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There’s No Waffling Around with Uncle Frank’s Waffles

KSMU's Jess Balisle joins her dad, Steve Gray, in making his uncle Frank Galbraith’s waffles.

Galbraith was born in 1909 and was Gray’s mother’s older brother. When he passed away in the early 1980s, Gray was involved in dismantling the household. There, he found an old waffle iron. His cousin, Nancy Karoll, said he could have it.

Credit Jessica Balisle / KSMU
Frank Galbraith's waffle iron

“So, I brought the thing home and when I finally opened it up to use it, there was a recipe inside the waffle iron. Handwritten. It was very different than any I’ve ever seen because waffles, to me, are usually heavy. They’re made with buttermilk, or milk products, butter, things like that. And this recipe was very unusual to me because for the liquid, it uses club soda. And it ends up making a very airy, light waffle like I’ve never had before,” said Gray.

As Gray’s daughter, I thought this was the only way waffles were for the longest time. It was the only kind we made when I was a kid. I have a lot of memories of my parents making them in that old waffle iron on Saturday mornings while listening to Michael Feldman on Whad’Ya Know and Car Talk.

Four Simple Ingredients

The recipe for Uncle Frank’s waffles is very simple.

2 cups Bisquick
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
1 bottle (10 oz) club soda

Gray makes his own Bisquick, from a recipce from Hints From Heloise that she had in the newspaper. (Recipe below)

The original handwritten recipe has been lost to time, but it didn’t have any instructions on how to mix the ingredients. Gray just dumps everything in together all at once and mixes it a little. The batter will be lumpy.

When the light goes out on the waffle iron, it’s time to put the batter in.

Globe Trotting Waffles (maybe)

Galbraith spent much of his life living abroad, working for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Roads. His first assignment was working on the Alaskan-Canadian Highway during the early part of World War II. After the war was over, he worked in the Philippines building roads. In the 1950s, he built roads in Iran.

”He always said that Beirut was the most beautiful city in the world. But that has changed a great deal now. Just a very interesting life. You don’t have the chance to deal with people who have been all over the world very often and that was always interesting to me growing up,” said Gray.

While Uncle Frank died before I was born, I have my own memories of him. During his time in Iran, the shah would occasionally have a kind of garage sale to get rid of some of the extra gifts that he didn’t want or didn’t use. Uncle Frank picked up the most beautiful set of glasses from Austria at one of these sales. They are now with Dad’s sister. When I was little, I remember admiring the green, pink, blue, amber, and red glass lined with gold. I will never forget the first time Aunt Norma thought I was grown up enough to actually use one. Ok, back to waffles.

The light has gone out again on the old General Electric iron and the waffles are ready. Our breakfast crew,

Credit Jessica Balisle / KSMU
The perfect waffles, ready for eating.

Emily Gray and Todd Balisle, find them to be delicious.

These waffles provide the perfect base for whatever toppings you want. I like simple butter and maple syrup – the real stuff, but maybe you want to go full-on Leslie Knope with an entire can of whipped cream. Either way, it’s up to you how to dress up these easy, delicious waffles from Frank Galbraith.

Heloise’s Bisquick Recipe

Mix together:
8 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
8 teaspoons sugar (optional)

Using a pastry blender, cut in 1 cup shortening to the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal. It can be stored in a well-sealed container in the cupboard, or keep it fresh longer in the refrigerator.