by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez / Friday, June 24, 2011
50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #3 Fannie Farmer - Homemade English Muffins
In 1896, Fannie published what would eventually become one of the most famous cooking-reference books in American history, The Boston-Cooking School Cookbook. In it was a new form of measurement for home cooks. Instead of using "a teacup's full of said-ingredient" or an ingredient "the size of your fist", she introduced the concept of standardized measurement in the form of cups and spoons. In this book she cited "scientific explanations" for the chemical processes that happened while cooking (much like Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking and Keys to Good Cooking...as mentioned in the "Gourmet prompt", only way earlier). There were sections on Helpful Hints for the Young Housekeeper, Suitable Combinations for Serving, preserving fruits and vegetables (canning & drying), as well as Food Values (nutritional information). Over the years, this book has instructed many housewives and budding cooks. It has evolved and come out in many new editions, and it now bears the name of its creator, Fannie Farmer. It still contains an "About the Kitchen" section with useful information on Menu Planning, Entertaining, Developing Good Cooking Habits plus facts and instruction on kitchen equipment, ingredients, and more. Farmer's influence on American Cookery is still relevant and today and this cookbook is still revised (by Marion Cunningham) and well-loved (check out some reviews on Amazon).
worth further exploration: Fanny's Last Supper (Recreating One Amazing Meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 Cookbook) by Christopher Kimball. Catch a glimpse at Fannie's Last Supper.
slightly adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
yield: 16 muffins
½ c. warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast
1½ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1 c. warm milk
3½ c. all-purpose flour + more as needed
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
½ c. white cornmeal
Cover lightly with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Heat a griddle until medium hot and film it with grease. Grease the inside of the rings and place them on the griddle. Put the muffins in the rings and cook over low to medium heat for 10 minutes on one side, and then flip and cook another 5 minutes on the other side. Slide onto wire racks to cool.
Split muffins with a fork and toast to serve. They get awesomely crunchy on the outside while warm and tender on the inside.
I am sharing this post with:
Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.