When I was a little girl, my mum made waffles in a round beige waffle iron. Sometimes she’d let me help.
I’d hold the electric hand mixer in place as she added small quantities of sifted flour and baking powder to the sugar, egg and butter mix. She always added a small packet of Dr. Oetker’s Vanille Zucker, or vanilla sugar, which she carried back from our summer trips to Dreieich, a small town near Frankfurt where she grew up.
I would stir the batter with a big spoon in her tall brown mixing bowl. And when it was ready, she’d pour a small amount onto the waffle iron and slowly close it. As a treat she’d sometimes let me do that for her, but not without worrying that I’d burn my fingers on the hot iron.
In September this year, I almost did just that. I pulled out her old waffle iron, which was lying unused in the storage cupboard in my house. “Does it still work?” my mum asked when I hooked it up to an electric outlet and turned on the switch. The jagged texture of the waffle iron’s innards warmed instantly to my touch. I think she was still afraid I’d burn my fingers, but 30 years later she didn’t quite show it. “German quality,” I called back.