Every Saturday morning, I have a standing meeting with Robert Banck, whom I nicknamed "The Muffin Man" before I ever learned what was written on his driver's license. The Muffin Man is like Red in Shawshank or the reincarnate of the Special Man from the old Frankie and Johnny's commercials. In short, he's the guy who's got the goods, from orange cranberry muffins (my favorite) to lemon squares, pecan squares, and granola.
|Photo by renee b. photography.|
The Muffin Man is actually only one part of an entire Muffin Family behind Windfield Farm Bakery. After a year of enjoying their muffins, scones, cookies, breads, and lemon squares, I finally gathered up the courage to speak to the Muffin Man and learn about the history and operations of Windfield Farm, which is the subject of my article in this month's food issue of OffBeat Magazine.
I was not surprised to learn that behind the Muffin Man was a Muffin Woman (isn't there always?), Robert's wife Suzie, who was the impetus of everything delicious coming from their farm in Franklinton. The story only gets better from there, in my opinion.
Here is a little anecdote about the Muffin Man that was too long to be included in the article but that I thought was worth sharing.
Last year on the Saturday before Halloween, The Muffin Man became a celebrity when his stand was used as a set for a Vera Bradley photoshoot, complete with obnoxious European photographer, stand-in 40ish blonde-haired muffin woman, flawless-looking 18 year old model, a dozen set attendees, and a ton of expensive set equipment.
It was almost noon by the time that I made it to the market that day, because The Folk Singer and I had run the Jazz Half Marathon that morning. We walked straight from the finish line on Tchoupitoulas to the market, hoping to find a sweet reward. Now, the photoshoot was taking place on one side of the booth, while it was business as usual for the Muffin Man on the other side. I was rather aloof and delirious at the time and tried to hand my money to the stand-in muffin woman to pay for my two brownies. (They were was out of muffins.)
Unbeknownst to me, I was now in the camera shot, and apparently someone did not think that I was Vera Bradley material. Some PA stepped in and said, "Excuse me, we're in the middle of a photo shoot over here, so if you could just scoot over to the side, I would appreciate it."
I turned to the Muffin Man and said, "I don't think she ran 13.1 miles just to get this brownie."
He laughed and said, "Don't feel too bad. They had to bring in her (pointing to stand-in muffin woman) because I wasn't pretty enough either."
He handed me the two brownies, which The Folk Singer and I devoured in about 3.5 seconds. And had my legs not been ready to crumble beneath me, I probably would have run another 13.1 miles for the chance at a third brownie.