On this date in 1801 Elisha Brown Jr. pressed a 1235 pound cheese ball on his farm. He presented it to president Thomas Jefferson at the White House.*
I don’t know what Mister Jefferson’s wife did with the cheese. It’s very likely that there was an old ‘mammy’ in the kitchen who had to deal with it. That’s a mighty big piece of cheese, especially considering that July is high summer in America and I don’t think Mister Jefferson had a fridge or deep freeze.
If Mister Brown had given me the cheese, I’d have been quite annoyed, really. I’d very likely get cooking immediately and make lots of things I could freeze: lasagne, probably, can’t think of many other things … muffins, definitely.
Mrs Calhoun asked for my muffin recipe yesterday. I’ll gladly share it, although it’s not ‘mine’. It belongs to Mrs de Villiers, the grand doyenne of South African cooking. It is the only muffin recipe I ever use (my edition of her book dates back to 1984, it has been reprinted numerous times) and it is so versatile, you can toss almost anything into the mixture; cheese, chopped bacon or ham, fruit, currants, nuts …
500ml (2 cups) cake flour
20ml (4 teaspoons) baking powder
2.5ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt
25ml (2 tablespoons) sugar
225ml (7/8 cup) milk
1 egg, well beaten
50ml (4 tablespoons) melted butter or margarine The only margarine you’ll find in my home is Homer Simpson’s wife on the TV screen, Mrs de Villiers. Shame on you!
Sift together the dry ingredients.
Combine the milk and egg.
Add this to the dry ingredients and mix quickly.
Add the melted butter and mix lightly.
At this point I add the ingredient of my choice to the mixture. I usually add 1 cup of some kind of cheese.
Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into greased muffin pan and bake in hot oven at 200C (400F) for 15 to 20 minutes.
*All history sourced from foodreference.com