Tuesday, January 13, 2015

RIP Waffle

Last Sunday my friend Nishu decided to have a brunch. It was because Hedda had departed back to Spain and back to work. Therefore, he was alone. In the olden days, Nishu would have spent his time much differently. This would have meant a cast of Lost Boys and Lost Girls that made the characters of Peter Pan look like a bunch of amateurs. Usually, I would have eagerly been present for the tomfoolery that occurred, which included prank calling people we knew on Google Voice.

Nishu’s apartment served as a sort of lair every Sunday for our crew. These included but were not limited to the following people: Keeley, a makeup artist and conspiracy theorist who’s kerfuffles always ended with a friendly phone call to the local precinct; Sarit, a 34 year old who lied about her age that baited much younger men on Plentyoffish.com with anger management problems; Jeanette, a cougar who had several breast augmentation surgeries that spit men out like watermelon seeds; and of course Jessi who works in television production, a friend I miss very much.

Since Hedda came into the picture, many of these characters have become little more than my descriptions on the page. Keeley, who’s misadventures deserve a blog of their own, has merely become “The K Word,” a sort of Raku Nini, a spirit that shall not be spoken of. Sarit has also faded into the woodwork thankfully, and the last we heard was dating a Haitian man of questionable means who may or may not sell drugs for a living. Jeanette has been travelling since catching feelings for her last conquest, a bus boy who went to community college part time. Jessi works quite often, and she moved to Queens so she unfortunately fell off the map completely. Aside from Jessi, Hedda’s presence had a lot to do with the disappearance of these folks.

Since Hedda has entered the picture, Nishu has become more and more adult. As a result, with Hedda temporarily absent, he has elected to do an adult thing. Instead of inviting one of the many Kramers in the crew over, he elected to have a semi-sophisticated brunch.  

So Nishu messaged me Sunday morning, and then told me Jeanie was coming over as well. Jeanie works with me at the singing telegram company. A night owl, Jeanie sings swing at the local clubs and tumbles in as the sun is coming up. Often she does not rise until noon and don’t bother her until after 2. So we elected to have the brunch at 2 or 2:30, that way Jeanie would be up long enough to have fun, but it wouldn’t be too early for her.

I said Nishu was becoming an adult. Relax, that didn’t mean the rest of us were, silly.

Anyway, Nishu told me via text he wanted to make waffles. This was definitely a change of pace. Nishu probably elected to do this for two reasons: 1, he was lonely and Nishu, like all men, does not do alone time well; 2, Hedda was a pastry chef at one point and Nishu is learning how to cook. While Nishu does not touch the stove, he has become accustomed to Hedda’s cuisine and therefore has become intrigued by the kitchen process. Plus Hedda got him a waffle maker for Christmas.

I came over, and Nishu was most definitely like a man in the kitchen. He had the waffle maker, but no clue how to make waffles. I told Nishu that in order to achieve his goal, he would need waffle mix. My friend looked at me baffled. “There’s a thing called waffle mix!?” Nishu inquired, as if this were the 1800s and I told him about this new invention called the lightbulb.

“Yes, they sell it at the store.” I gently reassured my friend.

So Nishu recommended me go off to the store. That way, he could get champagne for mimosas and waffle mix. Although I am not a cook now, I was growing up. I am substandard at best, but know my way around a kitchen in an emergency. Meanwhile, Jeanie was waiting for the bacon and eggs to be delivered to her house. Note, Jeanie doesn’t cook either but she felt she had to bring something. I suddenly realized something very scary. Out of the three of us, I was going to be wearing captain’s jacket on this mission. OH SHIT BIRD!

Oh shit bird was right. As we walked in the market, it occurred to me Nishu had no clue in hell as to make waffles. “Do we really need eggs and milk?” He asked, wide eyed and serious.

“Yeah. The waffles don’t make themselves.” I told my friend. Then I informed him as a woman I had superior knowledge and he had better bow down. Well Nishu had more money in the bank and paid for everything. So perhaps he won the important fight.

