It wasn't just my women friends who had something to say about me and my muffins. Even an open-minded male friend chortled when I mentioned the dried fruit recipe. "Oh," he said after a moment, "you weren't kidding." This even though I'd taken the precaution of talking about my book first.
I don't remember any antimuffin diatribes in Gloria Steinem's Revolution from Within. In The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan didn't mention baked goods as being particularly dangerous to women's advancement; apparently she even liked to munch on them while having debates with her friends. Pundits have announced that feminism is dead—in this post–Sex and the City world, 20-something girls seem to have no use for it—so I thought it was safe to bake muffins again.
Or was all this derision due to the muffin's lowly position in the pastry hierarchy? Would I have gotten kudos instead of sneers if I said I'd learned how to whip up a mean poisson cru?
In hindsight, maybe I should have explained the reasons behind my muffin-baking spree. In a time of tremendous anxiety, when suddenly we all had so many questions, there was something simple I could do that yielded positive results almost instantly: Hunker down and make food. For me, that meant baking—something comforting, sweet, small, and warm. Something that could be shared, like the little chocolate cake that gave my mother a moment's distraction from worrying about that phone bill. Something that, when eaten alone in the afternoon with a cup of tea, could make me feel like everything would be okay.
So let my friends sneer. Let them laugh. Let 'em eat cake! Baking muffins doesn't make me a work-shirking antifeminist Good Wife. It makes me happy.
Get the recipe:
Spiced Banana-Walnut Muffins
Suzan Colón, a contributing writer for O, is the author of the forthcoming book Cherries in Winter (Doubleday), due out in November.
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