Saturday, June 8, 2013

Carbon's Golden Malted Flour --Waffle Ambrosia

                                 Carbon Flour in a restaurant on the Greek island of Poros. [Photo, Teri Carns]

I wish I could say that I grew up in Buchanan in the 1950s enjoying F. S. Carbon Golden Malted waffles. They were, after all, invented there. My oldest brother, who recalls serving Carbon Flour pancakes and waffles at Boy Scout fund-raising dinners said, "It never entered my mind that ordinary people would eat it at home, unless they lived in the big city of Chicago." My next younger brother took over our father's factory, White Welder in the mid-1970s, and recalled helping re-engineer the waffle irons with the young Carbon son who ran the company in Buchanan at time.

Today there are still family connections. A sister-in-law treats us all to Carbon waffles made in one of the early Carbon irons on special occasions. The Iowa sister keeps a supply in her cupboard for kids and grandkids. The oldest brother, who retired and turned speed skater some years ago says that the Olympic Headquarters for training in Colorado Springs regularly serves Carbon Flour waffles and pancakes to the Olympians.

                                  Iowa sister with Carbon Flour stash [Photo by Tom Lazio].

What I found most fascinating over the years were the little cafes in unexpected places with Carbon Flour signs in their windows. Something created in Buchanan had made it into the larger world.  My favorite was the little cafe that featured it on the waterfront in Poros, one of those exotic Greek islands not far from Athens.

                                         The harbor at Poros, April 2010 [Photo, Teri Carns]

The 75th anniversary of  Golden Malted Flour rolled around in 2012. Fred S. Carbon founded the company in 1930 in Buchanan, Michigan, and patented his flour in 1937. In 1968, he got a patent on his waffle iron. In 1998, the company reorganized as New Carbon, and moved to South Bend, Indiana, a few miles from its first home.

Some Carbon history tidbits:
  • Carbon has supplied waffles and waffle cones to Disney since the early 1970s.
  • Betty Ford served Carbon waffles at the White House when she was first lady.
  • In 1986, Fred S. Carbon died, and his son Don became owner of the company.
  • He sold in 1998, to Scott Carbon (Fred's grandson) and four of Carbon's distributors who reorganized the company in 1999; it  became New Carbon, and moved to South Bend, after sixty-plus years in Buchanan.
  • 2004, Carbon was featured on Emeril Live, the Today Show, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
New Carbon has kept up with the times. In 2013, it makes Gluten-free Carbon flour, and Organic waffle mix in Apple-Cinnamon and Multi-Grain. If you eat waffles in the self-serve breakfast rooms in Hampton Inns, Hilton, or Marriott, or any number of other hotel chains, you may well be enjoying Carbon waffles. Denny's serves them. In 2012, Carbon went mobile with Carbon's Kitchen, its truck for travels to food festivals, fairs, tailgate parties, and more, across the United States.

The recipe is a mystery of course --even when you know the ingredients: "Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Corn Flour, Leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate), Malt Powder, Salt, Sugar, Buttermilk, Artificial Flavor." Nothing spectacular there, but the company has patented the way in which those ordinary things are combined.

Carbon  Golden Malted waffles came to my attention again while reading William Alexander's book, 52 Loaves. He describes his year's worth of efforts to bake the perfect French peasant bread,and along the way mentions Carbon Golden Malted Waffles as the gold standard in waffledom.  The book lays bare some of the mysteries of waffle deliciousness. For better waffles, he says, add more fat (melted butter is best) because it takes the place of water and therefore reduces the sogginess possibilities. Use a waffle iron with deeper indentations to get more surface area crisp. And, he says, use Carbon Malted Flour.

                                                  Carbon flour in its well-known can [Photo, Peg Lazio].
Contact information:

Carbon's Golden Malted
4101 William Richardson Drive
South Bend, In 46628
574.247.2270 • 1.800.253.0590

To order your own original Carbon's Gold Malted, or other products, go to:
© 2013 | Carbon's Golden Malted, Golden Malted and Carbon's Kitchen are registered trademarks of New Carbon Company.

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