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Friday, April 19, 2024

On my plate: Me and my emotional support toaster waffles 

The strange, soothing power of an American breakfast classic 


By NADIA ANEES — nsanees@ucdavis.edu 


From elementary school until most of high school, I would only eat one thing for breakfast: Eggo chocolate chip toaster waffles slathered with vegan butter and maple syrup — the ultra artificial kind that is basically just corn syrup dyed brown. I’d wake up and rush through my sticky Eggo breakfast, run to my dad’s car, stop to pick up our carpool, and arrive at school out of breath right as the bell rang. Every morning went exactly this way. 

A few months ago, I realized I had not eaten a toaster waffle since high school. I quickly got up from my chair, grabbed my keys off the rack and drove to the nearest Trader Joe’s to grab a box — this trip was urgent. I dropped them into the toaster and made them the way I always used to, sweet with maple syrup, salty from the butter and so delicious.  

The first bite of a toaster waffle after a long hiatus was an exceptional feeling. Everything about that bite glided over me like a wave of nostalgia and childlike joy. The butter melting  over the crispy waffle edges, the sweetness from Aunt Jemima syrup dancing on my tongue and the tiny chocolate chip bursts transported me 10 years back. 

Since my reunion with the toaster waffle, the breakfast convenience item has become an emotional support food for me — my emotional support toaster waffle. What is it about this extremely American breakfast food that carries me through my stressful life as a college student in 2022? 

Perhaps it is how the waffle has accompanied me throughout stressful parts of my life, starting from the routine stress of running late to school each morning. 

A few days ago, I left Davis in a rush for a family emergency at home that appeared out of the blue. I knew it would be the responsible thing to eat something that’d hold me over for a two hour long drive, despite not wanting to consume much. I toasted a waffle and brought it with me in the car the way I always would, wrapped with just a thin piece of paper towel (definitely not preventative enough from crumbs falling, but it felt enough like my childhood). 

I took bites of my bland toaster waffle as I settled onto the 113, my head rushing with all kinds of thoughts and complex emotions. The waffle’s blandness soothed me. It was consistent. Reliable. It anchored me. Ten years later, my life has evolved to become more and more complex and good and strange, but the toaster waffle has stayed the same. 


Written by: Nadia Anees — nsanees@ucdavis.edu


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.



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