I’m often surprised to discover how certain foods trigger such vivid memories, at least for me. Early yesterday morning I heard a report on the radio about the record blueberry season happening right now in New Jersey. Hmmm. . .blueberries.
Well, I just happened to have some of those delicious New Jersey blueberries in my refrigerator–and the time to bake some blueberry muffins.
I can’t remember the last time I made muffins. I bake frequently—cookies, bread, cake, fruit crisps, and on and on. But since our daughters are not living at home, my husband doesn’t eat breakfast, and I usually have a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (sometimes topped with blueberries) to sustain me through morning work and sometimes morning workouts, I haven’t baked muffins in quite a while. Today seemed like the perfect day. Our younger daughter is home, and I had the opportunity.
I followed a recipe I got from the BarneGate Bed and Breakfast in Ocean City, NJ. We used to stay there each June, as I mentioned in a previous post. The couple who owned the place retired several years ago, but my family and I think fondly of them and of our summers at their cozy inn. Opening the spiral-bound collection of recipes elicits numerous memories of our stays there, sitting in the dining room while we ate muffins, drank coffee, and talked to Frank and Lois, the owners. Each summer they commented on how our girls had grown and asked what we done during the past year. They filled us in on what had happened in their lives, too. Our family looked forward to our vacations there every summer. In my mind I picture those long ago summers when our children were younger, and so were my husband and I. . .so many memories triggered by yesterday’s muffins.
When our daughter woke up and came downstairs to find the freshly baked muffins, she was pleased and excited. (We get excessively excited by food in our household.) Then she stopped and told me the muffins made her think of her beloved cat Michael, who died during her senior year in high school. She had remembered that she couldn’t leave blueberry muffins on the table because he would eat them. Michael would eat almost anything that we left out, not simply meat, milk, or cheese, but baked goods, too. We could never leave baked goods to cool on the counter unattended. For some reason, he particularly enjoyed blueberry muffins. Not that we ever gave him muffins or any food not labeled cat food, but he could was very clever—and fast—and he had super-cat powers when it came to finding food. (He got excessively excited about all sorts of food, too. I guess he was a natural fit in our household.)
So yesterday’s muffins brought back bittersweet memories to both my daughter and me, but that didn’t stop either of us from eating them.
And they were delicious.. .
BarnaGate Bed and Breakfast
Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins (with some adaptations)
Makes 12 Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1 ½ cup blueberries
¼ cup sliced almonds mixed with 2 Tbsp. sugar for garnish (I finely ground almonds and mixed with sugar—I probably used more of both almonds and sugar.)
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add blueberries; stir to coat evenly.
In small bowl beat eggs with fork; beat in milk and butter.
Add wet mixture to blueberry mixture; stir just until blended.
Fill pans 2/3 full and sprinkle with almond-sugar mixture.
Bake for 15-25 minutes.