I commented to my mother once that my Great Aunt Ida had looked old all of my life. She laughed and said that Ida (affectionately known as “Idie”) had looked old all of her life. Born in 1892, she was a simple woman. She had to be, at an early age an accident took the majority of her sight. Over the course of the years she lost her hearing as well. Despite these infirmities, and the fact that she had no family of her own, forcing her to live with my grandmother, she took things pretty much in stride. She never got depressed, and always made the best of what little she had. Amazingly she was able to sew her own clothes on an ancient Singer sewing machine (that I now have), and do a bit of cooking and baking.
My boys never knew her physically, but know of her because of the stories we’ve told. One in particular gave her a nickname that stuck and she was, henceforth, known as “The Waffle Lady.”
My grandmother happened to be out of town on one of Aunt Idie’s birthdays, so mother and I made her a nice lunch, complete with German Chocolate Cake (her -- and my -- favorite), and took it over to her. It was always difficult conversing because she had such trouble hearing, so we pretty much had to shout everything when we spoke.
After our ample, but delicious lunch, mother commented on how full she was. I added that I was full as well. Idie just looked at us, blankly.
“I’m full!” mother shouted.
Idie looked from her to me.
“I’m full!” I shouted.
Idie looked back at mother.
“WE’RE. ALL. FULL.” mother screeched.
Idie nodded, a puzzled look on her face.
“I like waffles too,” she replied.
We burst into laughter and then, slowly and loudly, managed to explain to her exactly what we had said. She laughed and said that it just sounded as if we were both saying, “WAFFLE, WAFFLE” adding that she couldn't figure out the significance of our talking about waffles, but went along with it to appease us. Ever since that time, when someone says something that the other doesn’t understand, the tongue-in-cheek reply is, “I like waffles too.”
So while my sons’ generation and those that follow will never know her, I am sure that this story will prevail.
This recipe is the only one that I ever remember her making, but it is a good one. She just called them Molasses Cookies, but to give them provenance, I call them –
“The Waffle Lady’s” Molasses Cookies
¾ cup soft softening (Crisco)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature, beaten to blend
1/3 cup molasses
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
Sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream shortening and sugar together until thoroughly blended. Add molasses, followed by beaten egg. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, spices, soda and salt. Add flour mixture to molasses mixture, mixing just until blended. Shape dough into 1” balls and roll in additional sugar. Place on greased baking sheets and bake 10-12 minutes for a soft cookie, 15-17 minutes for a crisp cookie.
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