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On the left of a solid counter, collect:  

- a very large bowl
- one egg
- a jug of milk
- two apples
- a bottle of canola oil
- a jar or bottle or whatever of honey
- a liquid measuring cup
- a big wooden spoon
- a small soup spoon  

On the right, with a comfortable space between:  

- a reasonably large bowl, but perhaps a little smaller than the other
- a bag of whole-wheat flour
- some brown sugar
- a can of baking powder
- a carton of salt
- cinnamon and nutmeg
- some really crunchy granola you like
- measuring spoons
- a 1/2 cup measuring cup
- a whisk  

Somewhere else in the kitchen, put a twelve-cup muffin tray, with those little paper muffin-liner things in the holes. Apertures. Whatever you call them.  

Turn your oven on, and set it to 400. It is important for it to be one of those older ovens that heats things up with gas or electricity or wood or something, not microrays or ultrasonic vibrations or necromancy. The effect we are going for is bakingness, not magic.  

Now, turn your attention to the left. The apples are obviously too large to put into the muffin apertures, and besides there are too few of them. Do not panic. Cut them into quarters and remove the cores. Cut four of the quarters into thin slices, and then cut the slices into thirds or fourths. Dump these in the bowl. Chop up two more of the quarters into very small bits, and dump that pulp in the bowl, too. Eat the remaining two quarters leisurely during the rest of the preparation, to maintain the proper applish mood.  

Crack the egg into the bowl. Discard the shell. Pour a half a cup of milk into the bowl. Don't put the jug away just yet. Add a quarter of a cup of the canola oil to this mess, and then mix it all up fairly well with the spoon. Don't do anything with the honey yet.  

Now the right. Into the other bowl go three half-cups of flour, half a cup of brown sugar, half a cup of granola (and don't put this away yet), a couple teaspoons of baking powder (with any worms removed), half of a teaspoon of salt, and a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. Maybe a little more than that. Oops, not that much. Well, it'll probably be fine. Use the whisk to mix this all up very thoroughly. Think of how little salt there is, for example, and how unpleasant it would be to get a bite with no salt.  

Let us pause and review. On your left is a large bowl of wet things, on your left a large (but maybe slightly smaller) bowl of dry things. Nearby is a muffin tray, and a hot oven, and a bottle of honey that hasn't been mentioned yet. Also, there is still milk and granola, and maybe some apple you're not finished eating. This is all fine.  

Now, with a calm and gentle flourish, empty the bowl of dry things into the bowl of wet things. With the big wooden spoon, mix industriously until the glop achieves a sort of uniformity. It is our intent for the consistency to be faintly, but distinctly, liquid, so if it seems drier than that, add a little more milk.  

Once you've got a good, turgid batter, use the soup spoon to incrementally apportion it into the twelve muffin-tray apertures such that a) all the batter is in apertures, b) none of it is still in the bowl, and c) the most-full aperture is not significantly more full than the least-full aperture. Sprinkle a little bit of granola over the top of each aperture of batter.  

With rough simultaneity, put the muffin tray into the hot oven and start a reliable time-measuring device, which I apologize for having failed to mention until the very moment when it is suddenly crucial. It need not be linked to any sort of atomic clock, but it must be capable of measuring the passage of fifteen minutes, and then every two or three minutes thereafter.  

Close the oven. Step away. Find something else to amuse you for the next fifteen minutes. I generally start cleaning up, but B considers this obsessive of me, so I only mention it in case it's helpful to hear an example.  

When the fifteen minutes are up, open the oven and look at the muffins. Some of the bits of granola on top should be getting a little brown at the edges by now. If they are not, you may have failed to turn the oven on, or set it for 40 instead of 400, or some similarly disappoint piece of ineptitude. It is not my job to anticipate errors of this severity, so correcting them is your responsibility, but I do wish you luck.  

If the browning is happening on schedule, now is the time to use the honey. Drizzle a little honey on the top of each muffin. That's all. I know, after all this anticipation it seems like the honey should have a more dramatic role to play. But it doesn't. Drizzle, and then put the tray back in the oven.  

Every two or three minutes hereafter, annoyingly, yank the oven open and peer at the muffins again. They will look the same as they did the previous time. You will fear that one time you're going to open the oven and they're going to be all burnt, but this will not happen. Actually, it might, and then you will have ruined them. But probably you will lose patience with checking before that, and declare the muffins done. Take the tray out and put it on the counter. Let the muffins sit for a few minutes. They must adjust to the room and the light.  

Now you have a dozen muffins. I don't know if they are any good. Mine are still adjusting. Hold on, I'll eat one and see.
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