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Living in KyotoGrowing Up in the 1950's

Know Your Blueberry Muffins

By June 20, 20162 Comments

basket of blueberries

Once upon a time, blueberries were a seasonal treat.  Now, they can be enjoyed year round.  Once upon a time, the brief season was highly anticipated, marking a mid-summer’s high point. At my mother’s side, I quickly learned to be able to discriminate among available muffins.   Growing up, they were on our breakfast table almost daily for a precious few weeks, when one otherwise ordinary bakery on High Street in Holyoke, MA took to baking perfect muffins with a take-no-prisoners ferocity.

There are three important categories for blueberry muffins that need to be recognized. Only muffins in Category C are to be savored.  The others are to be mostly ignored, particularly if you have any self respect.

A.  The not-so-good kind, made with artificial blueberries, often from a mix.  Not bad if it is from a mix and you dump the artificial berries and add lots of your own fresh ones. Only tolerable they’re so fresh and you can eat them warm. If you haven’t baked them yourself, AVOID them.

B.  The cakey, dry kind, perhaps well-intentioned, but always missing the mark.  A muffin of this category was an unfailing disappointment.  Looking good from the outside, but too dry and too skimpy on the berries.  Turn away.



C. The moist, overloaded with blueberries kind.  Intense respect. A muffin from this category was always a revelation; plump and irregular, muffin streaked through with indigo blue berries that burst during baking.  The fluted paper cup is a nice touch, but is not necessary.  Ditto for a crumb or sugar topping, or adding any extra ingredients.  It’s like guilding the lily.

If you’re able to, eat your muffins warm.  I also recommend, splitting and grilling them, then coating them lavishly with melted butter and forgetting any thoughts about a diet.

extraordinary muffins

The Way You Want A Blueberry Muffin to Look




Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Eleanor Moriarty says:

    ARGHHHHHHH you nailed it again with blueberry muffins. I have 3 different recipes. I also have blueberry bushes on land. But the best is from Maine, late August, but dozens, travel long hours,arrive home, make muffins, and brew the coffee. That is my heaven

    • devapnek says:

      ooooh. Love to post your recipes! Will you share and explain the differences between the finished products?