As I mentioned in my Part 1 Post about Idora Park, during my research I came across reference to the fact that Idora Park was well known for their “Crispy Sour Milk Waffles”. As you may be able to tell by now, I am a breakfast fan, and I am never one to turn down its sweet offerings like french toast, pancakes and waffles. So my curiosity was peaked.
The question became, “How do I track down this well known recipe from a century ago?”. All my Google searches left me at dead ends. I continued my research by trying to learn how I might be able to find it through the Tribune archives, fearing that a hard wooden chair in front of a microfilm machine was in my future. I started looking through the staff contact information on the Tribune website, and came across a name for the Tribune’s head librarian. I thought this seemed like the title of someone who might at the very least know what direction to point me in. I shot her an email and continued about my day. A few hours later I had a note back from her. She informed me that all the Tribune archives were currently being scanned and put online through newspapers.com where you can search for things for a fee (good to know). And then came the words, “But I was curious…”
She attached scans of 2 versions of “sour milk waffle” recipes that were found in the Tribune in 1927 and 1972. The 1972 listing was a vague recollection of the recipe from Sue Conrad, who ran the waffle stand at the park.
I was thrilled to have been so lucky and thanked the librarian, Veronica, profusely. She informed me that waffles were her favorite food and that she could no longer enjoy them because of a wheat allergy. It looks like her misfortune was my good luck in this case.
I decided to give the above recipe a whirl.
First I separated 2 eggs, setting the whites aside to be whipped later. I mixed the egg yolks and a pint of sour cream together.
In a separate bowl, I sifted together 2 cups of all purpose flour, a tablespoon of cornmeal, and a half teaspoon of salt.
The recipe in the Tribune called for dissolving 1 teaspoon of baking soda in “a bit of sweetened milk”. I put a splash of half and half in a bowl with a spoonful of sugar and the teaspoon of baking soda. If I were to do this again, I would have used more milk or half and half. My final batter was REALLY thick, so I would have increased this to maybe 1/2 cup or so.
I mixed the sour cream/egg yolk mixture & dissolved baking soda in with the flour mixture. I then beat my 2 egg whites and folded them in to create the final batter.
Again, it was very thick. I wound up adding a bit more milk to thin it out. I heated up my waffle iron, brushed it with melted butter, and cooked them up. I got about 4 waffles out of the recipe.
I tried mine with just a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
The verdict: they were quite good, although dense from the thickness of the batter. I can only imagine they were even more tasty after a few whirls on the roller coaster.
Veronica had also given me a recipe from the 1927 Tribune for “Sour Milk Waffles”, which I am including below. I didn’t try this one since it didn’t seem to be connected to Idora Park, but it seems to be similar to other buttermilk recipes we use today. Maybe I will try these next weekend :o)
My journey to Idora Park through images, stories, recipes and more has been a fun way to enjoy Oakland History and I look forward to more trips down memory lane soon. Hope you will join me :o)
Have a great weekend everyone!
Recipe and images of recipes from The Oakland Tribune are “Copyright of Bay Area News Group”
I would like to thank Veronica Martinez of the Oakland Tribune for her help!
All other photos are by Adrienne Schell.