TWD: Allspice Crumb Muffins

Before this recipe, I’d never baked anything that highlighted allspice and was pleasantly surprised by how delicious these muffins were.    I made these a couple of weeks ago, which, while it was nice to be “ahead” didn’t work out so well, since I didn’t get a photo AND I can’t really remember much about baking them-other than that the recipe was easy and the muffins had a great top (Top ‘O the muffin to you!)   For a more substantive post about the muffins (and the recipe) please visit Kayte at Grandma’s Kitchen Table

In other news, I started tutoring at the grade school Wednesday afternoon.  The teacher in charge of the volunteers looked at the list and said “Oh, you have HH.  Hmm….he’s a bit…. stubborn.   But I’m sure you’ll be okay.” 

Unfortunately (maybe?) HH was absent yesterday, so I was assigned another child, “Houston,” a short, slightly chunky, tad bit smelly, be-earringed boy in the 7th grade.   The kind of kid that breaks your heart because you can tell immediately that he’s treated as a “have-not” by the other children and probably many adults.

We sat down; Houston went to get his snack of chocolate milk and graham crackers, then sat down and said “Want to see something?”   Wishing to establish a rapport, I eagerly responded “Oh, yes,” expecting to see a trinket from his backpack or a photo of his dog.  

He punched the table.

Not out of anger, just to show me how hard he could punch.

Hmm… is there a polite way to respond “negatron” to “Want to see something?”

We started his social studies homework; “What countries import oil to Russia?”

Houston: “I’ve changed my fingerprints. (shows me his fingertips)  See, I used a pin and poked it and now I have little scars and my fingerprints are different.  Now I can never get caught.”


“Can you find the are arrows on the map showing what countries import oil to Russia?”

Houston: “It doesn’t hurt to put a pin through your skin.  I did it on my arm and here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and then put a string through all the holes.”


“See, this arrow, what country is that?”

Houston:  “I’ve been fishing before.  I caught a fish and put it in the blender and the lid wasn’t on it and fish blood and guts went all over the ceiling of our trailer.”

“Let’s list ten Middle Eastern countries and their capitals.”

Houston:  “And then we had to move out of the trailer and my uncle was sad because he liked the smell of the fish blood.  And my mom was mad that we had to move and she and my uncle wrote bad words on the walls in paint. Like ‘FU.'” 

“Look at how many of the countries end in ‘stan.’  I wonder why.  Has your teacher mentioned that?”

Houston:  “I know how to shoot a gun.  My grandpa has guns and we shoot them.   I shot a turkey before.”

“Let’s read about the Nile River and answer these questions.”

Houston:  “I shot it in the foot.  And it ran away like this.” (demonstrates a hobbled strut)

“Is the Aswan High Dam a good thing or a bad thing for Egypt?  List two advantages and two disadvantages of the dam.”

Houston responded:

The damn controls the water.  I can speak Spanish.  It keeps the Nile river from flooding the crops.  My mom had a boyfriend that was Mexican and he had two Mexican kids.   The damn makes it easier for people to cross the river so they can bury their dead.  And they taught me un poco Espanol. If people can’t cross the river then they won’t have life after death.   Mainly swear words though.  The damn can sometimes make the floods worse, though, which kills the crops.  I think the damn is a bad thing and they should remove the damn.

I had been instructed to have him dictate his answers and to write them down for him (due to a disability, he has a hard time holding a pen.)   It wasn’t until AFTER I had written his response that I realized I had misspelled DAM each and every time in the essay.  

I think I may be fired from (volunteer) tutoring!  Which is worse, that I can’t spell, can’t keep the kid focused, or that the word I can’t spell made an unintentional swear word?  (Yes, I did go through and cross out all the “n’s” at the end of the dams.)  (But it won’t be that difficult for the teacher to realize my mistake, and, alas, that I am a dumbass.)  

After tutoring I ran and picked up Reagan and told her how it went.  She said “Did you know he’s Mongolian?”     Confused, (“Like the beef?”)  it seemed unlikely to me that a boy from our little town would be from Eastern Asia.   Then it dawned on me, someone (and sadly, probably an adult, given the obscurity of the term) likely referred to him as a “mongol”  and this dated, derogatory term was misinterpreted by children, including my daugher, that  misunderstood and didn’t know better.

I’d say tutoring went “so-so” and left me feeling a bit sad.   (I definitely root for the underdog and this kid is like the underdog of the underdogs)   But the muffins, the muffins were fab.


6 Responses to “TWD: Allspice Crumb Muffins”

  1. Beth Says:

    LOL! That was funny but not, because I feel bad for the kid. But still, LOL. I love the top ‘o the muffin too! HA!

  2. Megan Says:

    What a sad story – and what a great person you are for trying so hard. It just breaks your heart when you can read between the lines and see what’s going on.


    Oh, and Top O’ The Muffin to you too!

  3. juju73 Says:

    Wow…I honestly didn’t notice that you had misspelled DAM…I was still thinking about him poking himself with a needle and pulling a string through…wow…goodness. What a trooper you were!!!! And glad you liked the muffins!!!!

  4. Wendy Says:

    oh no, poor kid. You’re a strong person. Glad you liked the muffins.

  5. katearch1978 Says:

    Jennifer, you have the most interesting people come into your life. I swear I could sit and listen to/read your stories for hours! 🙂

  6. Mary Says:

    Jennifer, I am glad your muffins were good. I have yet to make them. I remember threading my fingers together as a kid. Don’t you? It is really sad though about everything else, and I’m glad he had a kind person to connect with, even if just for an afternoon.

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