Photoplay Cookbook: Betty Bronson’s “Waffles”

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:


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?

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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  1. geelw

    I’m wary of foods with quotation marks in their titles, so it seems my raised eyebrow was justified. I bet those “Waffles” would make good replacement shoe soles instead of food. That or you can probably store them in a pocket or purse for a spell as emergency rations.

    They probably taste better after a few weeks of hanging out, but I’d put them in a zip-top bag with maybe some maple syrup inside so that rubbery sponge soaks up a more appropriate flavor (and not that of lint, makeup and pocket change)… 😀

    1. Movies, Silently

      Fortunately, I had enough tasters on hand to gnaw their way through the (mercifully small) batch. However, you are correct, they would make a great emergency food. Kind of a waffly hardtack, they would double as building material 🙂

      1. geelw

        Hmmm, so one for three (so far), huh? I say if you meet someone you don’t like or want to get rid of guests overstaying their welcome, make them that Crawford banana surprise and serve it on a Bronson “waffle” with a big dollop of cottage cheese. That person will never grace your doorstep ever again. Or they’ll think that was a Charles Bronson “waffle” recipe they just ate. Tough and punch to the gut, grrrrr!

        Oh, and Bisquick is terrifically handy but quite awful. I used to use it many years ago quite a lot for yes, quick baking and cooking projects (emergency pizza crusts and pancakes and such). But one day i sat down and read the ingredients and I think I almost keeled over on the spot. I’d rather spend the extra time to whip something up from scratch because at least I know what’s going in to it…

      2. Movies, Silently

        Yes, I think it would be a great way to get rid of unwelcome houseguests 😉

        Bisquick always confuses me because the dry ingredients are actually the easiest part of any recipe. Agreed, the strange additives that the Elfin mad scientists put in mixes can be a bit scary.

  2. Michael Kuzmanovski

    My first thought, Fritzi put the word “waffles” in quotation marks, this won’t end well.

    It didn’t.

    These “waffles” would be good for the cavalry. The waffles will keep well on those long desert campaigns and they can used to reshoe the horses.

    I don’t eat waffles often, but I’ve had bad pancakes before. The chief problem being their toughness.

    1. Movies, Silently

      I agree, this recipe has military application. 😉

      It’s a pretty bad thing when you are eating home-cooked waffles and wishing for Eggo.

    1. Movies, Silently

      Curses! You’re right. Here’s me thinking that I could get away without using that essential ingredient.

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