Marshaling the Troops

D-Day approached as was expected. It was a do or die situation as the prime directive had come down from on high. There was no doubt about its authenticity or intent.

My true love had said “We are out of muffins”. With so few words, the task was enjoined: marshal the ingredients and come up with a product to put a smile on her face. Zen be damned – this was a manoeuvre that needs skill and good ingredients. But first, some preparation. These muffins are from a high grade of the kind called cranberry – yogurt. The bagged cranberries tend to dry out in the oven. Therefore it is wise to soak them in hot water prior to using them.

“What next?” I queried myself.

“Music” came to mind. But that presents another problem. My good lady doesn’t share my enthusiasm for hard blues-rock music. In fact, she is very dismissive of it with comments such as “He can’t sing” or “I can’t understand a word he’s saying”. Needless to say, I have repeatedly tried to tell her “It’s not the words, it’s the music”. Bemused annoyance.

Firing up the mp3 player, I found Joe Bonammasa wailing “Black Country Communion” and cranked up the volume.

Now was the time to call in the troops. First up is the Quarter Master General – he who feeds the Army while on the march In my Army however, this figure is represented by the mixing bowl. Reaching in to the cupboard I lift him out along with some of his officer class measuring cups, a fine sieve and hand mix master. Next stop – the fridge. Two eggs in hand and a litre of Greek yogurt (plain is mandatory – none of that flavoured crap), Last stop in the larder for oatmeal and brown sugar.

As I open the plastic bag of oatmeal, Joe is sorrowfully singing “As I pulled back the veil”. Dumping the oatmeal and the yogurt together in the rotund General’s spacious girth, I mixed the two together to soak. Time to mix some other stalwarts. Flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Then, the brawler is introduced to the mixture. He’s a stirring stick, tall and very red.

I can imagine him bellowing out like an old, weathered Sergeant Major “Now, see here, you obnoxious peasants. Listen to what I have to say and you’ll be better off for it. You will follow the stir stick and he will put you in your assigned position. lt’ll require a few times around the bowl.”

The mix master is lowered into the General’s interior. Switching it on, I run the mixer at slow speed until I have a homogenous Army. Next to arrive are the cranberries. Suddenly, I remember that the oven has to be run up to 400 degrees and that takes time.Turning it on, I reach back into the frig and take out a bag of broken walnuts. The next operation is slightly delicate but is of supreme importance. The recipe calls for 3 handfuls of walnuts as measured with Michael Dunn’s right hand. NO more, no less. Nobody but nobody is going to make off with this recipe. Most highly touted foods always claim to have a secret ingredient. But I’ve discovered that a secret measurement is bulletproof.

In they go as the stir stick takes them for another dance around the General’s interior. It’s time for the muffin tins. These are family heirlooms handed down through the generations – well– maybe not generation but at least one. They are all black with baked in oil and look like hell. My lady will have nothing to do with them.

Spooning the mixture into the tins, I put them in the oven and twenty minutes later, they are ready. Ten minutes, I lift one from a pan and give it to the aforementioned lady. She passes it under her nose while inhaling.

“Smells good” she opined then bit into the muffin. “It’s great!” she said with a big grin on her face.

“What did you expect but perfection? I am the Muffin Man!”.

Michael Dunn
2018-01-03