Perhaps it was the catchy advertising: The dad and his son simultaneously gripping the same, crispy golden waffle as it popped up from the toaster and shouting, “Hey! L’eggo my Eggo!” It was standard Saturday morning commercial programming for every 70’s child, and in the days preceding The Cartoon Network and Boomerang, Hubby and I clocked thousands of Saturday cartoon hours between the two of us.
It just so happens that they were delicious as well. Mind you, once you bury anything under butter and maple syrup, its chances at achieving deliciousness are almost certainly assured, even if they were nutritionally pretty much on par with cotton candy. Nevertheless, when we were living in America and raising our young children, Eggo Waffles were a weekend breakfast treat. As for the nutrition, I figured that’s why they invented Flinstone vitamins…
One of our first mornings in England, still basking in the temporary glow of the company expense account, we toddled our little family down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast and, it being a Saturday (a.k.a. “Waffle Day”), we ordered waffles for the kids, then 5 and 7.
The waiter looked puzzled. “Waffles?”
We assured him we meant waffles, and our obviously confused waiter shrugged and sent the order off to the kitchen.
Our breakfasts arrived, and the waiter presented the children with their waffles. At first, all appeared normal. Until we realized there was no syrup.
“Please, may we have syrup?”
The waiter’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline. He could not have looked more surprised. “Syrup? You mean… sauce?”
Now it was our turn to look surprised. “Sauce?”
Our waiter was clearly flustered now. “Brown sauce? Perhaps… ketchup?”
We all exchanged an alarmed glance. “Syrup?” we repeated, hopefully. “Like, from maple trees?”
The waiter’s eyes bulged slightly as he no doubt swallowed back something foul, but he disappeared into the kitchen and emerged with two of the tiniest bottles of maple syrup known to man. They would have looked right at home in a min-bar, but we took what we could get. He presented them with a flourish and a look that clearly said, “Well, you ASKED for it.”
The moment the kids took their first bite of English “waffle,” our waiter’s expression made perfect sense.
These were not Eggo waffles.
These were not Belgian waffles.
These, my friends, were potato waffles. Not exactly Chick-fil-A waffle fries, but more or less waffle-shaped tater tots. Swimming, as they were, in a puddle of syrup and butter, I am sure you can imagine how awful they were. I probably don’t need to tell you that the kids did not finish their breakfast that day.
At this point, having determined England to be an officially waffle-free zone, our family felt its first genuine pang of homesickness. In the ensuing years during each and every trip State-side, we would make a beeline for the local grocery store to stock up on Eggos and maple syrup. We made it our goal to eat at least half our body weight in Eggos each and every holiday.
Hey, some families hike, some scuba dive… ours ate waffles.
Now that HH and I are empty nesters, I would like to say this tradition has gone the way of all childish things, like Spaghetti-Os and Kool-Aid. It has not. Here in sunny Texas, HH and I have been happily breakfasting on our old childhood favourite: Eggo waffles, syrup, butter. Everyone is happy about this.
Everyone but my blood sugar, that is. I have had two major crashes this week, both involving shaking, sweating and the irrational urge to dive into the nearest chocolate bar and eat my way out. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps now, approaching my mid-century mark, it is time to forego my childish dietary longings in favour of oatmeal or scrambled eggs. Even on vacation. In other words, it is ACTUALLY time to let go of my Eggo.
Dang. Sometimes being a grownup sucks.
Feature photo: leggomyeggo.com
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