Muffins have been a part of Jean Nethery's life ever since her mother woke her with tempting smells wafting up to her room as a child.
Later, the Indiana teacher turned Boca Grande and Blairsville, Ga., resident, would share "The Muffin Man" refrain with her grade-school classes.
Her most lasting muffin legacy, however, may be "Muffin Mania," a 78-page book filled with 54 taste-tempting recipes and interesting tidbits about her favorite breakfast food.
Jean Nethery of Boca Grande has written a delicious book: “Muffin Mania.”
"My inspiration for this book was my mother always baking muffins before I went to school," she said while sitting in her bright Boca Grande Club home with piano-playing Al, her husband of 50-plus years.
The widely traveled Muffin Mania author has been to 63 counties, visited 49 states and lived in seven of them. World travels have taken the Netherys to South Africa, India, Russia, Brazil, Chile, France, Bosnia, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Slovenia, Taiwan and Indonesia with Friendship Force, an organization that links visitors with foreign families.
But muffins have always meant home so it's no surprise Muffin Mania contains family favorites from four friends - Judy Montgomery, Meg Tomlin, Doris Robb and Doris Mesenbrink - as well as two daughters, Nancy and Carol; son, John; daughters-in-law, Lisa and Ann; and granddaughter, Francesca.
A new Boca Grande book
Who: Jean Nethery of Boca Grande and Blairsville, Ga.
What: 'Muffin Mania"
Publisher: Straub Publishing in Blairsville, Ga.
To order: Call (262) 384-1812
"With this book I wanted to stress the value of family and friendship," Jean Nethery said.
Nethery has divided her muffins into categories such as "Autumn Favorites, "Fruity Abundance," "Very Berry," "Strictly Strawberry," "Really Rhubarb," "Hearty and Nutritious," "Kids Favorites," "Celebrations and Occasions," and "Specialty Tastes."
Star muffin ingredients run the gamut from corn muffins to blueberries, raspberry to strawberry, cinnamon to rhubarb, pumpkin to apple, oatmeal to cranberry, apricot to banana, zucchini to peach, almond to orange, peanut butter to chocolate chip, lemon to poppy seed, maple to pecan and even a jalapeno corn muffin.
She eschews margarine, and butter for the most part, too, preferring to use canola oil because it is healthier.
Other tips include how to prep ahead of time for fast muffins, what temps work best with different muffins, how to make your own buttermilk, cooking with fruit, popping muffins cleanly from the tin and when muffins can mean a thousands words.
"A plate of muffins is always appreciated when delivered either to a sick friend or one experiencing a death in the family," Nethery wrote in the book. "It soothes the receiver without unnecessary words."
Testimonials have come from Boca Grande and beyond.
"Jean Nethery has not only written an outstanding cookbook, but she has also written a beautiful memoir," wrote Sandy Jacob of Boca Grande.
'Jean Nethery has transferred her special knack in the kitchen into cookbook form," wrote Sandra Love of Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Nethery practices what she preaches by taking a platter of muffins to welcome newcomers to the neighborhood. That's a lot of muffins considering the Netherys bought their house nine years ago and rented six years prior to the home sale.
With her $9.99 book (plus $3) mailing costs) out in time for the Boca Grande Strawberry Festival, it's appropriate her favorite muffin would be: strawberry.