It began in 1981 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Balloons, kazoos, miniature stick flags, and 3-cornered newspaper hats were part of the fun as twelve members of Frank and Bessie’s family marched around two blocks for Grandpa’s Big 4th of July Parade. Cars would honk and cheer, and some neighborhood children would come join them as Bessie always had extra flags on hand.
Fast forward to July 4, 2014 and this parade of Grandpa’s really has become BIG with 84 members of their multi-generational family strutting around in patriotic style. It really is so charming, so red-white-and-bluish, so reminiscent of small town America . Too bad you don’t live in my neighborhood.
The parade is Grandpa’s but the day is really Bessie’s favorite of the year. So after the parade there’s more fun to be had for all the family. Everyone lines up for Patriotic (red, white and blue) Goodnight Waffles. These oh-so-delicious, light waffles are called goodnight waffles because you have to make them the night before or at least 8 hours before cooking. It’s so worth the extra time and planning! (If you need more waffles than one batch, you’ll have to set each batch out in a different bowl. Bessie’s kitchen on the night of July 3rd has bowls everywhere!)
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water (105 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 ounce active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons
- 2 cups whole milk warmed to 105 degrees
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- The night before or at least 8 hours before cooking, combine warm water, sugar, and yeast.
- Let stand 10 minutes until foamy.
- Stir in the warm milk, melted butter and salt. Beat in flour until smooth.
- Wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight on the counter, NOT in the fridge.
- Next morning when ready to bake, heat the waffle iron.
- While the waffle iron is heating up, stir in the eggs, vanilla, and baking soda to the overnight bowl of batter.
- Cook according to directions on waffle iron.
- For Patriotic Waffles (red, white, and blue) top with sliced strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. They are also delicious with maple syrup, honey butter, jam, and everything else that you enjoy on waffles.
- If you need lots of waffles for a big crowd, make each batch in a separate bowl.
I think what I love most about seeing the streamers wrapped around bikes and strollers and the sound of kazoos buzzing out “Yankee Doodle” and the smell of Bessie’s waffles down the street is just the sense of love that flavors the whole gathering. Love of country. Love of family. Love of waffles… (but seriously, you’ve got to try these waffles!).
These are the things that life is made of.