Sure, I've tried different batters prepared in different manners - from Costa Rican overstocks of ¡Cruzstez Olé! scammed from Canned Foods Grocery Outlet, to those Bisquick gizmos that look like yellow talcum powder packages, to "Waffles from Alice Walker's Fanny"... I've even tried my grandmother's recipe, which was so incredibly old-fashioned you actually had to wait overnight before you could use the batter. No matter how fresh the eggs, how pure the spring water, how winter the wheat, I have repeatedly failed, suffering through scorch marks, soggy middles, holes in the grid. Presumably, I'm more of a pancake person.
Even so, I have accumulated a wide and historically important selection of waffle grilling devices of varying shapes, sizes, hygiene levels, voltages, and quality. There's a wide range of special commemorative waffle irons, several of crumbling Bakelite with fiendish plugs designed for the now obscure Albanian double grounded outlets once common in Macedonia. (That particular model happens to bake an apparently syphlitic Enver Hoxha into your waffle; it's one of my least favorite, largely because the butter tends to pool in his eyes too easily.) There's the special Kraftwerk model, which seems like every other model, at least to the untrained eye, but upon closer inspection, it appears that the scores in the waffle have actually been molded from Ralf's hand-cast magnesium alloy touring chain itself. The licensing fees are said to have cost even more than the Expo 2000 jingle did, but I have no proof of these outlandish allegations.
Rather predictably, there is also a tiresome Alessi condition of wafflers inspired by famous artists. I've followed the recipe for the Dalí iron, substituting surimi for lobster, but somehow the Mae West Lips waffle wasn't particularly appealing. (I'm not a fan of tongue burritos either.) The Rothko waffle wouldn't hold the syrup - it just ran directly off the square and onto plate. The rest of the collection were fairly humdrum as well - the Hirst waffle iron will remain in its package until I need to embalm something, I don't want to cut myself on the Francis Bacon model. Strangely, however, I do suspect that the Mondrian is actually an ordinary Toastmaster model shipped rotated forty-five degrees to the right.
In recent years, I've hooked up with some of the mostly Los Angeles-based Bear crowd, many of whom seem to have great fondness for anime, computer animation, graphic design, and Hello Kitty. I've dedicated a special cabinet to their finds, ranging from the mochi pounder - I doubt it makes waffles, but it is an appliance, and the mochi pounding stick itself worth of appreciation - to the usual glut of Hello Kitty and Badtz Maru wafflers, pink and black respectively. I have not used these yet, but when I do, I believe the batter will require a splash of orange flower water to more accurately sync with Kitty-san's oh-so-kawaii face.
However, the only iron I do use on a regular basis is a nondescript, somewhat upscale model whose flash chrome and tasteful matte black plastic can only suggest a purchase at Williams-Sonoma, or perhaps Lecter's. It has several switches, some small red and green blinky lights, a hinge, and a swooped curve in back from which batter can never be extricated. Perhaps the designers were hoping for an eventual display of the iron alongside the ovoid Sony TV of the 1960s one sees in ramshackle modern design musuems in cities better known for their bowling alleys; perhaps they were subtly suggesting that a perfect device would be an insult of the eyes of God, modifying the iron in the manner of mediaeval sculptors who intentionally made mistakes in their iconstases so that it would be impossible to keep it clean, pure. Perhaps they were simply incompetent. In any case, it's the best of the lot, and I'm proud to be its owner.
I'm still going to make pancakes instead, though.