How shared family meals can create life-long memories
By Liz Gastiger
In this hectic day and age, it might help parents to have a formula for making lasting family moments. Today’s technology pulls us into our shells where we email, Instagram, text, chat, and tweet on impulse with generally no enduring memories from these too frequent occurrences. Sometimes making connections with everyone in cyberspace does not bode well for important family relationships.
This brings me to the story of my best friend growing up. Let’s call her Sofie Magee. She may be Irish. Sofie was one of nine children, and she attended high school with me. This was not so long ago, but it was before the internet. One day a month, Sofie’s mother would allow each of her nine children to bring a friend home for an overnight stay with their family. This is a family story and memory that has stayed with me, as I tell you now.
I was excited that Sofie asked me to the big sleepover at her house because she was my best friend. We had the usual after-school activities and then got home to a house full of exchange, flit and flutter. It was so much fun with nine friends of the families’ nine children. After a frolicking night, what stuck with me was Mother Magee’s unwavering rule that every member of the family and their guests come down for breakfast on time for what was more than a meal.
In the morning, Sofie’s mother cooked a magnificent breakfast of pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs and potatoes. What I saw – a group of family and friends bonding over a meal together – taught me a recipe for creating lasting memories. The Magee family breakfast prepared each individual to face the world each day, equipped with a fresh bout of inspiration. The Magee family eventually encountered the age of the internet, but each member carried this formula for daily renewal with them into it.
Back then, I always wondered why Sofie was consistently late to class when she lived right across from the school. I never questioned why she came late again after I spent time with her family, which I discovered was so important to her.
Now, let me give you a breakfast recipe to help bring your family to the table to start their day.
This is a lovely, crispy-on-the-outside and soft-on-the-inside waffle that’s perfect for any morning.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground pepper (optional, but adds a nice spice)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups milk, warmed
½ cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the waffle iron (The VillaWare or Cuisinart brands are good ones.)
Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, sugars, cinnamon and black pepper.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, butter and vanilla.
Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended.
Spray the waffle iron with a non-stick spray and pour batter into the preheated waffle iron.
Cook waffles until golden brown, serve and enjoy.
A nice way to turn this recipe into something special is to add mini chocolate chips or berries. I like to sprinkle the batter with a cinnamon-sugar mixture before and after baking for a French toast-inspired waffle.