Posted in Daily, Food, Musique

The Muffin Man

Do [or “Oh, do”] you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man,
Who lives on Drury Lane?

Yes [or “Oh, yes”], I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Yes, I know the muffin man,
Who lives on Drury Lane.
(Source: Opie and P. Opie, The Singing Game (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 379-82))

One of the traditional nursery rhymes of English origin, “the muffin man” was recorded around the early nineteenth century as confirmed by British manuscripts circa 1820. Towards the mid-nineteenth century the rhyme as well as the game had spread over to other countries with regional variations in the lyrics as well as the game altering as a forfeit game, guessing game and a dancing game. Whichever style it may be in, as long as the children have fun, it doesn’t matter.

Interestingly, the muffins in the song were based on the English muffins, not the sweeter American cupcake shaped variety. The muffin is an individual-sized, baked product which refers to two distinct items, a part-raised flatbread or a cupcake-like quick-bread. The former i.e. the flatbread version is of British or European origin dating from at least the early 18th century or even earlier. While the latter i.e. the quick bread muffins originated in North America during the 19th century. Like all bread related products, muffins were an evolution over time with human ingenuity, local ingredients, sudden requirements, cultural expectations laced with technological advancement as well as creative baking styles.

I believe the world to be a muffin pan, and there certainly are a lot of muffins here. Aaron Funk

As far as the origins of the word “muffin” goes, it can be traced to old French word “moufflet” applied to bread meaning soft, or even Low German word “muffe” meaning cake. Initially it started off as small yeast cakes light textured roll, round and flat and commonly enjoyed during winter when they are slit, tasted, buttered and served hot with tea or jam. What initially started off as a basic recipe, towards the twentieth century, they varied from the type of flour (white, graham, rye and corn) to add-ons’ from handful of chopped dates or raisins to the base being of bran, blueberry, corn, apple, oatmeal as well as being bigger in size.

I’m all over the place with muffins. Carrots are great. Banana, chocolate chip, they rock, too. Shawn Mendes

Into the final month of this year, there has to be something special on the table once in a while. The beauty of muffins is that they are so quick and easy to make, particularly since the ingredients are only lightly mixed, not beaten smooth and can be made in a pressure cooker as well. Besides making a good snack while counting calories, the variety of tastes and mixes that can be experimented on are quite interesting. With today being the “National Oatmeal Muffin Day” in the west, it would be fun to give a try for some simple homemade muffins- cupcake style or the “English muffin way”.

 

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