Friday, July 12, 2019

A Baker's Dozen

Blueberry-Cashew Muffins
A "baker's dozen" means 13 items.  It is thought that the expression originated from the custom of bakers adding an extra loaf to each dozen loaves of bread sold, because, although each loaf was required to weigh a certain amount and there were heavy penalties for selling short weight, it was difficult to guarantee that each loaf weighed the exact required weight at the time, with rather imprecise scales and measures, etc.  So, bakers added an extra loaf, free of charge, to avoid being short weight.  
Today, I wanted some muffins to have with my tea.  Although it was a fairly hot day, I decided to go ahead and bake some (as opposed to making them in the microwave).  I added a container of blueberries I had in the fridge into the batter and some cashews and sprinkled the tops with some turbinado (raw) sugar.  

I think my craving for muffins is a result of seeing this display at the museum the other day:
Kitchen Implements Display: Biscuit Pan and Rolling Pin
There were some crockery pieces to the right, but I was more intrigued by the biscuit pan, which I thought looked a lot like a muffin pan, albeit a shallower version.

There were quite a few displays pertaining to food - gathering, growing, preparation, etc. 

Native American Food Gathering Implements 
The inclusion of the blue plastic fly swatter was a bit confusing, but, I think it was there to show the design principles between the item used to beat the grains into the gathering basket and the swatter. 

Food Preparation Implements
The tri-cornered winnowing basket reminded me of the winnowing basket used in Sri Lanka to winnow rice!  I loved the inclusion of the Magic Bullet blender (at the back, behind the round basket) - these displays are set up, in part, to educate children, and to show them how things used to be done in the past (grinding acorns and herbs in a pestle and mortar) and to compare them with more modern methods.  There were desk areas and computers set up at various places, where children could work on their homework assignments and there were both elementary school age children and teenagers doing research. 

Cooking Implements - Clay Pots and Aluminum Pots

Serving Dishes

My favorite food-related display had to be the chuck wagon!  It was set up in the middle of a large room:

Modified Wagon Carrying Food Supplies to Feed the Cowboys

According to the information board, Taxas cattleman Charles Goodnight is credited with creating the first chuckwagon in 1866 when he fixed a cupboard made of orangewood to the back of a wagon.  "Chuck"is a nineteenth century slang term for food, it says.

The cover of the chuck box comes down to form a table

One side of the Wagon, showing the chuck box and barrel of vinegar (for washing and preserving food.

Some of the Names the Cook was Known By

Boot or Cuna - A cowhide hung under the wagon bed to carry heavy items

Cuna was the Spanish word for "cradle".  A stretched cowhide would be hung under the wagon bed to carry heavy items such as wood and buffalo chips.

Front of the Wagon
I assume those are the canvas covers of the wagon, rolled up and stored under the seat.

On the other side of the wagon, was a barrel of water

The Chuck Box had Drawers and Shelves for Various Items
 There was information about the types of food items on a chuckwagon:

Cowboy Fare
The chuckwagon was a pantry and a kitchen on wheels!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Freshly baked muffins
- Chatting on the phone with family members
- Warm summer days
- Relaxing with a book
- Working fans!

This week seems to have flown by!  Already, it is almost Friday and daughter will be here, Friday night!


  1. Those muffins looks delicious. I didn’t bake for a while.
    I wonder how many in Sri Lanka still use winnowing fans. My mom used have one, but it’s long gone.

    1. Thank you. I try not to bake during the summer, but, sometimes, I crave various baked goods!

      Yes, I suppose hardly anyone winnows their rice before cooking, these days. Just like I rarely use my nabiliya to remove the stones when I wash my rice now.

  2. Replies
    1. These were good blueberries. I think, the next time they are on sale, I will buy some to freeze them. :)

  3. All very interesting. Who knew a chuck wagon was named after a real Chuck?

    1. Ha, ha, I wonder if they used to call it Chuck's chuckwagon? :D

  4. Those muffins look delicious and I'm craving some myself now.
    I also love to look at food related items in museums, but especially at kitchens in old houses. It's fascinating to see how they used to be.
    Keep cool and enjoy your visit with your daughter. X

    1. They were rather tasty and, I'm afraid I ate too many of them, while still warm from the oven!

      The preparation of food over the years is very interesting, isn't it? Meal preparations, when I was a child, was rather labor intensive because most things had to be done from scratch.

      Thanks, Jules. Hope your summer is going well, too.

  5. What a cool post. I loved seeing all the Chuck Wagon pictures. I wish I could have some muffins too!

    1. Thank you, Anne. I'm glad you enjoyed seeing the pictures. :) Can you make some muffins with nut flour? Would that be keto compliant?

  6. Thanks Bless, this is a really fascinating post and I've learnt something new ... I didn't know 'chuck' was a slang word for food.

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Eileen. :)

  8. How interesting, I was intrigued by the name "Boot" for the carrying cowhide stretched under the wagon, because in England "Boot" is the word used for what we call the trunk of a car in Canada.
    I'm sure you are happy that you could make your delicious muffins without using the old fashioned equipment in the museum!

    1. Yes, I thought of the boot of a car, when I saw that, myself. :) Ha, ha, one time, I saw rotary egg beaters among "old" kitchen implements in a museum and laughed! I had one until a few years ago, when I decluttered it!

  9. Fun photos, thanks for sharing. I have a friend that collects old cooking utensils, she would have coveted that muffin pan. Her latest hunt is for old graters - she picked up at least a dozen during our last 2 antiquing outings. I myself am glad that cooking utensils are now nonstick and otherwise improved!

    1. Collecting old cooking utensils seem to be a popular hobby! I read about someone who collects old rolling pins! And I probably have enough cookie cutters to make a collection even without intending to collect them! :D


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