Who doesn’t like a big, tasty muffin to start their day in the morning? Muffins are an essential morning staple for many people (and great in the afternoons and evenings too). National Muffin Day is an opportunity for people everywhere to celebrate everything they might love about muffins with the people all around.
Most people would agree that muffins are fantastic! They come in a variety of flavors, they’re super easy to make, and they’re fun to eat. Some people think they are pretty much like a delicious cupcake without frosting–but eaten for breakfast. But the traditional muffin batter is a bit more dense and they often include fruit in them.
Everyone has their way of eating muffins. Some chew through them in a couple of bites, while others take their time, spreading the butter and jam to make a muffin sandwich. No matter how a person chooses to eat their muffins, they are well worth celebrating on this, and really any other, day.
History of National Muffin Day
National Muffin Day might be a big celebration on this day in modern times, but the concept has humble beginnings. It all started with the work of tech company employee Jacob Kaufman. One morning on the way to work, Kaufman took a bag of muffins with him and handed them out to homeless people in the city in which he worked. It was such a success that he started doing it regularly and making more muffins to meet the demand. Some people even began affectionately referring to him as “The Muffin Man”.
By his own admission, Kaufman says that his eyes were originally trained to be averted to homeless and needy people. But when he started delighting in giving muffins away, he began looking for them wherever he could find them. His awareness of these people as not just “needy”, but as humans who deserved a bit of attention, changed his entire perspective. He wasn’t just doing charity work, but he was excited to connect with them every day over a muffin.
For years, Kaufman was a source of giving and inspiration to those who were less fortunate than him, providing them with delicious food that they could enjoy. For many, it was a highlight and changed the trajectory of the rest of their day.
Kaufman continued doing his work under the radar until blogger Julia Levy picked up on his story. She reported about what he was doing in a blog post on the theme of ordinary philanthropists. After talking with one another, the duo soon realized that they could use the appeal of Kaufman’s muffin experience to help more homeless people who were living in other places.
The result of the conversation was the inception of National Muffin Day back in 2015, an opportunity for people to bake muffins and raise money for homeless shelters. Muffins would go from something that served consumers to a vehicle for helping less fortunate people who were struggling on the streets.
The need for the donations and goodwill that go along with National Muffin Day is enormous. There are thousands of people living on the streets who need warm, delicious muffins (and many other resources) that are made and served with love.
National Muffin Day Timeline
First appearance of the word “Muffin” in print
Originally spelled “moofin”, the word muffin made its way into circulation and may have come from the German form of “muffen” which is the plural form meaning small cakes. It also may have come from the French word “moufflet” which is used for soft baked goods.
“Muffin Man” rhyme is first published
No one knows its exact origins but this rhyme (and then song) was likely created in London, about a man who delivers muffins and crumpets on the West End. Its lyrics remain largely unchanged for a hundred years.
Jacob Kauffman starts giving away muffins
Feeling a burden for the sentiment against homeless people in his hometown of San Francisco, Jacob Kauffman decides to do a small thing by baking and handing out muffins on the street. He and others in his sphere make donations to the local homelessness charity for everyone who joins in on the project by making and handing out muffins.
First National Muffin Day is observed
Created by Jacob Kauffman and Julia Levy, the ideas comes when the two meet during an interview for Levy’s blog as she tells the story of Kauffman and his habit of giving away muffins to hungry people each morning on his walk to work. The two collaborate to create the day.
More than 100 participate for National Muffin Day
Word about the day spreads quickly and in its second year of existence, more than 100 different people are involved with baking muffins and giving them away, a gift which was matched by Jacob Kauffman. The event takes place all over the world including California, New York, Boston, Canada, and Hong Kong. Thousands of dollars are collected for charities supporting the homeless.
How to Celebrate National Muffin Day
Most people are pleased to learn that celebrating National Muffin Day is easy and there are lots of things that can be done in observance of the day. Try out some of these ideas to get started, or come up with other creative ways to celebrate this day:
Bake Muffins and Give Them Away
The organizers of National Muffin Day encourage people to bake their own muffins and hand them out to people experiencing homelessness in the communities around them. To sweeten the deal Kaufman and Levy have set up an organization that will donate money to homeless people in a specific city every time participants bake muffins and hand them out to people who need them in their local areas.
The more nutritious and filling the muffins are, the better! So try baking them with hidden nutrition such as zucchini, summer squash, whole wheat flour, blueberries, chai protein powder or other ingredients. Don’t forget that nut allergies can be prevalent, so this might be an ingredient to avoid during baking muffins that are meant to be given away.
Find a Great Muffin Bakery
People can also celebrate National Muffin Day by going out and searching for the best bakery in town. If the bakery isn’t aware of the good deeds that can be done on National Muffin Day, let them know about this excellent opportunity to participate and help in the community.
One fun way to enjoy the day might be to gather up a group of people, and then do a bakery crawl. Try each muffin individually and then decide which offers the most exceptional culinary experience. And don’t forget to ask everyone to participate by making a donation to the local homeless shelter as well!
Spread the Word about National Muffin Day
Since it’s still a relatively new day and still gaining traction, why not help out the cause a bit by sharing it with anyone in your sphere of influence? Tell friends and family members, make an announcement at work, put up a notice at the school or post National Muffin Day activities on various social media accounts so that more people can get involved.
Look Out for Needy People
In the same way that Kaufmann needed to train himself to look for ways to connect with needy people, there are opportunities everywhere for humans to connect with each other. Something so small as making eye contact and smiling at someone can make all the difference for the human experience. This is especially true for someone who is down-and-out or having a bad day. Look for ways to acknowledge the humanity of someone else in need and give them a bit of encouragement–on National Muffin Day and every other day of the year as well!
National Muffin Day FAQs
What is National Muffin Day?
National Muffin Day is a time to celebrate all things related to the goodness of muffins. But, far beyond just enjoying one personally, the impetus behind the day is related to sharing with others in the form of giving out muffins to those who might be struggling.
When is National Muffin Day celebrated?
National Muffin Day is observed each year on February 20. However, the organization behind the sentiment of sharing with others would certainly say that this style of sharing should not be limited to just one day of the year!
Who started National Muffin Day?
The original idea for National Muffin Day began when Jacob Kaufman was interviewed by blogger Julia Levy about his habit of handing out muffins to hungry people on his walk to work each day. Kaufman and Levy coordinate their efforts to make National Muffin Day about sharing with those in need.
What’s the difference between a muffin and an English muffin?
Muffins are small, cakelike baked items that are made from quick bread batter, leavened with baking powder or soda, and are often sweet, dense and flavored with fruit, nuts or chocolate. English muffins have a finer texture and are leavened with yeast. They are not as sweet and normally only come in one basic flavor.
Do you know the Muffin Man?
Sure! The muffin man from the song was likely an actual person who lived on Drury Lane in London and delivered baked goods. More recently, Jacob Kauffman of San Francisco earned the title Muffin Man when he started handing out muffins to hungry people on his way to work.