During my birthday week, I was invited out by some friends to celebrate. They being Turkish, I thought that I had misunderstood them when I heard them say waffle. After all, we were going out at 7 in the evening and in the West, it is not at all usual to equate 7 pm. with a breakfast/brunch item.
Nonetheless, I was grateful that they were eager to celebrate my birthday with me and so was not too perturbed by a choice on a menu, whatever it could be.
After a five minute walk, we arrived to the intended destination, which was, again, to my surprise, an actual waffle house.
As you guessed it, the only thing on the menu that was not a waffle, was beverages.
I was cornered with no chance of escape.
You see I wouldn’t have cared if my birthday dinner were a waffle, if it weren’t for that fact, that it was probably the 100th sweet pastry that I had during my birthday week: I had been inundated with birthday cakes and surprise parties all week long.
So, with a pretty dense history of diabetes in my family, I was cognizant of the dangers of having so much sugar in my diet, even if it were just for one week. At any given time, when faced with a sugary menu choice, I always stay away from it. Far from it.
However, in this case, I could not make any excuses; to do so would be incredibly rude and insensitive to my friends who had planned and prepared in my honour . Therefore, a show of gratitude for their efforts, i.e. eating not one but several waffles, could be considered a decent excuse for jeopardising my dietary code.
Ordering a waffle
Let’s just say, this was the most interesting and distressing part of the evening.
As I said, waffles were the only menu choice.
So, what made the process of ordering the waffle convoluted was deciding the toppings and the medley of toppings in keeping with one’s tastes.
Furthermore, I think it was the number of toppings from which to choose that made it even more difficult.
You had five choices, of syrups, sprinkles, ice cream flavours, nuts, marshmallows and the list went on.
To ensure that there were no mess ups in our party’s order, the waiter came with about ten forms listing the topping choices and ten pencils.
We would have to individually look at the form, tick the boxes of the flavour and sign our name.
It was all written in Turkish so I ticked the flavours that were obvious and known to me- Chocolate syrup and sprinkles and signed my name.
This of course took all but 30 seconds.
The rest of the party, heads down, were all in deep thought ticking and then erasing as they made their way further down the list.
After about five minutes of watching them, deliberate over waffle toppings one of my friends noticed that I was just staring at her doing nothing with my form.
She grabbed it from me, looked at it, looked back at me with a “Bruh, you fuh real?” set of eyebrows.
I shrugged “What?” What did I do?
“Ojam, you haven’t chosen anything!
“Ok Ojam, I will do it for you”
Before I could say no, no, no, she ticked about 20 more boxes and immediately called the waiter giving the form to him and issuing instructions all in Turkish.
I was mortified. Twenty boxes of waffle toppings.
I smiled graciously at her, she smiled back, trying to find the words to say- You will thank me later.
I’m not sure of that, I thought to myself quite amused at the situation that I had gotten myself into.
I quickly forgot about the waffle though, engaging with my friends in as much English conversation as possible.
They were happy to learn about my experiences in Turkey so far and about my life back home as I was just as interested to learn more about their lives too. With the constant exchange in dialogue, punctuated ever so often with cell phone translation apps, it had not seemed like much time had gone when our orders started coming one by one.
Waffle Time and Birthday Girl
Sitting, I could not see the contents of my plate when the waiter brought it to our table. Placing it before me, I think that I was too busy talking to someone to have realised the amazing- no spectacular presentation of my waffle with 20 toppings.
Looking down, I immediately gasped and with my mouth still open, looked at my friend who had filled out my form.
She nodded accepting my gratitude with a “I won’t ever put you wrong” smile.
It was the most beautiful dessert that I had ever and I dare say will ever see in my life.
Written in bright syrupy lights, my name adorned the top of the plate. I did question why I had to sign my name on the form, but now I clearly understood why.
Seeing this decadent beauty of a dessert, anxieties about my health did go through my mind, but it also made me want to enjoy it to its fullest knowing that it would be a while before I had this again.
To be honest with you, I almost did not want to touch it. Who would?
The Last Supper
I was grateful to wait the five minutes it took for everyone’s order to arrive, taking as many photos as possible.
Sitting in the midst of everyone, I could tell that their desserts were also quite resplendent; however being the birthday girl you can guess that mine was quite divine.
Indicating that we could all start devouring, I cut my first bite with my knife and fork anticipating a sugar rush out of this world.
It was not as sweet as I had expected, which was a good thing.
Because I had indicated only bitter chocolate, that topping canceled out much of the ice cream’s and banana’s sweetness.
I thought that with 20 toppings that it would have been too thick with sugar flavours, but my trusted friend did an incredible job of choosing the toppings that would create a very sophisticated medley of flavours not synonymous with cotton candy.
Also, the restaurant did a good job of balancing all 20 flavours with the proportions that they allocated for each. Some toppings had more of a presence on the plate than others.
They knew what they were doing.
For breakfast… really?
As we ate our dinner/dessert, I admitted to my party that I was somewhat skeptical about having waffles so late in the day.
They were equally confused at my confession as I was by their choice in waffles.
I explained that in the West, waffles were typically eaten for breakfast or brunch- which was usually a Sunday brunch. And of course, even though we had waffle cones for ice cream, it was still not quite the same as a menu option listed under ‘Dinner’.
“Yeah, do you eat it for breakfast?” I asked.
“No, not really.”
Responded one friend to my explanation and question. The others nodded in agreement.
Waffles in Turkey were an any time of day meal choice.
You could easily eat a waffle at 8 am as you could at 11 pm.
Drinking Turkish tea- with no sugar, after dinner, we had been talking for a few minutes, when my friends asked if I wanted another one. I of course declined giving the excuse of the time. By this time about two hours had elapsed and I was sure that everyone wanted to head home. As you know that was not the real excuse. Even though not ridiculously sweet it was soooo decadent. Waffle with whip cream and sprinkles and ice cream and coconut shavings and chocolate chips- just to name a few of the 20 toppings was a full month of sinful decadence for me in one evening.
Making my way home by foot after saying all of my farewells, I was amused to have found out yet another Turkish anomaly, of which I made a mental note, promising to tell my sister and mother back home about the night that I nearly committed suicide by waffle.