Author: Blume, Judy
Book: Summer Sisters
Difficulty rating: Harry Potter
Deliciousness rating: Exceeds Expectations
“Trisha’s Melt-in-Your-Mouth Muffins, fresh-baked daily. Light. Fluffy. Not like those lead balls they sell at the Dog. All the best restaurants and shops are after her muffins now.” (Blume 43)
“Outside, they ran into Trisha, who was delivering muffins to the gourmet food shop. ‘Lordy…look who’s here!’ Trisha set the tray on the hood of her truck and handed each of them a peach muffin. (Blume 57)
My friend and library school classmate Hannah has come to visit! I see her maybe once a year if I’m lucky, and since she loves books and food as much as I do, it was clear that she had to be a guest bibliochef on our blog.
Which book holds extra-special meaning to Hannah and me? Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. Yes, Summer Sisters we love with a love that is more than love. Let’s ignore that our choice is not seasonally appropriate for February. Hey, Hannah’s visiting from the frigid Twin Cities, so these balmy San Diego temps must feel like summer to her.
Book Review by Hannah & Miko:
Hannah and I agree that timing is important in reading Summer Sisters: early high school is the PERFECT age to read this book. Hannah requested a copy for her 15th birthday; I chanced by a large-print edition at age 14 on a rare visit to the adult fiction floor of my library. (Summer Sisters was the first non-juvenile book I ever checked out with my library card.) With so much of the story given to relationships — romantic, platonic, and familial — it’s pretty much the most engrossing thing a gossipy high school freshman can lay her hands on. Plus, we were intrigued by some of the more…worldly aspects of the story. Judy Blume has a well-earned reputation for writing about teens and sex in a frank and unadorned way, and as we came of age, her books were our guide.
Summer Sisters follows two friends, Vix and Caitlin, from age 12 to 31, their lives marked by summers on Martha’s Vineyard. Hannah and I have both reread the book multiple times — my first copy crumbled to bits, and my current one’s not in great shape either. Each year that we revisited Vix and Caitlin, we related wholeheartedly to different stages in their lives and to the depiction of a long-term female friendship. We know the story well enough to quote passages, and we feel like we’ve grown up with the characters.
Food isn’t really given much of a spotlight, at least not descriptively, but what mention there is fits our idea of the affluent/bohemian lifestyle that Vix gets to sample when she’s on the island. In celebration of Hannah’s visit and Summer Sisters, we will be having a day of Summer Sisters meals: Trisha’s Melt-in-Your-Mouth Muffins for breakfast, Caitlin and Vix’s Spaghetti with Green Stuff for lunch, and Abby’s Simple Summer Meal for dinner.
Trisha’s Melt-in-Your-Mouth Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Perfect Blueberry Muffins and Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
Muffin Batter Ingredients:
- 5 tbs Kerrygold butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1/2 tsp grated Meyer lemon zest
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup peaches, chopped (we used frozen, since ’tis not the season)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tbs granulated sugar
- 3 tbs brown sugar
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 cup + 1/8 cup sugar
- 4 tsp finely grated Meyer lemon peel
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) Kerrygold butter, room temp
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 pint container of fresh raspberries
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Line mini muffin-tin with butter.
3. Mash 1/8 cup sugar and Meyer lemon peel in a small bowl until sugar is slightly moist.
4. Whisk flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend.
5. Using electric mixer, beat remaining cup of sugar and butter in a large bowl until smooth.
6. Beat in the egg.
7. Beat in buttermilk. Then vanilla and lemon sugar.
8. Beat in flour mixture.
9. Divide batter among muffin cups (2/3-3/4 level). Top each muffin with a raspberry.
Good gracious, they were tasty. We would add vanilla or cardamom to the peach muffin for more flavor next time, but they were warm, fresh, light, and fluffy, as imagined. They made a delightful combination, these two flavors.
Blume, Judy. Summer Sisters. New York: Bantam Dell, 1998.