Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Darling Daughter Packs Her Bags

“My 16-year-old is in South Africa.”

“My baby girl won’t be home for seven weeks.”

“Julia has abandoned me.”

A little dramatic, but yes, I’m struggling. And incredibly proud. From now until Labor Day weekend, Julia is participating in an exchange student program, at St. Anne's Diocesan College in a place called Pietermaritzburg. Some 8,500 miles away from home.  Nearly 9,000 miles away from me.

These past few weeks have been a safari-swirled whirlwind. Together, we’ve shopped and returned and researched and packed. We've made lists and made plans. But looking back, I know Julia did most of it on her own. She remembered her summer school assignments. She remembered gifts for her host and host families. She remembered to pack layers. She remembered her toiletries. She remembered hairbands and socks and she even remembered nail polish remover, because the school she’ll attend doesn’t allow nail polish. Or makeup. Or jewelry.

So what did I do? I reminded her to take chewing gum. I told her to pack a journal. And a pen. And in the end, when I didn’t know what else to suggest, I told her to pack cat treats for the feline member of her host family.

That's when I knew it was time for her to board that southbound plane.

She was ready. I may not have been, but Julia was. The only thing left for me to do was what I always do – cook. And bless Julia's heart, for her “last” supper, she asked that I make the first recipe I ever included in Feminine Wiles – Waffles of Insane Greatness.

I love that girl. Love her like crazy, miss her like crazy, and believe in her like crazy. And in 45 days, 15 hours and 21 seconds, I'll have the chance to cook for her again.

Maybe we'll make even make cat treats.

Waffles Of Insane Greatness
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

First step, unless you're only serving one other person, go ahead and double the recipe. These waffles are that good.

Then, in a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients, mixing well. Add the buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and mix well.

Now here's the hard part. The batter has to rest for 30 minutes. Seriously. Use the time to set the table, chop up some strawberries, brew some coffee and get the paper. Now you're ready.

Preheat your waffle iron and bake according to the directions on your waffle iron. Serve with butter and syrup. Or, the way Julia prefers -- with confectioner's sugar, strawberries and whipped cream.

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