On Sunday mornings my dad would take my sisters and I out to breakfast. He had a few places he liked to take us including this greasy spoon joint 15 minutes from our house. I am and always have been a sweet breakfast kind of person. But this Sunday I wanted eggs and bacon and cheese. I love me an egg sandwich on a toasted and buttered English muffin. So that’s what I ordered. I ate that and washed it down with orange juice. This was before I drank coffee and my dad always ordered us orange juice, you know for the vitamins and stuff.
After breakfast my dad would drop us off at our mom’s house where we would spend the rest of the day relaxing and doing homework. I distinctly remember asking my mom later that day if I was going to get fat from eating the kind of breakfast I did that morning. She said no of course not, but I wasn’t convinced. Looking back on that moment now I see what happened as an intuitive eating win. I thought about what sounded good and satisfying to me, ordered it, and enjoyed eating it. But that day and many other days, I thought I had made a grave mistake.
I was taught to not trust my body. For me, what this looked like was years of believing that if I didn’t exercise for a day or two I was going to get fat. It was believing that if I ate something “bad” like cake or pizza, that I would get fat unless I “exercised it all off” the next day. It was not listening to internal hunger or fullness cues. It was not listening to the voice inside that said “cookies sound so good and comforting right now” or “that fried chicken would really hit the spot.” I denied myself pleasure and comfort and ultimately, happiness. Instead I believed that happiness would come when I was smaller and skinnier. The messages that surround us from friends, family, magazines, capitalism, patriarchy, society, teach us that the answer lies outside of us rather than within us. I have to say a big fuck you to those messages on a daily basis in order to remind myself of this.
These English muffins, which are homemade and exceptionally delicious, remind me of the sheer pleasure of food as food, not as good or bad. Eating once forbidden foods and enjoying them is a way for me to take my power back. These english muffins are seriously so frickin good. MAKE THEM!
Muffins - adapted from Christina Tosi's recipe on Food 52 2 1/3 tablespoon of yeast (I estimated the 1/3 of the tablespoon) 1/4 cup lukewarm water 1 3/4 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup honey 1 2/3 tablespoon salt (estimated here too) 2 cups whole wheat flour 2 cups white flour 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature In a mixing bowl combine yeast and warm water. Heat buttermilk till just warm. Mix in honey. Then and add to yeast mixture. Let sit for a few minutes to let the yeast activate. Add flour and salt and mix, mix, mix. If you are using a stand mixer, you will mix for a few minutes. If by hand, probably a bit more. The dough will be sticky. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, letting the butter incorporate into the dough before adding the next piece. Scrape dough into a greased mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in the fridge for a few hours or on the counter for an hour, and then the fridge for half an hour. The dough is easier to handle when it has been chilled. Pull out some baking sheets. Pour in some cornmeal or masa till there is about a 1/4 inch thick layer. After the dough has rested and expanded, generously flour a counter and divide dough into 18 pieces. Roll each piece into a little ball and pat into English muffin shape. Line the muffins on the masa filled baking sheet. Refrigerate shaped muffins for an hour up to three days. When you are ready to bake: Heat up a cast iron skillet or other skillet for at least 5 minutes on low to medium heat. Put the oven on to 250 degrees, placing a baking sheet inside. Working with 3 or 4 muffins at a time, slowly, very slowly cook the muffins over low heat. Do one side for 4 to 8 minutes and then flip over to cook the other side. Then slide griddled muffins on to baking sheet in the oven to cook for another 10 minutes or so.