Lukken Wafer Iron

My Grandma's Lukken Wafer Iron
My Grandma's Lukken Wafer Iron

My Great-grandmother and her family came to the United States from Belgium sometime in the late in the early 1900s. They settled in Michigan and she eventually started a family there, giving birth to my Grandma in 1933. Unfortunately, my family does not have very close ties with our Belgian heritage. However, every Christmas, we get to celebrate our ancestors and the place that they came from. After my great-grandmother died, she passed along to my grandma her cast iron lukken wafer iron. This iron is used to make a traditional Belgian cookie called a lukken wafer. Thankfully growing up, I lived close to my grandma, so every Christmas, I was able to join in the process of making these cookies. As we would make them, she would tell stories of how her mother would make these same cookies every year. The recipe called for whiskey and she would say "one-shot for the cookies and one-shot for me". What I love about this tradition, is that the meaning goes far beyond just making cookies. We would spend hours making these cookies; it was a very long and tedious process. In the end, we would be left with about 12 dozen cookies. My grandma would never keep most of these for herself. She would put only a small portion aside for her and our family and the rest would be given away. She would give them to everyone and anyone she knew; the mailman, her gardener, church friends, and she would even mail them to her sisters in Michigan. It was so meaningful to be able to share that special part of our heritage with others.

– Claire Gietzen

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more