She stands. A man with a beard and a full belly edges near her, begins to pick through a pile of eggplants, snorts a few times as he holds his selections up towards the florescent light. Bins of Gala apples from Chile, plums from Washington, cartons of strawberries from California, and there, nestled behind the zucchini, peaches from Palisade, Colorado.
Her hand reaches for the apples, no, moves towards the peaches, now finds its way near the strawberries, but their plastic carton casts her away. She stands. She can't even pick a bag of fruit, her indecision marking her as one of the crazies, the people that sit and stare at their own reflection for hours and hours, just waiting for worms to inch their way in.
Dear Nora. And so her mother wrote a letter, waxing on about her private pain ( public pain to everyone but her). This isn't an easy decision. This doesn't mean I don't love you. I just need a clean break. A new start. You will never be far from my heart. We will remain bound in that way forever.
Except not. Nora keeps the letter in her purse, waiting for one more day, for the morning she will wake up and take the letter down to her stove top where the pilot light will ignite a flame that will turn those words into nothing more than memory. Except maybe. Perhaps she was right. Bound to her forever. Because Nora still keeps the letter, day after day. Nora still wakes up with no strength to put past behind her. Nora still walks to the grocery store with the aim of buying a bag of fruit only to stand staring at plums and peaches until her stomach no longer hungers.
And so I bought peaches.
I ate a couple while munching on bowls of popcorn and watching my daily dose of the Daily Show. I took one to my Instructional Assistant Orientation. And then I left the largest and juiciest peach for a batch of muffins. Because as a baker, I find no greater happiness than using prized fruit for sweet, baked indulgence.
These muffins were adapted from the King Arthur Flour Cookbook. I purchased a container of crystallized ginger the other day, and I thought that a bit of spice paired with peach would be a nice transition from summer to fall baking.
I brought six muffins over to the Japanese restaurant Ryan is working at, and I think I made his coworkers happy. I know I certainly enjoyed snacking on this muffin as I wrote about Nora and her letter from her mom. Thank you to everyone who follows and supports me. Your love and kindness spur me on.
2 1/4 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 large peach, diced (but not peeled)
A small handful of crystallized ginger (chopped)
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Grease or line a 12 tin muffin tray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices and brown sugar until no clumps remain. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, milk and egg and stir until well combined.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently stir in diced fruit and heap the batter into prepared muffin cups.
5. Sprinkle desired amount of chopped ginger over the tops of your muffins and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan before removing to a wire rack. Yields 12 muffins.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores