waffles with fig compote and orange-honey crème fraîche

waffles with fig compote and orange-honey crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog
As soon as you announce to the world you are going to have a child, the world responds with its wisdom. It’s a lengthy monologue, a blast of ice cold wind in your sweet, glowing face; sentence after sentence of contradictions insisting that you heed its warnings. Vaccinate! Don’t vaccinate! Breastfeed! Formula! Co-sleep! Never! Cloth Diapers! Disposables! Let them cry to sleep! Don’t let them cry to sleep! Snacks! No snacks! Television! No television! (And on and on and on and on…)

But while the world may know about its own children, it doesn’t understand mine; the height and depth of these two tiny beings that reside with me. It may even have an arsenal of books with facts and statistics, but still it never took any time to distinguish my daughter’s hurt cry from her tired, or figure out that when she formed her mouth to look like a tiny bird beak there was exactly 49 seconds to feed her or she would rage. The world never saw my son successfully wiggle his way out of swaddled blankets each and every time I attempted to wrap him tightly, or saw him cry himself to sleep though I held him so close. The world didn’t watch like I have, instead it took every opportunity to shout answers while I whispered questions that had none. All I could do was wake each morning and gather: every laugh, every cry, every breath; hoping that by doing so I could somehow make sense of things. waffles with fig compote and orange-honey crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog
waffles with fig compote and orange-honey crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog
waffles with fig compote and orange-honey crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog
waffles with fig compote and orange-honey crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog
waffles with fig compote and orange-honey crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blogAnd the good news is, I can. Days have passed, even years, and all those collected moments have started to fit together, slowly connect. I know so well why my son has growled at older kids in the park, why my daughter freaks out every time she puts on socks, or why she is terrified when someone is sick. I know why they will both laugh until they cry at the word ‘goobertubes’ and why three chocolate chips can heal all wounds. They are little things, responses that make no sense to an outside observer; they are moments easily judged by someone passing by. But I know, I know so well, how we got there.

So hey, sweet world, I see your What To Expect and raise you my handwritten journals, my stack of photographs, my folder of Mother’s Day cards and unicorn-princess drawings. I’m confident, terribly confident, I’ve finally got this hand.
It’s a virtual shower for The Faux Martha! And these are her most amazing waffles, all jazzed up just in time for cool fall mornings. So much love to you, Melissa! My only advice is to trust yourself, and watch quietly, carefully. And, for more waffle-shower love, check out these posts:

Whole Wheat Chive Waffle with Poached Egg from Sonja and Alex of A Couple Cooks
Almond Chia Seed Waffles from Nicole of Eat this Poem
Banana Nut Waffles from Kathryne of Cookie and Kate
Yeasted Waffles with Berries and Cocoa Sugar from Kasey of Turntable Kitchen
Vanilla Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle Ice Cream Sammies from Laura of The First Mess
Whole Grain Vegan Flax Waffles from Jeanine of Love and Lemons
Spelt Waffles with Cinnamon Peaches from Naturally Ella

waffles with fig compote and orange-honey crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog

Waffles with Fig Compote and Orange-Honey Crème Fraîche

The whole-wheat waffle recipe is found here, on Melissa’s site. It’s really the only waffle recipe I use; my kids beg for it regularly.

The whipped orange-honey crème fraîche is adapted from Local Milk’s lavender crème fraîche. My changes are only omitting the lavender and adding 1 teaspoon orange zest to the base before whipping.

Fig Compote
from Good To The Grain, by Kim Boyce
(makes about 1 cup)

1/2 pound fresh, black mission figs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
good pinch of kosher salt

Preheat your broiler. Cut the stems off each fig, then slice them into quarters.

Add the butter, brown sugar, and honey to a cast-iron pan (or a broiler safe pan). Cook for about 1 minute over high heat, stirring frequently, until syrup begins to bubble. Add the figs and stir them, coating them with the syrup.

Place your pan under broiler to caramelize the figs. Broil for about 5 minutes, swirling the pan a few times to keep the sugar from burning (make sure to use an oven mitt).  The figs are done when the syrup is thickened slightly and amber in color, and the edges of the figs are dark and glossy. Remove the pan and serve figs while they’re still warm.
waffles with fig compote and orange-honey crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog

  • Reply
    Hannah @ Taste Neapolitan
    Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I would like to print your words and give them to every new mother I may meet. I am not a mother myself, but I have six siblings and understand every word you said to be true. Thank you for sharing.
    PS. This recipe looks divine.

  • Reply
    Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 11:00 am

    what waffle press do you use?

    • Reply
      Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      I’m not sure the brand – it’s terribly old, my mother-in-law gave it to me; I think it was her grandmothers.

  • Reply
    Katie Brigstock
    Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 6:37 am

    I have just come across your blog and absolutely love it:) such gorgeous photos xxx

    • Reply
      Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      Thank you so much Katie! 🙂

  • Reply
    Friday, September 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    These waffles looks so damn delicious! SO happy to see this post as I have TONS of figs growing in my garden and youve just given me another use for them, thank you!
    Love the virtual baby shower too, its too cute.

  • Reply
    phi @PrincessTofu
    Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    You know, if only my mom made me so much waffles… your children are so lucky. As a child who grew up without a mother, I can understand that no matter what, your presence is the single most important thing. One day, they will read this and it will feel just like your love.


