Photoplay Cookbook: Betty Bronson’s “Waffles”

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Welcome back! I am cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook (recipes of the stars!) and you are invited to tag along. (I have listed all the recipes I have tested on this dedicated page. Check back often.) This time, we are going to be trying a recipe from Betty Bronson, best remembered today as the first onscreen Peter Pan.

Bronson in Pan mode.
Bronson in Pan mode.

I have to admit that I am somewhat immune to Miss Bronson’s appeal. I don’t dislike her, I just don’t see what all the fuss was about.

Miss Bronson’s recipe is for waffles. I am a huge fan of quick breads and general breakfast food. In fact, pancakes were the very first “real” cooking that I ever did. (As opposed to making salads and other safe activities.) I think I was maybe five or six. Waffles quickly followed, as did biscuits. Not a fan of Bisquick. I just don’t think it saves all that much time.

Here is Miss Bronson’s recipe:

Betty-Bronson-Waffles

I usually make a buttermilk vanilla recipe that is killer. The main differences between Bronson’s waffles and the waffles I am used to are the low amount of butter (only one tablespoon) and separating the eggs before adding them to the batter.

I have to say that this recipe was a huge disappointment. The texture and the flavor left much to be desired. Here are pictures. (Please excuse the paper plates, when one is getting over a flu, one does not enjoy dish washing.)

Misshapen edges
Misshapen edges
Weird, shiny texture
Weird, shiny texture
Will syrup help?
Will syrup help?
Nope.
Nope.

Here is the taste test video:

My rating: 1 out of 5. How can you ruin waffles? Betty Bronson found a way!

My first clue that something was wrong was the texture. Waffle batter is usually pretty loose but this batch had the texture of Silly Putty. It also did not spread on the iron, making the waffles a little misshapen.

The cooked waffles looked okay but were curiously… rigid and shiny. Rubbery texture and the flavor was just so-so.

I knew something had gone very wrong when one of my tasters got a steak knife to cut his waffles. Another helpfully said that they weren’t “that bad.” I have to admit, these waffles can come in handy for repairing flat tires but they are not much fun at the breakfast table.

While this recipe is not disgusting like the infamous banana salad, I am giving it only one star because it represents the first time in my life that my waffles were not gobbled down at the breakfast table. That’s pretty incredible since, as mentioned before, I have been making these things since my Raggedy Ann days.

Can it be improved? In retrospect, the lack of butter is really what kills this recipe. Fluffy, tender waffles are the result of lots and lots of fat. My preferred recipes all call for a half-cup or more. A little bit of sugar would have also helped browning and flavor. But why bother with this recipe when there are dozens of other, better recipes?

Eat this instead: Classic Buttermilk Waffles. Lots of butter, plus vanilla. Yum!

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