Remembrance of Summers Past

continued (page 2 of 2)

I called my mom.

“Just call Nancy,” she encouraged over the phone, one summer Saturday morning. “Tell her you feel like going out.” I felt self-conscious about showing up without my mom, or at least an invitation as Hannah’s weekend playmate. But my tiny apartment seemed to be shrinking in the summer heat, a convection cooker of urban anxiety. There, in desperation, I did something completely counterintuitive. In a kitchen approaching 100 degrees, I preheated the oven.

I got out a stick of butter, knowing it would be soft by the time I returned from the corner with evaporated milk and paper muffin cups. A few hours later, I fought the Penn Station frenzy and caught a train to Long Island, arriving just in time for the 11:05 ferry to Saltaire.

As I approached the house, David kept swishing the broom across the deck, not noticing as I opened the gate. Nancy glanced up from her book, saw me toting two Tupperware containers of blueberry muffins, and quietly gasped.

“You shouldn’t have,” she said. “But we’re so glad you did.”

Mom’s Blueberry Muffins

Makes 24 servings


3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 350° and line muffin tins with paper or foil muffin cups. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in 1/2 cup butter and mix very well, until the consistency resembles coarse cornmeal. Take 1 scant cup of mixture and set aside.
  • Add eggs, evaporated milk, and vanilla to the large bowl and mix until smooth. Gently fold in blueberries. Spoon mixture into 24 muffin cups. Melt additional 2 tablespoons of butter and mix with scant cup of flour mixture set aside for crumb topping. Sprinkle over tops of muffins and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until just golden at edges.
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