I wanted to share a recipe this week but I also wanted it to have meaning. I was in search of a food story tied both to my life experiences and the era from which it came.
To fulfill my quest I turned to an aged resource, a floral cloth-covered book that has moved with me countless times. Here in this book I collected recipes during my early teen and younger adult years. The beginning of the book is handwritten with attribution to each person from whom I copied the recipe. Later, when life became busy, recipes were cut and pasted from magazines or calendars that caught my interest.
These were the days before we ‘pinned’ or ‘bookmarked’ recipes. Like most, I now search online when I want something new to cook, and, as a result, I have not used this cooking resource in years.
That’s why looking through the pages was a stroll down memory lane. Thinking of the person who each recipe came from brought back both memories of people and food, two of my favourite things.
The recipe I chose to share for this post is Apple Muffins. Not only is this recipe tied to a memory, but fresh apples are everywhere this time of year, making this post timely and useful.
What makes this recipe interesting in the context of the blog, however, is the memory of where it came from. And, what made it heartwarming for me was making it with my 16-year-old daughter one Saturday morning.
Way back in 1980-1982 when I was in grade 7 and 8, all the girls took home economics and the boys all took woodshop. That was just the way it was.
In grade 7 home ec they taught girls the best way to wash dishes, to make a meal, and to bake things. Useful skills for any human. In grade 8 they taught us to read a pattern, and create a piece of clothing with a sewing machine, a functional skill but perhaps less universally required.
I never knew what took place in shop, it was mysterious. I was never physically in the shop, though I did peek in the door a few times.
When I reflect on grade 7 and 8, I don’t recall the gender division of these classes being a personal issue. Which is likely why I was in awe in grade 8 when a female student bucked the system, and together with her parents, she insisted to be allowed to take shop.
Looking back this seems like a simple act, but from the many simple acts carried out by just one individual, to significant movements and moments such as the Persons Case or #MeToo, rhetoric, policy, and our lives change.
We’ve come a long way, although there is still a long way to go as the UN’s International Day of the Girl recently shared on their website: “The 1.1 billion girls of today’s world are challenging the status quo. They’re redefining girlhood, and they’re doing so against the odds.”
They’re redefining girlhood just as those that came before them did. Just as one girl at Rothesay Junior High did 36 years ago.
The Recipe: Apple Muffins
The recipe which triggered this memory is from grade 7 home ec. As the teacher at the time told us, it could be a recipe for any kind of muffin if you switch out the apples and cinnamon for something else. Feel free to adapt and enjoy baking it, regardless of your gender.
I baked this with my daughter and we shared stories of what I learned in home ec and how how different life is now for all genders. She joked that we should do a post from my husband’s shop some day.
Who knows, maybe we will.
1 egg, beaten slightly
1 C + 3 tbsps. milk
¼ C butter melted (the original recipe called for shortening)
1 ½ C flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 apple, diced or shredded
½ tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400° F. Stir until flour is moist. Mix in the apple and cinnamon. Bake 20 minutes. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen small muffins.
(Author’s note: Just in case you are inspired to make the muffins, the recipe is just so-so, it’s more about the story with this one. I’ll share some great recipes in future posts).