COOKING WITH CCYC REFLECTIONS - 12/18
Waffle House Waffles vs. Caitlin’s Waffles
Homemade whipped cream
Assorted fresh fruit
Recipe competitions have really become a staple of Cultivating Change. Not only do they create a little friendly rivalry among the youth, but they help us to narrow down the recipes that should be adapted for the Cultivating Change cookbook. AHHAH is creating the cookbook to help offset the restitution costs that youth pay when they return to their communities. This week we decided to focus on waffles. We debated about doing a waffles vs. pancakes cook-off, but we know that there are diehard fans in both camps, so we wouldn’t want to exclude either from the cookbook.
Jan provided the teams with the choice of preparing either a Waffle House style waffle, or her daughter Caitlin’s recipe. There were vocal Waffle House supporters in the group, and they joined me to make that recipe and the persimmon syrup, while Jan’s group made Caitlin’s recipe, the whipped cream, and the milkshakes.
Our recipe was very complicated. There were almost twice as many ingredients in it as compared to Caitlin’s. It called for both butter and vegetable shortening as well as three types of milk (whole milk, half and half, and buttermilk). Once we got through all of the measuring and mixing, we got to the fun part of making the waffles. We had a double Belgian waffle maker, and the boys were very excited to use it to make the waffles. C. was particularly adept, which didn’t surprise me, since he has shown a knack for cooking in every class. We left him in charge of making the waffles while the rest of us made the persimmon syrup. We made the syrup from fresh persimmons from my yard. Most of the boys had never seen a persimmon before and were hesitant to try it. Once we started cooking the persimmon with cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla extract and the aroma started to fill the air, the boys were more eager to try it. We let it cook down and then strained out the remaining pulp. I had my helpers sample it. They loved it and were amazed by how good it was.
Both teams plated up the waffles and brought the syrups, fresh fruit, and whipped cream to the table. Staff were encouraged to participate in the voting, and we definitely didn’t need to ask them twice. I was impressed by how many boys tried the persimmon syrup, no doubt spurred on by the guys on my team raving about how good it was. After everyone had sampled both waffles, we voted by a show of hands and the tally came out exactly even. Everyone voted for the waffle that they made, and the staff were evenly split.
To me, it was a great result because it showed that if you get a young person involved in cooking, they will (most likely) enjoy the result. The boys clearly favored the waffles that they helped make. Even the persimmon syrup, which I thought was a little heavy on the vanilla extract, was a big hit, because they made it themselves. Now as far as which recipe should make the cookbook? I think we should take the best of both recipes and combine them to make a true CCYC original. That way everyone is a winner.
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Heather Leach is Cultivating Change's facilitator and Program Director!