Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Yielding to Autumn
Then I figured I might as well cook on a morning I was confined anyway. I needed to make a batch of breakfast muffins that only I eat. Full of wheat bran, oat bran, and flax, they seem healthy to me. I like mine cold, the muffin top-sized ones, held in one hand and a warm tea cup in the other for dark winter mornings.
While we should give up sugar, salt, eggs, oil, and everything else that makes life tasty, we have only cut down. Autumn made me think of old fashioned pumpkin bread from days gone by and decided to splurge on the sugar. Everyone has a pumpkin bread recipe, but mine is nearly forty years old and came from some Headstart cooks. They made it in bulk and baked it in soup cans, passing it out to the classrooms for snacks. It was the best ever, and I think of them when I use their recipe.
I was a young college student and thrilled to be working at Headstart that summer. I loved the children and was still trying to decide what subject and grade level I wanted to teach someday. I was an aid to an experienced teacher and every day was interesting. I had two special boys I remember from those days.
Patrick was Afro American and Eric was Hispanic. They were getting to know each other one day by feeling each other’s hair! The different hair consistency amazed them both. My own hair fell down to the middle of my back and Patrick, who was terribly shy, often stroked my hair for comfort. In the beginning he was stuck to me and my hair since he cried every morning when his mother left. One day his mother told me to never cut my hair, as it was all Patrick talked about and was his whole reason for coming—to touch my long hair.
Another day Eric’s mother came to school furious. She talked to the teacher about my inappropriate language with the boys. This was long before I learned colorful language from all my student experiences! We all finally figured out that one day when the boys wouldn’t stop giggling, I had asked if they were sitting on tickling feathers. Eric had translated that at home as my asking, “Do you have a feather up your *&%#?”
This morning I baked the bread in pans, and though I never alter the recipe, today I threw in some milk chocolate chips I found in the cupboard. Although the recipe can’t be improved on, I wanted to use them. Later, after they cool completely and sit wrapped a spell, I will check out the taste. But what I really will taste is autumn and memories made long ago, revisited through pumpkin bread!