National English Muffin Day Date in the current year: April 23, 2024

National English Muffin Day Did you know that the word “muffin” can be used to describe two different types of baked goods? “American” muffins are cupcake-sized quickbreads, whereas “English” muffins are individually portioned yeast-leavened breads. Each type of muffin has its own holiday: National Muffin Day, dedicated to American muffins, is celebrated on February 20, and National English Muffin Day is observed on April 23.

English muffins, called simply muffins in the United Kingdom, are small, round and flat yeast-leavened breads. They are usually sliced horizontally and toasted before serving. Muffins are a common breakfast food in the UK. They can be served with various sweet and savory toppings, including butter, honey, jam, cheese, bacon, eggs, and sausage.

The word muffin is thought to derive from the Low German muffen (“little cakes”) or Old French moflet (a type of bread). Its first recorded use is dated 1703, and one of the earliest muffin recipes can be found in Hannah Glasse’s famous cookbook The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy first published in 1747.

Muffins were popularized in the 19th century by the so-called muffin men, baked goods vendors who went door-to-door delivering fresh muffins. They were so common that the British Parliament even passed a bill prohibiting muffin men from ringing bells that were making too much noise. However, the new law didn’t actually stop them from ringing.

Muffins are made from unsweetened yeast-leavened dough and traditionally cooked on a griddle over the stove top rather than baked in an oven. As we’ve already mentioned above, they are usually served for breakfast with various toppings. Muffins are also used to make breakfast sandwiches and various dishes such as eggs Benedict.

Outside of the UK, especially in North America, flatbread muffins are usually called English muffins to differentiate them from quickbread muffins popular in the United States. Conversely, quickbread muffins are referred to as American muffins in the UK. Although flatbread muffins are a part of English cuisine, National English Muffin Day is an American holiday, which is clearly indicated by its name. It was created by Thomas’, a North American brand of English muffins and bagels owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA.

Thomas’ was founded in 1880 by Samuel Bath Thomas, an English immigrant to New York City. After six years of working menial jobs, he purchased a bakery on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, where he sold griddle-baked muffins. A couple of years later, Thomas opened his second location. Upon his death in 1919, Thomas’ business was inherited by his daughter and nephews and then incorporated.

Thomas’ established National English Muffin Day to celebrate the deliciousness that is English muffin and, of course, to promote its products. You can observe this amazing holiday by having muffins with butter, jam or cream cheese for breakfast, dropping by your local McDonald’s for a McMuffin, baking English muffins at home, and spreading the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #NationalEnglishMuffinDay and #EnglishMuffinDay.

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National English Muffin Day, food days, food holidays, unofficial holidays, observances in the US, English muffins