This week, Ella celebrated her birthday and requested waffles for breakfast. Usually, I make waffles from my Nana’s recipe, which involves putting a few simple ingredients in a blender. But I wanted Ella’s birthday waffles to be extra special. So the night before, I Googled “best waffle recipe ever” and spent well over an hour carefully examining ingredients and reviews, attempting to find a recipe fit for a birthday celebration.

Bright and early the next morning, I went into the kitchen with the recipe I had selected. It was a complicated recipe – it required sifted flour, a combination of softened butter and oil, separated eggs and beaten egg whites that were carefully folded into the batter. I followed the recipe perfectly –separating, whipping, sifting, folding. The recipe said to let the batter rest for 15 minutes. It looked creamy and delicious. 

The waffle maker chimed, letting me know it was ready to make Ella’s perfect birthday waffle. It chimed again as the delicious smell filled the air, letting me know the waffle was ready. I put the golden waffle on a plate and sprinkled it with powdered sugar. I eagerly awaited my daughter’s first bite.

Ella took a bite and exclaimed, “I’m sorry, Mom, but this waffle is not good. Did you do something different?”

“Yes! Yes I did!” I said, thinking of the sifting and separating and resting. Ella looked at me, confused. “Did you use a different recipe? I like Nana’s the best.”

I put the time-consuming batter down the drain. Then I took out my worn family recipe book and blender and made Ella the perfect birthday waffle. 

I wonder why we sometimes feel a need to improve upon what works – doing things that don’t need to be done. We think something better must be out there when perfection is what we had all along.

Nana’s (Perfect) Waffles
Place the following in a blender:
• 2 eggs
• 1 3/4 cup milk
• 1/2 cup oil
• 2 cups flour
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt


Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.