  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    beautifully written. it’s amazing how motherhood can create such an unspoken bond between mothers and children. I can read every look my children give, I can hear their thoughts just in the tone of their voice and I always decipher their mood based on their actions. motherhood truly is a gift that I gladly embrace.

    lovely post.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 12:43 am

    So beautifully expressed. I have wondered this, what does it feel like to be on the receiving end of so much unsolicited advice? (Specific to motherhood.) And you answered that question with such grace and eloquence.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    This is a perfect, wonderful post, and I’m sad to be reading it this late, because I could have used it’s beauty sooner. THIS is the reason why I come here again and again. What a lovely tribute to a soon-to-be mother and a gorgeous recipe to represent it.

  • Reply
    Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I’m going to echo many ladies who have written before me. But it must be said. Beautiful, true, and wise words. Describing how many of us feel, showing that it can and will be different that what the world yells and screams at us. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    This looks absolutely scrumptious! Your photos are lovely!

  • Reply
    Friday, September 6, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Louis CK has this amazing bit where he talks about parents who make a point of (repeatedly) saying “Oh, my kids never watch television.” To which he responds, with an exasperated heartiness that actually reeks of wisdom: “OH SHUT THE F*CK UP.”

    Your observations on intuition, just knowing, and watching the dots connect are so comforting (and obviously expressed in a more sincere and empathetic manner than our bud Louis). Once again, so grateful for this space. xo

  • Reply
    sarah b.
    Friday, September 6, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Sarah, your writing and the photos you take of your children, and the amazing treats and memories you get to create with them, speak volumes of the incredible mum you must be! And, I feel like we can all see it without you even having to mention something as adorable as the three little chocolate chips to heal all wounds :)) ..I love that! Everything you do here is so, so incredibly touching. Biggest congrats to Melissa!! These waffles look absolutely perfect.

  • Reply
    Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    This post. So good and so sweet. I can only imagine what it’s like to be in a mother’s shoes. I can imagine it’s exactly how you described it here—lots of conflicting advice and intuition involved.

  • Reply
    Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 11:31 am

    As a new mum (how long you are new??!) I can totally understand what are you saying. Everyone got opinions you have to follow!!! At the beginning my daughter seems totally wrong: she want us to fall asleep, she was napping for 20 min at a times, she didn’t like the car or the pram… list is endless. We went through a lot, far away from any help everyone usually take for granted (tot us!) but after 14 month we know each other much better and we are happier than before. I think the only things to be taught is: go with the flow. And love your little treasure as much as you can. These days are soon over! This post is reassuring for every mum (and dad) asking if this will take her (him) somewhere… it seems it is 🙂
    lovely post (and recipe)
    just found this blog but I won’t leave! thanks for your warm words

  • Reply
    Beth | {local milk}
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Wow. I’m not even expecting or even planning on children in the near future but as a potential mother one-day-maybe…even I found your words comforting. And they made me wish that it was that one-day-maybe now, even though I know it isn’t, can’t be, not yet. You respond to what I can only imagine would be, at times, vaguely infuriating with such grace & eloquence. Not an easy thing to do when others are telling you how to raise your children.

    My intent was to come here to rave about this recipe. Because whoa. But now I’m just kind of awe struck.

  • Reply
    Kiran @
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    DELICIOUSNESS!! Love the fig compote and orange honey creme fraiche. Yum!

  • Reply
    Sarah Crowder (punctuated. with food)
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Just … 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Oh, and these sound amaaazing!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    You are such an inspiration, friend. We need more mamas like you! xoxo P.S. waffle date sometime in the future, please?

  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    What a lovely post. I think all parenting advice should be taken with a grain of salt… our children are our best teachers.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

    man this looks so good.

    xx Alecia

  • Reply
    Melissa@Julia's Bookbag
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 11:16 am

    My husband begs me for waffles all the time. Prefers them infinitely to pancakes (say what?) and french toast! Were these made in a round waffle iron? I think my square iron is very old and tired and my waffles never turn out crispy. Totally excited to try out this recipe…..:)

  • Reply
    sara forte
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 10:19 am

    what gorgeous writing, loved reading this, sarah. I know melissas waffles are popular at your house, same here. Anytime I stray too far, “I liked those other ones better” 😉 Hope to be as thoughtful a mom as you one day. Your kids are so lucky to have you.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 9:19 am

    beautiful words, sarah. you make me want to have children sooner rather than later.

  • Reply
    Melissa // The Fauxmartha
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Oh Sarah, your words always leave me better than they found me. More encouraged to be myself. And more aware that rawness is far more beautiful than anything contrived. I wish I could bottle you up and bring you with me. I have a feeling, during late night feedings, I’ll settle into your old posts and read them again. So much wisdom and life in your bones. So thankful to know you—that this strange world of blogging brought us together. Still dreaming of the day we can chat about everything for hours. So much love! xoxoxox

  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Best way to start your morning!!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 9:02 am

    These waffles are beautiful Sarah and totally fitting for someone as beautiful as Melissa. Your words are just perfect too.

  • Reply
    Emma Galloway
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Such a beautiful post Sarah, in every way xx

  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 7:51 am

    I looove this post! Motherhood does seem to be one of those things that everyone and his dog has opinions on but in the end (or so people tell me), you just have to find your own way.
    Also, why must you Northern Hemmispherers flaunt your beautiful figs like this? We in Oz have at least a 6 month wait and fig season here is so short lived!
    Gorgeous pics……

  • Reply
    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 6:35 am

    I’ve seen so many good fig recipes recently, I think yours may be the incentive I need to go and buy some! The idea of a virtual baby shower is really sweet, and both your words and pictures were so lovely today.

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