Monday, January 28, 2013

Do you know the Muffin Man? A guide to muffins in America

2 wicker baskets full of muffins sit on a blue...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Muffins, as we know them, are small cup shaped single serve quick breads that are often sweet and usually served warm. The type of muffin we enjoy is a decidely American treat and can be traced back to the mid 1800's. The first written recipes of American style muffins began to appear during the middle of the 19th century when pearlash was discovered. Muffins often contain fruit, nuts and spices. They may also contain meat, vegetables and cheese. They are usually eaten for breakfast or at tea, but the sheer variety of flavors available makes them an  appealing addition to any meal or as a snack. The 1920's saw the first muffin mix created by Mr. McCollum of New Brunswick, NJ. Packaged mixes were not widely available until the 1950's.  The 50's also saw muffins being marketed as baked goods for the first time since preservatives kept them from going quickly going stale.

Muffin Trivia
  • The most popular flavors of mufins are blueberry, banana nut, bran, corn and poppyseed.
  • In honor of its 19 flavors of muffin mix, Martha White introduced its Muffin Mix Challenge in 2008.
  • An episode of Seinfeld, The Muffin Tops, centers around Elaine's love of muffin tops. She consideres them to be a million dollar idea.
  • The blueberry muffin is the official muffin of Minnesota. Massachusetts claims the corn muffin and New York the apple.
  • While there are numerous regional muffin chains, there is no national muffin chain.
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