Jane measured two and a quarter cups of self-raising flour into the bowl. She had made these lemon muffins many times before. Half a cup of white sugar…. a pinch of salt — where had she put the salt? It was the only time she used salt in cooking. It wasn’t healthy. In the other bowl, one cup of semi-skimmed milk, half a cup of canola oil, one free-range egg and the grated rind of two large lemons.
She loved the smell of grated lemon. It was a feeling-alive smell. Tears welled, slipped and dropped into the bowl. Jane shook the dry ingredients into the wet and folded gently, turning over her loneliness with each spatula of muffin mix. Her mobile phone cut through the rhythm of her folding.
She had a message. “Hi, Mum. Social tomorrow night at the business school. $6. Can I go.“ Of course he could go. Money was tight, but he mustn’t miss out.
William was often on a healthy eating mission, but his share of lemon muffins rarely lasted to the next day. Not like Eleanor. She would leave at least one in the tin and then forget. It had been a family ritual. Lemon muffins with mugs of tea on the front porch. With William at university, it was only the three of them now. But Eleanor was often away too.
Jane sprayed the muffin tin with oil and scooped up twelve equal spoonfuls of mixture.
Twenty minutes in the oven. She had enough time to wash. It was early afternoon and changing out of the clothes she had slept in might give her reason not to waste the rest of the day.
Image credit: Tea with Lemon via Pixabay (CC0)