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two roads on the way to 
scrumptious waffles
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Thereís a lot I still miss about college, and almost none of it has to do with the dorm dining hall. Too many bad memories of watery tomato sauce, congealed smushy pasta, the dreaded occasional Asian night ... shudder. My stomach, years later, still turns at the mere thought of it. But thereís one exception to the long list of horrors: Waffles, fresh-made, laden with sweet strawberries and billows of whipped cream.

On weekend mornings, half asleep in my bed, I still have visions of commercial-grade Belgian waffle makers, the heavy-duty iron kind, lined up in a row so we students could make our own big, thick, circular waffles each Sunday morning (or as was more frequently the case, afternoon). So serious was the longing that when we moved into our first apartment, my sweetie and I actually embarked on a quest for one of these miracle machines. We found them at a restaurant supply shop, but alas, even the used models ran several hundred dollars. Instead, we resigned ourselves to a search for an adequate home kitchen model.

The most important thing to look for when purchasing a waffle maker is the depth of the waffle grid. You want something with nice, deep, crevices to give you a waffle thatís super-thick where itís supposed to be thick, wafer-thin where itís supposed to be thin. Because the ideal waffle texture is all about the contrast: you want the perfect crisp crunch to reveal an airy-light, creamy-moist center that practically melts in your mouth.

Most waffle makers these days have a non-stick finish, which is great, because theyíll require no more than a very light brush or spray of oil Ė and anything you can do to cut back on the fat content of this rather calorie-and-cholesterol-laden treat is a good thing. Buy a 4-waffle unit rather than a 2-waffle unit if you can Ė the fewer batches you have to make the better, since waffles are the divas of the brunch world: they really donít like to be kept waiting.

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