Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sugar Waffles and a Smile

I had the pleasure of trying a Sugar Waffle last week.  Sugar Waffles are like miniature, sweet belgian waffles.  Max Brenner's in New York City (and locations worldwide) serves them with an assortment of toppings and flavors. I had the  Banana Split Waffle,  which was a waffle topped with carmelized bananas and sugar crispies.  It was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with milk chocolate ganache, and also a small bowl of "choco-pops" which are little balls of chocolate.  I loved this dessert!  There is something quite addicting about these waffles; they are just the right thickness and texture, and have a sweetness that is more flavorful than plain sugar.   The sliced bananas were coated with a thin layer of the type of sweet coating you find on a good creme brulee. The sugar crispies added a nice crunch and the ice cream tied it all together. The choco-pops, although good on their own, didn't add that much to the dessert as the bananas, ice cream, and sweet waffles were really all that the dessert needed.  I am now a big fan of sweet waffles.

While I was in New York City I had the opportunity to walk through Washington Square Park.  There is a great vibe in Washington Square Park and the park is filled with native New Yorkers and tourists alike, musicians, speakers, artists, and more.  In the middle of it all was a homeless man seated on a bench with a cardboard sign which read, simply, "Wanted. Smiles." Breaking my longstanding rule never to make eye contact with strangers in New York City, (the origins of which I can't recall),  I smiled at the man.

He was talking to someone leaning over his bench.  It took him a few seconds to register that I was paying attention to his sign, and I could see the moment when he figured it out.  His entire face changed, he broke out a huge smile, and yelled a thank you to me.  Which was followed by a God bless you and more big smiles. Which I returned, and then continued on my way. 

Some might say that he was just looking for money. Or that his sign was a part of some kind of scam in the making.  But I think it was something else. The man who had the sign in the park is no different from anyone, really. We're all trying to be noticed in some way.  Kids want attention from their parents or teachers or coaches.  Spouses want attention from their partners. We hope to be recognized at our jobs for hard work, innovation and dedication; we look for that raise or a promotion or a positive review.  Maybe we're musicians or writers or artists and we want praise or publication for our creative works.  We run for office, we serve on committees, we join community groups and book clubs and share our ideas.  We tweet and text and we send our photos over the internet and count our "likes" and "followers" and "facebook friends." We all crave acknowledgement and reinforcement in this world, that acknowledgement which says yes, I have noticed what you're doing.  I see YOU.  

I think that's all the man wanted. 

Have a great week.  


  1. I never know what to do in those situations. I had some pretty spooky experiences with pan handlers in Grand Central Station alone as a teen. Looks like you made the right choice for this one though -two right choices if you count the waffle sundae!

  2. Thank you, as always, for reading! Sorry about your Grand Central experiences, that is too bad.

  3. In the situation described a lot of people would react differently. Some would be dismissive, some jaded. Only someone with a kind heart would have reacted as you did. Also anything with creme brulee is amazing,

  4. Thank you for the nice comment and for reading!