Sunday morning. It’s quiet and overcast. The perfect light for photographing. The Civil Wars are playing in the background from the speakers of my husband’s computer. Nothing fancy. Fresh flowers from the store sit on the messy table that still needs to be cleaned. Reminding us winter is just a season. The fog will soon lift. And the streets will bustle with activity and noise. But the quiet, that awkward, revealing sound I so often avoid, is majestic right now.
I’m making our favorite weekend waffles. A recipe I’ve been playing with for months now. Tweaking, an inch at a time, until they come out perfect. It happened this morning. So crispy on the outside you can hear the fork break through. But so tender in the middle it softens the initial blow. They soak up the messy maple syrup while still holding their shape. All the while cradling the blueberries we had on hand.
The dishes sit on the table exactly where we left them. We linger in the quiet a little longer. Waiting to go to church, which doesn’t start until well after lunch. I’m still full from the waffles. We head to church. But this time it’s not out of routine. For awhile, a long while, it felt like that’s all that it was. But that’s a conversation for another day. We’re welcomed by a symphony of guitars, , or rather three, playing calmly in the background. And almost to a crescendo, the service begins with a clang of silence. We pause for meditation.
“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”
—Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Many months have passed where I couldn’t hear it. Nor did I want to. I’m good at filling the blank spaces. But today I hear it. That awkward, revealing silence. The hum of the house. The beat of my heart through my ear canal. The car driving by on the uneven road. The crunch of the fork breaking the waffle. It has somehow turned into a majestic sound.
- Heat waffle iron on high heat. I set mine to 5 (out of 6). Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Add the dry ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter, about 45 seconds. Add in milk and continue to cook for another minute.
- Whisk in egg, orange juice, and vanilla extract until combined.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to over mix. Tiny lumps may remain.
- Add batter to heated waffle iron. I typically err on the side of adding less batter. Remove cooked waffle and place on a baking sheet without stacking. Stacking causes waffles to become limp due to the steam. Place in oven to keep warm. Repeat.
- Top with fruit and 100% pure maple syrup.
- Save leftovers in the fridge and reheat by placing the waffle back in the griddle or heat on the stovetop to ensure crispiness. Heating in the microwave will cause waffles to soften.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.