I remember walking into the house after playing outside on a cold, snowy winter day to the fragrant, bready smell of my mom’s homemade english muffins baking. These were definitely not what you buy in the stores, none of those nooks and crannies, no, these were handmade bundles of our deliciousness. So large that my dad had to go out and find toaster that he could fit them in so he could have a warm toasted muffin before heading to work.
Seeing my mom, mixing the ingredients, taking the packet of yeast placing that in warm water to activate those little spores then putting it all together. She would then place the bowl in a warm corner of the kitchen and the magic would begin, the dough would slowly rise to twice its size, only then would she take it out of the bowl and begin begin dividing it into separate pieces. I would watch her as she took each piece, kneading and shaping each one, then with a fork she would poke those little loaves several times before placing them on a baking sheet. Again, they were covered and again we would wait as they too began to slowly rise and take shape. As soon as they were ready, to her satisfaction, she would pop them into the oven where they turned a golden brown.
There’s nothing like opening a warm, freshly baked treat and these were no exception. On those special nights, in the middle of winter when the sun goes down early and the cold winds blow outside, we would be treated to these warm treats along with homemade baked beans. I used to love slathering butter onto my muffin and watch it melt, then dive into my beans using my piece of muffin to soak up the juices.
Years later, when I returned home from Vietnam, my mom asked me what special dinner would I like to have. “Ma” I said, “I would love to have some of your english muffins and baked beans.” Yes, it was a most satisfying meal that evening, one that said, welcome home.