Jan. 15th, 2016

I'm currently on a diet.

Except it's not really a diet, it's more realizing I'm almost 36 and I need to start eating like an adult. A dietary retraining, if you will. One problem is I'm not an adventurous eater, and I also work at home - you might think, well, then there's plenty of time to cook a lovely dinner isn't there? But at the end of the day I just want to LEAVE the house. Cabin fever sets in fast. Also my granny is generally in charge of cooking dinner, and I've had a hard time convincing her there's more to vegetables than broccoli and potatoes, and she seems convinced, after telling her I'd prefer to be vegetarian, that chickens and turkeys are simply fast-moving vegetables.

It is very similar to this:

Which brings me to waffles. They fall under the heading of "foods I don't like much," which also includes pancakes and muffins and other dense, bready things. I feel sort of queasy if I eat only bread for breakfast, especially bread with fat and sugar on top. However, when I was about 11, my parents got a waffle/sandwich maker (similar to this but not so fancy). My mom had just graduated college and was working the night shift; my dad was finishing up his MBA and working full time as well. My brother and I were old enough to cook for ourselves, and gadgets like this were mind-blowing. A year or two later my grandparents gave my parents an anniversary gift of a microwave, but that's a whole other set of stories... none of them very interesting, we'd simply never had a microwave before, and it was like magic.

As stated, our waffle/sandwich maker wasn't near as fancy as the one linked to; the sandwich side was simply flat, didn't cut things into neat triangles, and while we occasionally made waffles, this was mostly used for grilled cheese sandwiches. Of all sorts. Grilled cheese and tuna, grilled cheese and avocado, grilled cheese and lunch meat, most of which was eaten with tomato soup.

Because you cannot - CANNOT - beat grilled cheese and tomato soup. And, in my opinion, you have to go old school for this - the sodium and preservative filled canned tomato soup and cheap white bread are the best. You may try to argue this fact, but like any fanatic, I won't hear it. Butter the bread to a medium thickness, and stick it in that sandwich maker until it's perfectly brown, crisp on the outside, gooey inside, then take that sandwich and dip it right into the tomato soup. Perhaps, if you're feeling especially daring, shred some cheese into the tomato soup so you get swirls of melted cheese when you spoon up whatever hasn't been dipped by the sandwich. I'm drooling now.

How does this connect to waffles, you ask? A few years back I accidentally grilled my sandwich a little too toasty and didn't want crumbs all over so, without thinking, I did the most genius thing I've ever done - I cut it into little cubes like croutons and dropped them into my tomato soup. Then in every bite of tomato soup I had this perfect cheesy crouton thing, and it was divine. I will repeat: Divine.

With the advent of Pinterest, I became aware of other waffle recipes and indeed was tempted to buy another waffle/sandwich maker simply to try out things like brownie waffles. Because I am highly interested in chocolate in all its various forms. Then my second genius moment happened: Waffle grilled cheese. Not with the waffle mix, oh no... But I am itching to see if one can make a grilled cheese in the waffle side which would then be already cut up into perfect little cheesy crouton bites for my tomato soup. Or at least require minimal handling to do so. I dream of opening up the waffle-maker and simply turning it over into a vat of tomato soup and watching the little squares of yum drop in. I don't know if it will work, so if you have a waffle-maker and want to try it out, please let me know.

This is a serious request - please, please let me know. Describe it in detail. Is there a proper crisp to gooey ratio? Does the waffle cutter indeed make perfect croutons or do you still have to slice it up? Does it make a huge mess or is it as easy as I hope? You may be thinking, well, go out and get a waffle-maker and try it yourself, but that's the problem: as it turns out, I feel immensely better when I don't eat dairy products. I'll spare you the details (and at least 1 person on my friends list is heaving a sigh of relief, as I often talk about my bowels and related issues), but.... dairy is not for me. No heavy cream in my coffee, no sour cream on my potatoes. No pizza. No more grilled cheese sandwiches, especially not cut up and dropped into tomato soup to be eaten like bits of heaven fell from the sky. It is sad, but I need to be an adult about it. I'm almost 36 after all, in no way did I spend multiple evenings moping about the fact dairy isn't right for me (yes I did).

So, try it. Have some grilled cheese sandwich croutons for me. Pour out a sip of your tomato soup for my digestive system. I'm off to go pick all the fast-moving vegetables out of the actual vegetables - which basically means I gotta pick the leftover chicken out of the potatoes and go eat what passes for a Responsible Adult Lunch around here.

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