How Saturday Morning Waffles Became a Treasured Family Tradition and the Way We Show Love Year-Round

published Feb 11, 2023
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Credit: Hofacker

While you probably associate traditions with the busy holiday season — the parties, the gingerbread house contests, and that one special casserole you make every Christmas morning — traditions aren’t reserved for only certain times of year. 

No matter when they occur or what they are, family customs and traditions play a huge role in making us feel grounded and safe. They often become a part of who we are, and comfort us by reminding us where we come from.

In Psychology Today, psychiatry professor Saul Levine, MD, says that traditions “fulfill important criteria for achieving the ‘Four B’s’: our senses of Being, Belonging, Believing, and Benevolence.” 

“When traditions take place on a regular basis, they bring predictability and constancy to our lives. In addition to the nurturance and pleasure of communing, they help remove us, at least temporarily, from the cacophony of the outside world. We get reassurance that we will indeed be alright,” Levine says.

My husband and I aim to cultivate certain traditions in our family, with the intention that they will become a big part of our kids’ childhood memories. Our traditions also strengthen our sense of identity as a family unit. A few of our traditions take place outside of our home, like blueberry picking and spending time at our favorite beach each year, but many of our simpler (and no less important) traditions take place right in the heart of our home: our kitchen. 

One of these traditions is Saturday morning waffles, where I make some waffle batter, cook them in our waffle maker, and set out bacon, sliced strawberries, butter, syrup, and whipped cream to complete the spread. 

The tradition started when my kids were little, and for a while we enjoyed this treat nearly every weekend. Because we did the same thing the same way so many times, the whole family was able to get involved, and the preparation of the meal, in addition to the simple act of eating it together, became part of the tradition, part of the way we bonded through our time together. 

Now we’re in another era, with many months of the year involving Saturday soccer games, and other months involving teens sleeping in much later than our two littlest ones. But those mornings we do get to enjoy waffles evoke the same sense our waffle breakfasts always did: the anticipation of one of our family’s favorite meals, and the easy way we all fall into familiar roles, preparing strawberries, setting the table, and whipping the cream while the sweet, warm smell of waffles fills our home. 

We’ve invited others to share this experience with our family, and because the scene is so familiar to us, it’s been a wonderful way to bring others into our tasty, intimate tradition. Now it doesn’t matter if it’s a Saturday morning, or not; the last time we invited a family over for waffles was a Wednesday night dinner! 

The amount of bacon we need to fry up has changed, our kids are so much bigger (and there are more of them!), but this kitchen-centric tradition brings us back — every time — to the same anchoring sense of comfort and belonging. I believe it always will.