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Take a look at vintage cookbooks

Comparing a recipe book published in 1938 with a later edition in 1990 is an interesting exercise. Cooking instructions in the 1938 The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer are very abbreviated. Those in the 1990 edition seem excessive. The ingredients are the almost the same for muffins.

Plain Muffins (1938)

Ingredients

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg, well beaten

Combine dry ingredients. Combine liquid ingredients and add to dry mixture as quickly as possible, mixing only enough to dampen flour. Drop by spoonfuls in buttered muffin pans and bake 25 minutes in hot oven 400°F. Makes 12 muffins.

This recipe offers variations: berry muffin, twin mountain muffins and date muffins.

The same recipe in the 1990 edition, now called the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, is called Basic Muffins. The instructions are:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter the muffin pans. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg (which is slightly beaten not well beaten), milk, and butter, stirring only enough to dampen the flour; the batter should not be smooth. Spoon into the muffin pans, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

Variations offered are blueberry muffins, pecan muffins, whole-wheat muffins, date or raisin muffins and bacon muffins.

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