Fall is by far my favorite season. It marks the end of summer and summer clothes (I’d rather be a burrito of knitted things than in a swimsuit any day), it marks the beginning of the school year, and it’s full of the incredible magic of the world around us changing. The fall colors, the sweaters, the coffee, the chilly mornings and evenings, the crickets singing at noon, the harvest season, Thanksgiving . . . ALL OF IT. I LOVE ALL OF IT.
My mom homeschooled us from K-6 grade and she made the fall a time of complete joy. We loved school because it meant new books, Ticonderoga pencils, and learning about Ancient Egypt for the 235th time (kidding, but I have to put this in here for my mom and friend Celia). We raked leaves with my dad, making them into a leaf ‘n’ tarp burrito that he drove over to a nearby ditch. We hiked Bradbury “Mountain” (a beautiful hill nearby). We put pieces of paper over leaves and scribbled with the flat side of a pencil until the shape of the leaf showed up. My mom bought 3 pumpkins, one for each of us kids, and set them on the stoop in the front of the house (she still does this). The traditions go on and on and I love every single one of them.
One of the best things about fall, though, was mom’s fall recipe collection that came back out after its summer hibernation. This pumpkin bread/muffin recipe is from my grandmother originally and it’s one she used as a “tea bread” (she’s reeeally into high tea and scones and bone china and all that).
Since my husband and I live in California right now, I’m forcing fall on us in every way from turning up the A/C until we have to wear sweaters to making pumpkin everything.
- 2 C sugar
- 1 C veg oil
- 1 can pumpkin
- 3 C flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cloves
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
Mix it all in a big bowl. This batter keeps for a couple days, so you can make it the night before and have fresh muffins in the morning! When I was single and working full-time, I would make a batch of this batter and put it in the fridge. I’d get out my miniature cast-iron crock and make one giant muffin every morning for breakfast and this amount of batter lasted probably a week or so.
Sprinkle raw, chopped pecans or almonds on the top of each muffin for an extra, nutty crunch. They’re best served warm with butter.
Serves: well, how many muffins do you eat?