Mak­ing hon­ey­moon muffins

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - TIM RAM­SEY

As a new­ly­wed with a lot of time on his hands, Tim Ram­sey knew he had to find him­self a hobby. When he picked up an un­used cook­book, he was struck with in­spi­ra­tion. He started cook­ing for his new wife with fer­vour — maybe a lit­tle too much. Af­ter his first batch of “hon­ey­moon muffins” was met with ap­proval, he went to work mix­ing up ev­ery kind of muf­fin he could think of. That’s when things got out of hand, as he ex­plains in our book about food and love:

I washed the dishes, straight­ened up the house, read a few chap­ters of the latest book I bor­rowed from the li­brary and then grav­i­tated to the kitchen, where I scoured the Betty Crocker cook­book — a wed­ding gift still in pris­tine form — for some­thing easy yet im­pres­sive for each night’s ro­man­tic din­ner. My wife was not fond of my bach­e­lor diet of ra­men noo­dles and hot dogs, de­spite the many de­li­cious vari­a­tions I had con­cocted us­ing these two del­i­ca­cies.

Ms. Crocker soon con­vinced me that with a lit­tle pa­tience, prac­tise and cre­ativ­ity, I could trans­form a few com­mon in­gre­di­ents into a gourmet din­ner. I was ex­tremely cau­tious through­out the train­ing. My mother’s words from my ado­les­cence helped guide me: You make it, you eat it ... no mat­ter what!

Soon my tired wife was be­ing treated to grand meals of baked pork chops and stuff­ing, home­made lasagna, rice and chicken casseroles and broiled steak with pota­toes. I’m sure that a lit­tle ra­men would have been a tasty ad­di­tion, but I re­spected my new bride’s wishes.

One morn­ing, I hap­pened upon a recipe for muffins. Din­ner would now be com­plete. We could even have them for break­fast!

The recipe was sim­ple, and I fol­lowed it just as Betty pre­scribed. I added chopped ap­ple pieces to the in­gre­di­ents, poured the mix into the in­di­vid­ual muf­fin cups and baked for 20 min­utes. Fi­nally, golden brown and aro­matic, my first desserts were pulled from the oven. I bit into one and found it to be fairly bland. But I did not dis­obey my mother ... I ate four for a morn­ing snack.

I went right back to the mix­ing bowl. I tripled the re­quired amount of sugar and added an ad­di­tional cup of chopped ap­ples. When the timer rang, I sam­pled a muf­fin from batch two. It melted in my mouth. I was so ex­cited — I baked two more dozen and piled the morsels high on a serv­ing plate.

When my wife ar­rived home, she com­pli­mented me on the invit­ing bak­ery smell. I took her to the kitchen and proudly showed off my morn­ing’s work. She looked at the muf­fin moun­tain and then at me be­fore rolling her eyes. “Well, at least we have break­fast for the next cou­ple of weeks,” she said.

En­cour­aged, I elat­edly ran to the kitchen each morn­ing af­ter hear­ing her car pull away. She liked my muffins!

As any great chef will do, I soon be­gan ex­per­i­ment­ing with my new recipe. Within min­utes another 12 ap­ple muffins were born, this time with brown sugar and cin­na­mon sprin­kled on top. The next day I made peach muffins ... three dozen. Then there were raisin muffins and blue­berry muffins and cran­berry muffins — even pear muffins. Two dozen each.

My con­fi­dence bol­stered, my courage strong, I ven­tured away from fruit. There were marsh­mal­low muffins and choco­lat­e­chip muffins and gum-drop muffins and mint muffins. A dozen each. I even con­sid­ered ra­men muffins, but re­con­sid­ered.

Af­ter a week of indulging my out-of-con­trol culi­nary com­pul­sion, my wife took me aside and coun­selled me. “What in the world are we go­ing to do with all of these muffins? Get un­der con­trol, dear. Read a book! Get another hobby!”

De­ject­edly, I looked at the piles of muffins fill­ing ev­ery flat area of our tiny kitchen and then back to her. “But I did it for you,” I whim­pered.

She kissed me and then grabbed a blue­berry muf­fin and stuffed it in her lunch­box. “Thanks. I love you, but please, no more muffins!”

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