Mahogany Handles


This isn’t a recipe. No, it’s the story of a very expensive stick, and how it brought a family heirloom back to life. 

A while back, maybe a year, my mother passed on a cast iron waffle maker to me. I loved it. The problem was that although all the metal pieces were there, and in excellent condition, the wooden handles had been lost to time. I parked the waffle iron on a shelf, intending to sort it out. Time passed. 

My grandmother remembers my great-grandmother making waffles with this when she was a girl. I put stuff on top of it, looked at it on occasion, and thought ‘I need to do something with that. I really want to use it.’ Recently, the First Reader exercised his handy-man skills, and finished enlarging my cast iron display wall. Now, I could finally hang most of my handled cast iron pans. In the process of clearing the shelf where my pans had been stacked, I uncovered the waffle iron. I looked at it, sad. 

Then, I turned to the First Reader a week later and asked: how hard would it be to make handles? 

I showed him the waffle iron, we measured the holes where the handles had been. He disappeared, and a little while later came to say ‘let’s go out.’ 

Shortly afterward, he was in woodoworking heaven. We’d trekked to the nearest wood-crafting shop for a specific 5/8″ hardwood dowel. While we were there, I found some paduak wood and was enraptured to find it was as lovely in person as I’d imagined for the Hatrack. But the reason we had come, and what came home with us, was a single mahogany dowel. 

I took the Little Man and ran the grocery-shopping gauntlet. When I came home, a smiling man led me to the kitchen, and on the stove was my waffle iron! The very same one handed down from mother to daughter in my family for generations. 

“We should have chicken and waffles!” 

So we did. 

And it was very good. 

My great-grandma’s waffle iron with serviceable handles.
Will it waffle? With plenty of grease, yes it will! Took a few tries to get the pan heating per side and batter ratio to fill right.
Detail of the top with manufacturer.
Chicken and waffles. So much love.


17 responses to “Mahogany Handles”

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard Avatar
    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Now I hungry! 😀

    1. It was an easy, tasty meal. I did the chicken in the air fryer – it was premade frozen. The kids approved!

  2. Heart-shaped waffles, for the ones you love. SUPER!

  3. Looks like it could use some set screws. And it would be worthwhile to mount a search for JUST the right thing in fit and finish. Sanford should know what I mean.

    1. He does. We used it without tonight, as he hasn’t found them yet. He also wanted to be sure of the fit (when the Pan is hot it expands and things get looser). So now he has a better idea of the permanent solution. As well as putting a curved bit at the end (I’m sure there’s a technical term!) rather that a flat cut.

  4. And the waffles are heart-shaped! Larry Corriea will be jealous.

  5. The ends would be radiused.

    1. Thank you! I knew there had to be a word.

  6. I found a giant syringe makes the perfect tool for getting the right amount of batter in. And an infrared thermometer can tell you when the iron is ready. That would be a perfect high-tech meets antique combination.

    1. I like it. I have the thermometer, I’ll have to look for the syringe. I did figure out it needed about a half cup of batter to fill properly.

  7. Kathleen Avatar

    I love seeing that back in use! I used it once, without handles, on the wood stove at our last house. Just to say I’d used it. Gluten-free waffles are a little trickier, though.

    1. Kathleen Avatar

      Oh, and the young lady in my avatar picture here is Cedar’s great-grandma who used to own that waffle iron. She was quite a lady, and is still missed.

      1. Grandma Ella was amazing. Mom, do you know if the waffle iron started with her, or…? The company that made this was only in operation from 1893-1913.

        1. Kathleen Avatar

          It very likely belonged to one of your great-great grandma’s first. Grandma La Vaughn might know; I’ve never asked her. Wish I’d asked Grandma Ella while she was still alive.

  8. John in Philly Avatar
    John in Philly

    And just like that, we knew we were making waffles for breakfast today!

    I couldn’t quite get the music pun with Handel’s Chorus to work.

    There is a special pleasure in using the same tools that my parents used.

    1. There is. I have several kitchen heirlooms and love that I get to carry on the traditions.

  9. That is so pretty!