t know about them until I was an adult. They were not part of my food heritage.

  3. Well, that was nice that the family was invited out and that Grandma got to try something new…!

  4. Family recipes carry such wonderful memories… Delightful post, thanks :-)

  5. I also use a waffle recipe that was my grandmother’s who is from the same time period. It called for using an egg beater, so to keep it authentic, I bought one to use. Family recipes are a meaningful connection to the past.

  6. I’ve never made waffles. It’s interesting that waffles were made for dinner but not unusual, I suppose. I’ve made pancakes for dinner. :)

  7. The waffle looks so delicious!… I will copy the recipe, but I would like to ask you, how big the cup is since there are so many sizes of the cups today. What is in grams? Thank you very much for sharing this post. :-)

  8. Now I’m hungry for waffles!

  9. My mother has always been known for Irish soda bread and we still enjoy when she makes it. I have carried on the tradition

  10. Love this. Would like to know what their waffle iron looked like. Love this whole series, and I’m so glad grandma had something a bit longer to say.

  11. How about publishing your cookbook of
    family recipes. I certainly would cherish one from you.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I’m honored that you would cherish one. Since I did the cookbook on a very small scale for family members, it would take some rethinking to make it interesting and appropriate for a wider audience, but I’ll have to give it some thought.

  12. This recipe is nearly the same as the one I first learned to use in 1950. I have a picture of my Great-grandmother’s cast-iron waffle iron which she used on her wood cook-stove. I would be happy to share the pic with you, if you can tell me how to send it to you. I can’t seem to see a way to post it here.

  13. How fun to have your son cooking at all, let alone heritage recipes! Fun post!

  14. We make waffles often, I think I will try your recipe :)

  15. Publishing the family recipes for family is a wonderful idea. I am sure it is/was appreciated.

    • I had a lot of fun doing the family recipe book. It wasn’t anything very fancy. I just did it using Word, and, along with the recipes, included some pictures and family stories. I then took it to a copy shop and got some copies made. The copy shop then put a cover on them and spiral bound them.

      I’ve gotten lots of nice comments about the cookbook. My kids use it regularly to make their favorite recipes. Several elderly relatives enjoy reading it because brings back nice memories. And, I use it myself all the time because it has all of my recipes in one place.

  16. Just like everything else they were the same, but without the heating element. You made them on your stove burner. Right?
    Or maybe over the fire ;)? Going back too far? I wonder if there was a Lord Waffle that waffles were named after. I wonder if that recipe would work with gluten free flour . . . .

  17. I am also wondering how they made waffles. Who invented those “pockets/holes” in waffles?

  18. Oooooh, I wish I had one right now! Yum! Blessings, Natalie ;)

  19. How interesting, the advent of the waffle for Helena! There’s a local restaurant, the owner made the first waffle cones for his ice cream shop in 1904, or thereabouts. Pizzelles, Italian waffle cookies are a hit with my grandchildren. I remember making them at my grandmother’s house when the family gathered there for the holidays.

    • I love those handmade waffle cones that a few old-fashioned ice cream shops still make.

      When I received your comment, I wasn’t quite sure what Pizzelles were, so I “googled” it. I don’t think that I’ve ever eaten one, but they look really good.

  20. That old one looks like an good workout for your wrists. Her Grandma probably would have been a good arm wrestler :D

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