Here’s an excerpt from a cottage story on Georgian Bay about that quintessential summer experience of blueberry muffins:
“When I am away from the Bay, but thinking of it, and especially of the old table on the porch, one of the ways I picture it is covered with a red and white checkered cloth. Sitting in the middle is a large blue and white platter, heaped with homemade blueberry muffins. There is a dish of butter beside it, a plate of bacon, and pots of coffee and tea. But these have strictly supportive roles. It is the blueberries that are at centre stage. They are the stars of breakfast and afternoon tea or coffee….
“At one time, the blueberry muffins were baked in the old wood stove–the Royal Matron, circa 1930. Only it could produce muffins of the perfect consistency and flavour–soft, juicy, and simultaneously sweet and tart on the inside, and crusty and crumbly on the exterior, with a hint of birch or maple from the firebox….Now the muffins are cooked in an electric oven. But after a long and rigorous testing program, Dot has learned how to stimulate the qualities of wood stove muffins. Almost perfectly, but not quite.
“To the south directly in front of our cottage porch at a distance of a third of a kilometre, lies the inner channel, which transports small craft safely along protected coastal waters. To the west, through gaps in a ring of islands that sit on the horizon like a fleet of surfaced submarines, we can catch glimpses of the open Georgian, glistening white in the morning light. She is a moody babe, a Great Lake in her own right, and she is known for changing personas in a flash. But as we sit at the table gazing out the porch windows at the ever-changing scene in front of us, our own dispositions are even, our spirits high, and our conversation unvaried: a comparison of the muffins’ flavour and texture with those the wood stove produced in another era. ‘They’re great,’ I will allow. ‘They taste of summer. They’re the toast of the Bay. But they’re not the same as the Royal Matron’s. We’ll never enjoy their likes again.’
“‘No, Dad, we won’t. But please, get over it! Here, have another muffin.’
“And I do.”
Thought you’d get this cherished recipe at the end of the blog? Oh, no! For that you need to order a copy of At the Table, Nourishing Conversation and Food from the publisher at: