Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The Love of Learning: Warm Graham Muffins
I work in a wonderful school and the little part of it that I am responsible for managing is called "The Learning Lab." One day I took a little boy down there for the first time and he looked at the sign, read it aloud, and brightly declared, "I want to learn something!" Wow! It was one of those moments that affirmed my life's vocation as a teacher.
I could also relate to him. Part of my heritage (the world that lives in me) that I deeply appreciate is that I come from people who loved to learn. Grandma's cookbook (as well as her copy of the Bible) is full of handwritten notes and clippings that show she was a hunter-gatherer of information. One of my favorite stories about her husband, my Grandpa Yutzy, was that he refused to teach my mother to milk cows. He said that she was to go to college, to be a teacher. And indeed she did. She is an amazing woman, my mother. She is a voracious reader, not just smart, but also wise. She has spent her lifetime learning.
When I picked up Grandma's cookbook on that cold day in December and decided to use it for a travel guide of sorts, I knew there would be a lot to learn. For instance, I can't wait to find out what a huckleberry is. I happened upon a recipe for graham muffins which called for graham flour. I figured graham flour was something I could surely find at Prairie Harvest in downtown Newton. But I was wrong. They do not carry it. However, Carol at Prairie Harvest did a bit of research and told me that graham flour is really wheat flour but coarsely ground and less processed. She found a substitute mix for me that I could use in place of the ground flour. For each cup of graham flour, one can use 2/3 cup white flour, slightly less than 1/3 cup wheat bran and 1 and 1/2 tsp wheat germ.
I did a bit more research on my own and found that graham flour is named after Sylvester Graham, an early 19th century health reformer. He had strong ideas about healthy eating, advocated the use of whole wheat flours, and this is my favorite part- recommended that people get enough sleep (oh yes!), eat 3 meals a day 6 hours apart, wear loose clothing (I adore him now) and practice cheerfulness at mealtimes. I may have to get a T-shirt with his picture and the phrase, "Proud to be a Grahamite" Who can argue with these practices?
These muffins are really good. They have a grahamy kind of flavor, you know what I mean. They are delectable- especially warm, right from the oven, with butter and honey.
1 cup graham flour (I used the aforementioned mix)
1 cup white flour
4 tsp baking powder (oh yes, they will RISE)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons melted margarine
Measure and sift dry ingredients together. (I have discovered that sifting is very relaxing. Hard to be shifting when you are sifting.)
Beat egg. Add sugar, milk and melted butter.
Combine with dry ingredients and pour into greased muffin tins.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
This recipe is adapted from "Graham Muffins" in the Mennonite Community Cookbook
Wishing you cheerful meals and delicious muffins,