OPINION

Balancing Act: Waffling the time away is a way to wait for vaccine

Pat Snyder
Guest Columnist

I don’t know how I missed it, but according to all those must-have gift guides kicking around at Christmas, mini waffle makers are taking the country by storm. 

“The gift of the year!” declared one. And suddenly the inner child who had loved the Easy-Bake Oven convinced me this was the item my grandchildren had to have to start off the year right.   

Pat Snyder

My daughter, their aunt, egged me on. 

“I want one, too,” she said eyeing the accompanying 159-page cookbook that promised something for everyone, from keto to gluten-free. She seemed especially eager for the waffled falafel, made with chickpeas, whereas I favored the crunchy cheddar, requiring pulverized Goldfish crackers. 

“The grandkids are going to love making chocolate taco waffles,” I enthused, salivating over the dark-brown waffles wrapped around vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce. 

Let’s just say that I got more eye rolls than yays when they unwrapped the 4-inch waffle maker on our Christmas Eve Zoom call. Possibly, they’d hoped it was some other electronic device. But even in the face of this wet-noodle reception, I’ve been undeterred. I have set out to prove that this is in truth the gift for 2021 by – ta-dah! – buying one for myself and plodding through the book. 

Though I’ll undoubtedly join the rest of the world holding its collective breath on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, climate change and political divides, I have resolved – for $9.99 and a few simple ingredients – to add sure-fired distractions to the winter lockdown menu. 

How could I fail with an instruction book teeming with expressions like “I love you a waffle lot” and “Nobody does it batter” for inspiration?

I already have waffled my way into January – starting slow with the "Classic Waffle," which promised eight to 10 waffles in five minutes.  Admittedly, the time was a bit understated. Either I am very slow, or they meant five minutes per waffle, counting measuring, mixing and waiting for “golden brown.”   

But that, I’ve decided, is what makes the whole exercise so perfect for this year. Waffle-making can become a form of meditation. I’m sure that Thich Nhat Hanh would have recommended waffle-making over dishwashing, if someone had just given him a mini-maker.  

Besides mindfully measuring and mixing, there is that patience-inspiring period when you simply must wait to see if it’s time to lift an outer edge and hope the optimum moment has come. This is not an activity that lends itself to running off to take clothes out of the dryer. And counting both sides, we’re talking 16 to 20 opportunities to stick around and be still. 

As I advance through the book, I can see that I will get better and better at waiting – a skill that can only help as I waffle my way through the various phases of vaccine release dates, which, as a generally healthy person staying home, will not come soon enough.  

I’m going to take it slow – working my way up from the apparently popular chaffle (six egg/cheese/onion/ham beauties in 10 minutes), to waffles benedict (six to eight in 25 minutes) and, finally, the buttermilk chicken-fried waffles (fried chicken sitting on a “throne” of nine to 10 waffles, 30 minutes). 

I can only hope that I get vaccinated before I surrender to the same appliance malaise that struck not long after I eagerly embraced the panini maker and the George Foreman Grill.   

“Oh, the cleaning!” I moaned, and found myself just using a fry pan. But here, I’ve already found online assurances that the cleaning is a snap – no more difficult than a corndog maker, according to one YouTube video. 

Hmmm. I wonder how many recipes come with those? 

Balancing Act author Pat Snyder is a Beechwold resident and life-balance speaker and coach. Read her work at patsnyderonline.com