Louise Anderson, who runs The Pantry, a gourmet gift shop on Third Street, likes to sleep late. Her husband Dick, chairman of the English Department at the town’s high school, is an early riser. Therefore it is Dick’s job to make the muffins. By the time Louise is ready to open the shop, the morning baking is done.
Oh, what wonderful pastries these muffins are! French breakfast muffins is what Louise calls them, the exotic label apparently referring to the fact that rather than use a conventional muffin tin, Dick bakes each muffin in a crockery custard cup. They are displayed in their cups at the short coffee counter in the back of Louise’s store; and when someone comes in to order one, she takes a sharp knife and runs it deep into the cup along the edge of the muffin, freeing it from the baking vessel and letting it fall into a glass dish. Louise serves it with a fork. The price for one: 75 cents.
It is a plain muffin – lightly spiced, moist and buttery, with a crunchy sugar top. It’s a flawless morning snack, the kind of simple cake that goes so well with a cup of coffee or espresso. Other than these muffins and a few biscotti, there’s nothing to eat at the back of Louise Anderson’s shop, which is mostly filled with kitchen nick-nacks. She told us that the counter and cooking area were installed in the back of the store so she could hold cooking classes and demonstrations there. She figured that as long as she had a kitchen, she may as well make coffee for local friends and passers-by in the morning, and offer Dick’s good muffins on the side.