 “How will we know what to do?” Nishu asked me, worried about this undertaking.

“There is the recipe on the back.” I informed my friend. Nishu was such a man. He had no idea how to handle himself around a kitchen. Oh Hedda had her work cut out for her. However, Nishu did have the for thought to put fruit on the waffles and had previously invested in syrup. At least he had almost planned ahead.

When we got back to the ranch, Jeanie arrived with the much needed bacon and eggs. She had woken up late, about 1, and felt a little tired but was excited for brunch. We loaded up on protein aka brain food. Then we began our adventure. As we started, it was clear we were quite unprepared for battle. No, Nishu did not have a measuring cup.  “Would a regular cup do the trick or do I have to go to the hard wear store?” Nishu wondered.

“That is a good question. I don’t cook so I don’t know.” Jeanie said as she lit a cigarette. The explorers were at a standstill. Jeanie then decided to contribute to the cause. She took Nishu’s remote control, and found banned commercials on youtube. After that, she began making the mimosas, the liquid food group. Somewhere, Julia Child was hitting her head against a waffle iron in the afterlife. In all irony, Julia was a Smith woman and Jeanie from Mount Holyoke. Maybe subconsciously, Jeanie had planned this against her rival sister school without even knowing.

 “It’s pretty close. If it doesn’t add up, we can adjust the recipe.” I informed them, using my middle of the road NYU on the spotness. Yes, the would be Ivy I graduated from, where we have inflated egos, huge vocabularies, and pretend we know everything.

I began the mixing. It still frightened me I was the best cook out of the three of us. All was going well until we discovered we needed oil. Like someone who seldom cooks, Nishu did not have oil. So I told him butter could be used. Jeanie poured a mimosa as Nishu nuked the t-spoon of butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. We began mixing. “What do we need to stir with?” Nishu asked and discovered a knife. Was this man for real?!

“A fork would probably work.” Jeanie told him. She was right on this.

“Yeah, you want to wisk it. I made these as a kid.” I told him. As I began wisking the waffles, we all began to dive into the banned, inappropriate commercials more and more. Jeanie made sure we didn’t mention “The K Word.” You see, Jeanie hates that everytime we mention Keeley, we end up gossiping about her the entire time. It’s not our fault, Keeley is just a disaster that never stops and is entertaining from afar. Not to mention that when we do speak of her, she calls and we are stuck inviting her over. When she is in a whacky place, this could be a big mistake. Brunch was peaceful. This was a good call on Jeanie’s part.

When the time to put the waffles on the grittle came, there was another crisis. “Do you have any Pam?” I asked Nishu. Shitbird McDouble, this was the one thing I forgot!

“What’s that?” Nishu inquired.

“It keeps the waffles from sticking. You’re in a world of hurt without it.” Jeanie told him.

“No.” Nishu was surprised. “Waffles stick?” Jeanie and I both nodded. This was getting more and more scary by the moment.

“We can just use butter. Any anti-stick.” I said. This felt bizarre, surreal, and outright odd that out of the three of us, I was the one with the good ideas in this department. If there was a massive fire in the neighborhood, the three of us would somehow be responsible.

“It will just be high calorie and bad for you.” Jeanie said, mimosa in one hand, cigarette in another, and half eaten bacon on her plate. It was clear this whole group was on the longevity plan as it was, so why not go the extra mile and just buy the damn heart attack!?

 “But butter always tastes better.” Jeanie said as she finished off her cigarette and went for the bacon. Note: Julia Child would have used lard.

Nishu greased the waffle maker and in the mix went. “How will we know when it’s done?” Nishu asked, now panicked that he might not know what to do next.

“Good question…..Does the waffle maker come with directions?” Jeanie asked intelligently. While she had no idea what to do, she is always a problem solver. Got to give my friend that.
“Yeah.” Nishu said turning the box over. “It says something about a blue light. When the light turns blue, the waffles are done.”

“There you go.” Jeanie told him.

A few minutes passed. “Are the waffles done?” Nishu wondered, panicked that he would miss his goodies.

