I remember sitting up late at night thinking about how I was never going to fit in this society. That is, the red, white and blue society of the United States of America. I constantly thought about how I could become more American. I was 11 years old when we came to the States and at that age it’s kind of rough: you have to make friends, but you can’t speak their language, you go to the bus stop and you have no clue what a “quarter” or a “dime” is. Or, you sit down in the school cafeteria with your piece of bread that has a red pepper spread on it, while everyone else has this buttery light brown spread with some yummy jelly on top. (That was a tough day – they were all looking at me and saying “ewwww!” – all because of my Ajvar sandwich).
I started watching and observing – I wanted to see what it took to become an American, or at least Americanized. I noticed that most of the girls were shorter than me, so I started to pray night and day that I wouldn’t grow taller. I also noticed that they were mostly blond, so I decided that I also was going to be blond – eeeek not so fast! – said Mama. (I had to wait till I turned 18 to dye my hair … my parents were pretty strict.) Then my lunchbox started looking more like theirs; bologna and cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, PB and jelly sandwiches, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.
One day a girl named Sarah opened up her lunch box and took out a roundish-cake-looking thing that had blueberries sticking out of it. At the beginning I had a deep foreign accent (which got better with the years – now I don’t even have an accent) and because of that accent I was too afraid to talk. But, I somehow gathered up enough courage that day to ask Sarah what that was that she was eating. With a huge surprised and disgusted look on her face, she said, “What the hell do you think it is, you stupid foreigner!” Oh I was crushed… As proud as I was/am of my heritage, at that point I just wished that I could be like the rest. The girl on the other side of her came to my rescue – she said something to Sarah (I wish I understood exactly what) that made Sarah turn around and apologize. And she told me that her yummy treat was called a Muffin. From that day on I started to make nut muffins…lots of them! Savory, sweet, cheesy, meaty – you name it, I’ve tried it in a muffin. It was the roundish-cake-looking thing that was going to make me American. Gotta love a child’s mind. 🙂
I wish that I could go back and tell that little “foreigner” girl that everything was going to be more than alright: That she was going to be accepted for who she was and not to force herself to become somebody else. Eh, live and learn!
Nut Muffins to the rescue!
Cherry, Date and Nut Muffins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of Milk
- 1 egg , beaten
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup dates , chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts , chopped
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries , pitted and chopped, or 1 (12-ounce) package frozen cherries, defrosted and chopped
- Preheat oven to 425.
- In a deep mixing bowl, mix milk, egg, and oil.
- In a separate bowl add in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once. Stir until dry ingredients are moist but not smooth.
- Mix in the dates and walnuts.
- Fold in the cherries.
- Fill greased muffin pan 2/3 full.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
- Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes, then remove them from the muffin pan and finish cooling on a baking rack.