Friday, November 30, 2007


I've eaten quite a few muffins recently. This is due to poor planning. Or possibly incredibly good planning, if we consider it from a just-in-time-delivery perspective; I go to bed late enough and sleep just long enough to get enough rest to remain conscious for the next day and still get to the station with enough time not to miss the train to be late for the office.
However, irrespective of whether I apply one interpretation of the situation or another, I do not have enough time for a hearty breakfast before leaving the house. Instead, I have to feed myself on food acquired between station and desk. So let's consider the different muffins I've eaten:
Pret A Manger orange and lemon muffin
The base muffin is quite good - light and fluffy, not particularly greasy. Not sure what it's doing for the amount of sugar one consumes every day, because the heart of it seems to be a wodge of orange jam (not marmalade, let's be quite specific here) that's been injected, and then a big sugary splat of icing on the top, in counterpoint to the warmth of the muffin itself.
Over time, familarity began to breed contempt for this muffin. When I saw the staff loading the baked goods cabinet at Pret with a battery of these muffins, out of a cellophane wrapped package (what happened to everything made instore, Julian?) some small part of my heart ceased to beat. But such infarcations aside, it was a mainstay of my breakfast routine.
Until I returned from Japan, and EVERYTHING CHANGED
The orange and lemon muffin was gone. In its place, because it was only a month to Christmas, was the Jingle Berry Muffin
To begin with, I was confused. The thing about having a routine is that it doesn't change; in this protean and infinitely mutable life of mine, it was a forlorn hope that there would be anything I could hold on to for long, but at least there was some illusion that when the clock struck three, there would be honey still for tea, or at least an over-sweetened breakfast good. But not so.
However, when I got over the initial shock of muffin-bereavement, I started to think this would be a nice change; it would give me the chance to get in the Christmas spirit, add some novelty to my life, and who knows? Perhaps after the festive season the good old orange and lemon muffin would be granted a reprieve.
Not that this would matter, because the Jingle Berry is doing quite a good job of putting me off muffins entirely
  • It's got a stupid name. There are many indignities that one has to suffer, but does one of them have to be sounding like one of Santa's elves when you ask for some food?
  • It's rather dry on the outside. Dusted with sugar and flour rather than moist icing means that it doesn't have the same pleasant mouth-feel that the orange & lemon delivered. Which wouldn't be so bad by itself except...
  • It's like eating a gigantic abcess. Yes, you read that right. The outside of it looks like a muffin, but inside there's a cathedral-like cavity, the bottom half of which has been filled with pureed berry of some undecipherable provenance. It's a muffin. It's a baked good. There might be some goo inside it - that would be acceptable - but it shouldn't feel like a huge cyst that you're about to puncture. Apologies to the squeamish if this makes you feel at all unwell, but spare a thought for me when I'm trying to breakfast

More to follow - the puzzling unreliability of Starbucks, the horror of Cafe Nero and the cheques that Candy Cakes writes that it's unclear its muffins can cash to come...


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