“Is the light blue?” I asked. Of course as a man in the kitchen Nishu had forgotten all about the directions and just wanted results.

“No.” Nishu said.

“Then the waffles are not done. Give it a minute or two.” I gently informed him. Sure I was wearing the captain’s jacket on this mission, but I had a feeling the plane was about to crash.

Then the blue light went off. Time to taste our waffles. We split it into sections so each of us could try. So far so good. Yum. Perhaps there was hope. With newfound confidence, we decided to make another waffle.

Nishu wanted to improve upon my original and wanted to make it browner. So he put more waffle mix in and off he went. A few minutes later, another waffle was produced. It was crispier and extremely delicious. Perhaps there was a future for the three of us in the kitchen. Maybe we could do this. So Nishu began to plot for the best waffle yet.

With his newfound zeal, Nishu prodded me to post on facebook that we were making waffles. That way Hedda could see what was happening several time zones away. Secretly, I hoped she could teleport and take over, but no such luck. Therefore, we had to do without.  

Nishu, Jeanie, and I were now becoming increasingly cocky in our waffle making. Self-assured, Nishu poured the final batter into the waffle maker. As we waited, in our minds we saw ourselves rivaling Waffle House, the destination of all drunken comedians coming from a road trip who needed to sober up for the ride home. We saw our waitresses looking like Playboy models instead of the welfare mothers our mental rival employed. The blue pilot light went off and stoked we were. However, our joy was short lived.

“Oh my God! It won’t open!!!!” Nishu exclaimed. The waffle maker was holding our creation hostage. “What happened!!!!”

We were panicked. Nishu tried to pry it open. This was a fail. Then he got a fork and a knife. Finally the waffle maker opened. There was our tragedy before us. Nishu tried to pry this pathetic creation out of the jaws of death it had succumbed to. However, the waffle would not come out. Alas, it met it’s doughy demise.

“What happened!” Nishu was now sad. Our adventure in waffle making ended in ruin.

“Did you add butter?” I asked Nishu, suspect that he had not.

“I had to add butter again?!” Nishu asked as his face drooped with utter despair.

“Yeah, you always need to add butter.” Jeanie told him empathetically. I nodded in unison. Nishu’s face continued to fall into a look of utter defeat, just like our culinary disaster in front of us.
“Hedda would have never let this happen if she were here!” Nishu shrieked. Jeanie and I laughed. Oh this waffle was a gonner.

Feet away, Nishu had immortalized in his refrigerator the pancakes he and Hedda had made. These were delicious apparently, and had Hedda’s awesome touch. Those pancakes were not murdered by three incompetent cooks. And now here in front of us was the waffle we killed. Oh what tangled webs we weave.

Of course I had remembered two years earlier, another life time ago, the cast of characters coming in and out. Keeley would have been yelling about some conspiracy theory. Sarit would have been lying to some random free dating site dude about a fake pregnancy so she could keep him. Jeanette’s hair would be messed from her latest one night stand with a man half her age. Jessi would have a crazy friend with her, one who escaped a harrowing adventure. Jeanie would be getting trashed out of her mind to tune out the chaotic drama live on center stage, no fourth wall. Alas, I would have the curse of being the record keeper. In these misadventures, there would be no cooking. There would be a lot of drinking and cigarette smoking perhaps, but no food unless we ordered out. Or maybe leftover junk Nishu had, but even that was suspect.

Either way, although it was a disaster, this adventure was one of growth. There was no drama live and in color unfolding in front of us. Two of our waffles had been successful, but the third died. He would forever be remembered for his bravery in the face of the inferno. So yes, this adventure had been more of a success than we realized. That is when the three of us decided to perhaps start a tradition, a brunch every other Sunday. We also plotted a celebration upon Hedda’s return. Note: I will elect her to cook, she will be much more successful than we were.

I suppose slowly but surely, the three of us are (somewhat) headed towards being real grownups. Yes, this story did end happily ever after. As for the poor waffle, his carcass is currently being cleaned and he will receive a proper agnostic burial. 


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