Baking by the numbers

My youngest has been sick for the past few days. He’s had a fever, a sore throat and has been feeling yucky.  When he woke up yesterday, I asked him if I could make him eggs for breakfast because  they were soft and would go down easy.

He said that he wanted a muffin. There is a bakery across the street from our apartment. I could have gone downstairs and bought him the corn muffin he wanted, but  it seemed easier to bake than to get dressed.

I opened my copy of Joy of Cooking. Joy is perfect for those  all American classics.  I would not turn to Joy for a recipe for flanken or blintzes, but it is the place to find a recipe for muffins.  In looking at the recipes I realized  that like many recipes that are old fashioned and were once memorized, the recipes all  worked in a way for a home cook to remember the recipe.

Muffins work by a rule of two.
for the dry stuff
two cups flour,  (I used a mix of semolina and white,. I had the semolina from my noodle making on Friday. You can use cornmeal and white, bran and whole wheat and white....)
two tablespoons of sugar ( and a bit more)
two teaspoons of baking powder
pinch of salt
add all ingredients to a bowl mix well with a fork

now the wet stuff..
1 cup yogurt
2 eggs
3 Tbs  melted butter( think of it as 2+1)
vanilla – I poured a healthy glug from the bottle into the batter

mix the wet stuff, add to the dry stuff and bake at 350 in greased muffin tins.
Once you get that the muffin ingredients are mostly all un units of 2 varying the recipe is easy.  If I were not making this for my son, I would have added chopped dried fruit, we have some dates hanging around , I also would have added some fresh orange peel to the dates. But this is bare bones muffins.

I tested myself to see if this units of two way of thinking would work if I baked the muffins today sans coffee in my body, and not looking in the cook book. As you can see, in the photo above, it does work.

I was also thinking about how my mother’s matza ball recipe is organized in terms of threes
Matza Balls
3 eggs
3 T oil
3 T seltzer
three 1/4 cups of matza meal, Yes I know it’s 3/4 of a cup but easier to remember in units of 3.
So, now I understand how our grandmothers could cook sans cookbooks.

Yesterday, was also both Mother’s Day and my birthday. it was a day of many nice things including flowers,
beth flowers
from my sister in law
david and susan flowers
tulips that my husband brought home after going to morning services and the orchids from my downstairs neighbor.

My youngest keeps saying that he does not understand the point of flowers. They die . They have no function. We agree that  those things are true. But we keep telling him that women like flowers. That if he wants to be in a relationship with a woman he should buy her flowers, even if he thinks it’s stupid.


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