Cheese Muffins: A Recipe; A Tragedy

Cheese Muffins: A Recipe; A Tragedy
by guest blogger,
Jeanette Esau

cheese muffinsMmm, Government Cheese Muffins! BAD IDEA.

Imagine that you are a 21-year-old woman, living in a crappy suburban apartment with a loser boyfriend. Now imagine that you are home alone on a Saturday afternoon and are feeling a little peckish. Or even really hungry because you have no money for food. Then, you flip through a cookbook, reading recipes, looking for inspiration for the meager staples in your kitchen (this was pre-Internet, kids). Excited, you find a muffin recipe Lovely, warm, filling muffins. Oh, but what to add to this basic muffin recipe?

Scanning the list of add-ins you find the usual suspects: blueberry, cranberry, banana. There’s also poppy seed and oatmeal. No dice. You have none of those ingredients. But wait, what’s this?


Yes, cheese muffins. You’ve never heard of them. The recipe calls for cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese. No dice again. But, as luck would have it, the aforementioned loser boyfriend had procured from his parents, and let me emphasize that there is no exaggeration here, a block of welfare cheese. Or government-issued cheese, if you will. (That’s what he called and I don’t know the politically correct term. No, I’m not going to Google it either.)

So I baked the muffins. Cheese Muffins. See recipe below.

Basic Muffin Recipe (Better Homes & Gardens)


1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup milk
¼ cup cooking oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
2. In another bowl combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. If desired, sprinkle Streusel Topping over muffin batter in cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm.
4. Makes 12 muffins.


Poppy Seed Muffins: Prepare as above, except increase sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1 tablespoon poppy seeds to flour mixture.

Cheese Muffins: Prepare as above, except stir 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese into flour mixture.

Blueberry Muffins: Prepare as above, except fold 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries and, if desired, 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel into batter.

Banana Muffins: Prepare as above, greasing muffin cups (do not use paper bake cups). Reduce milk to 1/2 cup. Stir 3/4 cup mashed banana and 1/2 cup chopped nuts into flour mixture along with the egg mixture.

Cranberry Muffins: Prepare as above, except combine 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries and 2 tablespoons additional sugar; fold into batter.

Oatmeal Muffins: Prepare as above, except reduce flour to 1-1/3 cups and add 3/4 cup rolled oats to flour mixture.

Piping hot muffins achieved, a desperate, hungry woman, who admittedly was, at the time, a poor man picker and recipe picker, dug in.

How can I describe the flavor? The muffin part was all right, just your basic muffiny flavor, something like a very lightly sweetened cupcake. The cheese blended into it was not, well, not good. It was as though a can of spray cheese had been left in the sun in 1972 and placed into a dark cupboard, then brought forth many years later to ruin my life.

‘How do you know if processed cheese food has gone bad, though,’ I thought. I mean, it’s not dairy. I couldn’t be sure, so I just continued eating. Then I ate another one. After three the jury was still out, but my gastrointestinal system had reached a decision. Cheese muffins, particularly Welfare Cheese Muffins, are bad. They are not in any way edible.

For the rest of the day and evening, I rode the rocky waves of nausea and perspiration. I clutched the arm of the battered faux leather recliner and waited. I would not bend to the heady call of regurgitation. I would not vomit that day, my friends. Nor did I later. Perhaps that was a mistake even greater than my choice to bake when I could have just scrambled the one egg and drank the milk. (Or gone to my mom’s and begged for food.)

The aftermath? For at least five years after consuming those vile and putrid items, I could recreate the nausea and sweating simply by thinking the words: Cheese Muffins. Speaking them caused my brain’s vomit center to stir. Explaining it to others, I really couldn’t explain myself, but didn’t find it funny when they chanted “cheese muffins, cheese muffins.”

Truly, kids, be thankful you have the Internet and can, if you so choose, induce vomiting with only a banana and some lemon-lime soda. Because letting welfare cheese muffins sit in your body longer than it takes to say, “Mmm! This is… Uh-oh….” BAD IDEA.


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