• How to eat a muffin while walking

    It’s Friday. I’ve been working hard. Time for some fun.

    I hardly ever eat muffins, but when I do I’m usually traveling by foot. I pass a good coffee shop on my morning walk from train to office. On the rare occasion I skipped breakfast at home, I’ll buy a muffin. With an aim at efficiency, I’ll eat it while walking.

    The best way to do so is to first remove the paper muffin cup and throw it away. Then, eat the muffin bottom-up. Start with the “stump” and consume the part that “breaks free from the pan” last (let’s call that part the “crown”). Eating a muffin upside down helps keep it from falling apart. The stump is prone to crumbling and the firmer crown helps hold it together. It works!

    The way I used to eat a muffin, and the way I see most others doing so, is top-down, crown first, stump last. The problem is, once you’ve eaten the exoskeleton-like crown, the stump is only held together by the paper muffin cup. Peel that away to eat the stump and you’re left with a mess. Muffin stumps have no integrity!  This doesn’t matter much while eating a muffin over a plate, but while walking, muffin integrity is, well, everything. On foot, a muffin that falls to pieces is a ruined breakfast.

    So, that’s my tip of the week. To eat a muffin while walking, start with the stump and eat the crown last. It’s the best tasting part anyway!

    UPDATE: See also this follow-up.

    • This was PERFECT for a Friday in the week from semi-hell. Something to look forward to next time I have a muffin. Hahah ….Thanks! (I don’t advise this for ice-cream, however.)

    • Reminds me of the muffin top episode on Seinfeld. See:


      • @Rex – Yep, was thinking of that. No YouTube at work for me (blocked) so couldn’t include it.

        @Rat – A scholar analyzes each food without bias. So, I don’t assume ice cream should be eaten like a muffin. Theory suggests it would be messier to remove the paper cup. However, I admit I have not done empirical work in this area. Should I be so fortunate to secure funding on my recently proposed “Heterogeneity in behavioral response to inverted ice cream consumption” I’ll dig deeper into this issue. Stay tuned and happy Friday! 🙂

    • Why not just eat the paper too? Then the whole thing holds together! And the paper gets cooked at 400 degrees just like the muffin, so no harm, right?

    • Sadly, this is not at all how you eat a muffin. The author is correct in the first part, one should remove the paper wrapper and dispose of it. This should be done at home, in the kitchen, while pre-heating a skillet (non-stick works well). Cut the muffin in half vertically, bisecting both the crown and stump while the skillet heats.

      Once the skillet is hot add to it a very generous pad of butter (2+ tbsp). Let it melt and get nearly to the point of browning. Add your muffin halves to the pan with the exposed interior sides facing down. Allow to fry until well browned while covered.

      Once the exposed face is well browned place it face up on a plate and, if desired, drizzle honey on the recently fried surface. Consume.

      This technique is especially proper for corn muffins.

    • reminds me of the old adage: split a tree from the top down — love a woman from the bottom up.

    • I was told of a slightly different technique just last night, which solves the “does not fit in mouth” problem.

      1) remove paper
      2) hold stump between fingers and thumb of one hand, and tear off. it will detach without resistance
      3) consume crown
      4) consume stump, if desired.

    • But how do you maximize your utility from eating a muffin if you’re seated?

      The law of diminishing marginal returns suggests you will enjoy the first bite the most and each subsequent bite slightly less. We all know the crown is the most desirable, the stump the least. Do you therefore maximize utility by using your first few bites to eat the most delicious part, or do you engage in some sort of smoothing behavior by starting with the stump and finishing with the crown?

      Personally, I optimize by devouring the top first.

    • I have two muffin-eating techniques, optimised over years of running to class, breakfast in hand.
      Number one is the turn-it-over-and-eat-bottom-up technique described here.
      Number two works better when one is actually seated in lecture. It is the same as above, but (for a slightly more genteel and less messy touch) using a spoon. (To solve Eric’s diminishing-marginal-utility problem, one can also leave the paper wrapper on and use a spoon.)

      Incidentally, eating while walking appears to be acceptable only in Western cultures. In Japan and the rest of Asia it seems to be considered rude — despite the ready availability of snack stands and finger food such as yakitori!

    • This might work fine for muffins, but it is a bigger problem with cupcakes because of the frosting on top. I’m still trying to get my wife to invent an edible muffin/cupcake cup.

    • This is great. I’m self conscious when eating these sort of food in public. I appear somewhat indecent. LOL. Anyways I can’t eat a muffin while walking and not look like a baby.

    • How so many can be obsessed with muffins when ice cream cones have been mentioned is puzzling. I’ll stake out controversial territory.

      Clearly, the only way to eat ice cream cones is to bite of the bottom of the cone, and then suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone. All other methods are inferior.