Last week I received my copy of the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook and I have read it all the way through – every story, every anecdote, every recipe – and loved it as I would a collection of comfortable and compelling short stories. My copy is now tabbed at some of the most interesting recipes. I have tried several and have been delighted every time. This is a book about Maine’s culinary history, but more about families, traditions and celebrations.

The Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook, which includes recipes from more than 200 Maine families, has just hit the shelves. Courtesy / Karl Schatz

Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz have compiled and edited over 200 recipes, some of which are already in our own repertoires and some that are intriguing surprises. My favorite so far is a muffin recipe submitted by Alison Salisbury from Bar Harbor. I was attracted by the inclusion of molasses and the fact that there are no eggs.

Grandmother Maggie’s Molasses Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup shortening (any cooking oil is also fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup sour milk
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh wild Maine blueberries or Wyman’s frozen, dredged in flour

Mix together all ingredients and pour into greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees until toothpick comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.

I sprinkled about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of raw sugar on top of each muffin because that is how I like my blueberry muffins. This makes 12 generous muffins. The result is dense but not heavy and simply delicious. They kept very well for three days sealed in plastic.

Copies of the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook can be found at or at local bookstores. Published by Islandport in Yarmouth, it is also available online. Please be aware that $2 from every copy sold will go to organizations fighting hunger in Maine.

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