Making honeymoon muffins
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!”