Saturday, I completed my quasi-annual holiday tradition: pizzelle making.
One of the very few items I personally selected on our wedding gift registry five and a half years ago (feels like it was just yesterday we were marching through the department store aiming the laser gun at items on our wish list) was a three-in-one sandwich/waffle/pizzelle maker. When I saw it, I knew that we had to have it. I couldn’t imagine married life without it.
How prescient I was. We’ve used each of the three functionalities, I’d say, on average 0.5 – 0.75 times per year. We’ve made waffles probably twice or thrice since we exchanged our vows… I’ve eaten maybe four sandwiches (toasted to perfection) grilled between the two hot metal bread-shaped molds (two were on Saturday) in the time spanning June 1, 2002 till now. But, most critically, during our first December of wedded bliss I decided that I would initiate an annual regimen of pizzelle making (the annualness not being strictly defined—prior to 2007, I have made pizzelles three of five Yuletide seasons).
You can imagine the horror, then, when in the course of refacing our kitchen cabinets, I heard my wife utter an “oops” (“oops”s in our relationship traditionally have emanated from my mouth, not hers) and I looked down to see the two halves of my pizzelle/ sandwich/ waffle/ book report maker resting on the floor in cracked outer casings and connected by a thin, exposed wire in the midst of the scattered contents formerly occupying our cabinet just beside our front window.
My disappointment was palpable. I mustered the most pitiful Eeyore response I could: “I guess I won’t be making my special Christmas pizzelles this year.”
My wife wanted to rectify her accident and buy me a new three-in-oner, but I told her it wasn’t worth the expense. Huddled masses of yearning family members would just have to make do with (my wife’s delicious) sugar cookies this year.
And then came my birthday, and what a happy one it was, for among the many lovely presents was one conspicuously large wrapped cuboid box which I eagerly unpackaged. The innards of said birthday present was none other than a replacement pizzelle/ waffle/ sandwich maker (thanks to the in-laws for that one—this blog post mightn’t have happened without them): crisis averted. Pizzelles a la yajeev would indeed come to pass to mark the birth of Christ Jesus.
This past Saturday was Christmas cookie day in the household of yajeev. The lovely wife prepared a multitude of sugar cookies of myriad shapes, colors, and sprinkle patterns and flavors, and I set about to prepare the pseudo-traditional pizzelles.
When I cook or bake or prepare food of any variety in the kitchen (which admittedly, happens, only slightly more frequently than my pizzelle making extravaganzas), the scientist in me requires a clear and detailed protocol. To be honest, the recipe I use from year-to-year varies; I will use whichever instructions are first listed after a google search for “pizzelle recipes”. So “yajeev’s pizzelles” do not necessarily match a particular protocol endorsed by yajeev, but rather are simply the pizzelles prepared by yajeev in strict accordance to a not entirely randomly procured internet pizzelle recipe protocol (I have to assume that the first listed recipe is so positioned for some good reason).
Saturday afternoon, I prepared my benchtop, er countertop, carefully placing each ingredient in the order it would be needed: three eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon extract, flour, and baking powder (or was it soda?). Next, I turned on the holiday tunes (carefully avoiding Dominic the Donkey or Merry Christmas from the Chipmunks—these don’t go over so well with the little lady). Next, I arranged all the tools I’d be using: mixing bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoons… As I carefully lined each item up along the back wall, I asked my wife, “Honey, where’s the ¼-cup measuring cup?”
She, icing cookies, replied: “I don’t know.”
I: “What do you mean you don’t know? And where's the tablespoon measuring spoon?”
She: “I mean I don’t know where they are.”
I: “Well, they’ve got to be somewhere around here, right? Maybe in the dishwasher?”
They were not.
Improvise? Was she kidding? I have been trained to proceed with scientific accuracy, not senseless estimation. I mean, I don’t perform alkaline lysis bacterial plasmid mini preps with just any old pipette. I weighed my options. There was no time to go to the store: we were on a tight schedule. After cookie making, we had planned to wrap presents, eat dinner, and pack for our Christmas vacation: no time for frivolous measuring cup purchases. Make pizzelles with no regard for accuracy or no pizzelles at all. I chose the former, and with great trepidation, I christened the new pizzelle maker.
So how is this year’s batch? So far, they’re getting rave reviews from the dog (of course, he like poopsicles). The rest of the jury is still out.
(Eeyore picture accessed at wikipedia)