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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Posted in Christian, Life, Musique, Photography Art

For the Light Awakens

After a late night shift, one longs for a morning of peace and quiet to sleep in. Though it is quite difficult to sleep during the mornings either because of the chaos and our circadian rhythm which goes haywire, so we end up doing chores and other miscellaneous work till we drop off from exhaustion; or because of the sunlight streaming through the windows which prevents the hours of the day turning into night.

Even though our working hours have stretched the normal boundaries of our sleep patterns, the rays of sunshine brightens the day and fosters a sense of calmness, to renew and recharge with a fresh start at another chance in life. Albeit in due course we do succumb to the tiredness and have to catch up on our sleep in order to stay refreshed, still the brightness of the day offers to make the gloomiest scene pretty and live-able. As John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Nevertheless there are some days where even the light can’t dispel the gloomy blackness. In such cases, what we fail to realize that the inner light in us, through the tiny cracks in the shields of darkness will offer a slit for the rays so that there would be a guiding light to find a way out. Should our inner light fail, the rays of light from other true sources will be able to guide us as long as we cast one’s mind to look for them. Remember the stars, even the Pole Star even in the cloudy skies occasionally they show their light. As the lines from the “Sine nomine” go,
“And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.”

Inner or overhead lights, either way unless we use them we will be standing still in the dark. The drawback is if we stay in perpetual darkness we will lose out on the wonders, songs and the joy of living.

Posted in Life, Musique, Quotes, Reflections

Real or Masked ?

One of the most widely acclaimed stage movies which was previously made as a musical is “The Phantom of the Opera (2004)”.It was originally based on Gaston Leroux’s novel “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra“.The setting of novel was based on the rumours that Leroux had heard about an actual Paris opera house from the time it was constructed.

However what struck me in the entire book and movie was that the story revolved around characters who were masked onstage i.e. a masquerade. In fact on going through the lyrics from “Masquerade” song enacted in the scenes of the opera, it is impossible not to wonder if our lives revolve like one huge masquerade ball.
“Masquerade!Paper faces on parade.
Masquerade!Hide your face, so the world will never find you!
Masquerade!Every face a different shade.
Masquerade!Look around,there’s another mask behind you!
Flash of mauve,Splash of puce.
Fool and king,Ghoul and goose.
Green and black,Queen and priest.
Trace of rouge,Face of beast, Faces.
Take your turn.Take a ride.
On a merry – go – round In an inhuman race…….”

At times our life resembles like a masquerade party; rich with excitement and grandiosity, filled with enigma and spectacles!! Yet the reality is that we live in a world where very often people adorn their masks as a shield to their true self. This begs the question: Who to trust ? Who to believe ? Who is who ? is it another facade, another mask to hide behind?
In fact, St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, “14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15 New International Version (NIV))

It is a sad and lonely game we play hiding the real us, masking ourselves with different masks and hiding the real authentic us. In fact, the real “us” is shadowed by the more tempting aspects of the world namely power, fame, strength, meanness and worst of all, “the people pleaser” or the doormat mask. Do we need the masks or do we don on the mask using the pretext of society ? The answer may be difficult but will echo our characters from within.