Everyone has pet food peeves that were ingrained at an early age. When you see someone doing the “wrong thing” like cutting open an English Muffin and putting into a toaster, you cringe and feel like shaking them. Try to explain to them why they are ruining their food and they look at you as if you are deranged. Luckily, my family agrees with this particular peeve, making breakfast easy at their houses.
Proper English Muffins
Open the English muffin with a fork, lightly film with butter and broil until done.
Perfection in an English muffin means that you take full advantage of the nooks and crannies and let the butter melt into them. Spreading butter on them after they are cooked doesn’t really work. Toasting them makes them tough.
If you are very lucky, you have a muffin splitter like this one:
My grandfather’s store, La Cocina in Wilmington, Delaware, carried these starting about 1965. The patent was sold to Thomas and it expired. It seemed as though this nifty tool has vanished forever. But I was delighted to see them appear again in King Arthur’s catalog a few years ago and bought them as Christmas presents. I’m still holding on to my 1965 one. My grandfather, of course, knew the original designer and manufacturer.
Among my old cookbooks is “Mrs. Rasmussen’s Book of One Arm Cookery“, which if Mom reads this, will probably want back. Published in 1946 with terrific “Decorations” by George Price, it is written by Mary Lasswell who had written “Suds in Your Eyes“. Mrs. Rasmussen was the cook in that book. Mom said she and Daddy loved it.
The recipes are very simple with a surprising number of Mexican ones using Mexene which I think means chili powder. I liked this one for Corn Bread though I don’t think there is any modern source for Clabber.
1 cup clabber; if not available, use buttermilk
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 1/2 cups yellow water-ground cornmeal
Beat the clabber, eggs, salt and soda together in a bowl using a rotary egg-beater. Pour into a pre-heated pan, well greased with any unsalted fat. Let the pan get smoking hot. This forms a crisp brown crust on the outside of the cornmeal and leaves a moist middle. Put the fat in the pan and swish it around to cover the sides. Let it heat in the oven. Have the oven hot.
Amazon still carries the book and you can “look inside” to get the index and some recipes.
Great to go with soup on a rainy day. I think Mom has also made this. I am now looking for my best minestrone recipe.
This version I found in A Cookbook for Poor Poets and Others by Ann Rogers, 1966. It is a very fun cookbook of its time and has some acceptable recipes.
Use some care in pulling the insides from loaves. . . Break the bread into serving size pieces. Brush with melted butter and bake at 325 until crisp and brown. Pulled Bread can be used in place of rolls or crackers with soup or salad. The smaller pieces can be used for croutons.”
(Homemade bread would be great, but a fairly dense unsliced loaf works fine. I use two forks to pull.)