One of the last appliances left in my kitchen with a non-stick surface was our waffle iron. A few years back I ditched my old, worn and scratched teflon pans and bought some good ol’ fashion cast iron skillets. I tossed my aluminum rice cooker and I simply love my stainless steel wok. So why keep using a non-stick waffle iron when making my whole grain and otherwise healthy waffles for my family on the weekend?
But finding a cast iron electric waffle maker was not as easy as I had hoped. Even the vintage waffle makers I found were all cast aluminium and though the jury may be out on the safety of aluminium cookware, in my house we practice prudent avoidance so I kept my eyes out for the perfect cast iron solution to my waffle woes.
Sure Equipex Sodir makes a restaurant quality electric waffle iron but at over $700 it seemed more than a bit extravagent for a sit down family dinner … or breakfast as it were. Soon it became clear that I had to modify my requirements if I was to find any workable solution. So I tossed out the “electric” in my search string and found a line of “camping gear” that seemed closer to what I had in mind.
I recall making griddle pies when I went out with my parenting group friends back in the early 1990’s. And today’s cast iron campfire waffle maker reminded me of those wonderful cellular memories. The only problem was that no one in the US is making cast iron campfire waffle irons. There is one or two brands from China … but if I were to follow prudent avoidance well that’s another blog at best.
So back to my search and a happy ending that I just had to share with my foodie friends. Introducing the Griswold American Waffle Iron! Ok, introductions may well be a bit late on the mark since Griswold Cast iron cookware was made in the US from 1865-1950. But the great thing about cast iron is that is stands the test of time. These easy to be found on ebay collectibles are perfect for the antique buff as well as the home cook.
If you keep your eye out you can find a good quality home use waffle iron for under $40. But watch for the shipping costs. These are heavy items, and some sellers seem to charge an exorbitant price to ship. Another thing to keep in mind is how the item may have been cleaned. I’m not a fan of soaking my cast iron in “oven cleaner”. Sand blasting seems safe enough. But honestly a good scrub brush and hot water is all I have ever needed.
After much research, a few nail biting last minute ebay bids and some much needed TLC, I am now the proud owner of TWO Griswold cast iron waffle makers. One is a smaller #7/8 that has an 1880 patent stamp on the back and the other is an 8 inch standard model dating just at the turn of the 20th century. To be honest, I also did buy one of those “Rome” cast irons made in China for comparision purposes. But even after a good seasoning, I must say that cooking on my 1880 vintage irons are still my hands on favorite.
Each time I make waffles on my 1880 gridiron I get to think about all the people and the hands that this waffle maker passed through. It gives me a sense of why my husband collects coins. And I am honored to be in the line of those who have come before me and those who will use this pan after I am gone.
The next time I make waffles, I promise to write down the ingredients and post my special whole grain recipe. Mmmm. Don’t these look good?