Very Adequate (Recipe Included!)


This past weekend I made some very adequate muffins. You’re in luck, because I did include the recipe below so you too can make some adequate muffins.  I hesitated to even think about posting the recipe because, well, these muffins were so ordinary. But here I am, braving the critics and sharing with you a very sufficient, but not life changing recipe.

I’m going against the grain on this one because it seems that in today’s food world ordinary just will not do.  Everything is about “best meal ever” and “surprise your taste buds” and “rockstar” status applied to just about anything.  We use terms like super foods, we watch cupcake wars, and we subtly compete with on another on who is the coolest based on what they ate. And don’t even get me started on hipster food trends like artisan toast and  mason jar salads.  It’s as though every food experience must be transformative, else it’s nothing at all. It’s not that any of these things are ill intended, it’s just that they are hyped up so much and have  charged connotations associated with them that play to our desires to be the cool kid by partaking in these foods. Here’s the thing, 99% of the meals that I create don’t get anywhere near “best  ever”, yet still I find myself very satisfied.  I can’t possibly achieve amazing every time I’m in the kitchen, or even most of the time.  And here’s another truth, while I’m at it – some of the recipes I make (even with kale, my beloved super food) really stink.  There I said it. Total fails, but usually we  eat them anyway because ,guess what, we  don’t need every meal to be a 10 in order to enjoy dinner as a family. I am a good cook, but I’m not a super hero.

I think this whole notion of over selling our food experiences  just sets us up for disappointment and for feeling like somehow we are inadequate when we are simply being ordinary normal humans trying to nourish our bodies and figure out what works for us.  I believe that disappointment  can trigger us to keep seeking a flavor experience we will never find, and hence keep eating to chase the dream, so to speak.  I am so incredibly guilty of falling into this pattern too.  Maybe one day, just for fun, I’ll get a little chuckle by looking back at this blog to find posts where I did very thing I’m renouncing right now. So be it.  Live and learn, right?

Well, here’s where I take a stand.  I am taking a stand for the ordinary. For the average. For the sufficient.  I’m committing to underselling and over delivering, or just underselling and  delivering what was promised (which was very adequate)  instead of overselling and under delivering, but being okay with it because I’m just being myself. It is enough.  Do you want to join me?  You are enough too.  It’s okay if you still eat your salad out of a plastic Tupperware because you’re petrified to carry around glass jars of food for fear of them breaking.  It’s fine if you don’t like kale, I still love you anyway. And it’s totally acceptable if you sometimes just scrape together whatever you have in the kitchen to put a meal on the table because on that day it’s all you’ve got in you.  Here’s what I think will happen: when we liberate ourselves from the expectation of what something should be, we are free to experience it for what it is.  We can release attachment to outcome, to how it defines us, to our egos. And yes, even a little muffin can have this power.  Food can be a metaphor for life, so why not learn the power of radical acceptance via our nibbles and noshes.

So here I give to you my very adequate, but rather satisfactory pumpkin and carrot muffin recipe.  Why do I love this recipe despite the fact that I wish they could be a little sweeter sometimes or a little more moist others?  I love it because it’s flexible, simple, easy to prepare, and everybody in my house enjoys them.  And who care’s about “Uh-mazing” when I am surrounded by warm smiles and full bellies from my family, who loves me and appreciate my very adequate cooking.

This recipe was adapted from the Applesauce Muffin recipe in the Bob’s Redmill Baking Book.

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coconut flour (or just do 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup oat or spelt or barley flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 T sugar
2.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each: cinnamon, all spice
1/2 tsp ginger (I like to get mine from The Spice House)
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups of canned pumpkin (or mashed baked sweet potato)
1 cup shredded carrots (I cheat and buy shredded carrots, but you can shred them in the food processor or grate them)
1/4 cup molasses (original recipe calls for brown sugar)
3 eggs
3 T oil
a few Tablespoons of water, depending on the consistency once you’ve mixed the wet and dry ingredients. The denser the flour, the more likely you’ll need water.
Optional: 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare your muffin tins.  Whisk or sift the flours, the 1 T sugar, the baking soda and the spices.  In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, vanilla, and molasses. Fold in the pumpkin and the carrots.  Add the dry ingredients until just mixed, adding water as needed to make the batter thick enough to easily spoon out, but still very moist (not runny).  Don’t over mix.  Once mixed, fold in the coconut if desired.
Fill the muffin tin well about 3/4 of the way, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.