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The corn muffin, enjoyed at thousands of Bay State...

BOSTON -- The corn muffin, enjoyed at thousands of Bay State breakfast tables, joined the cod fish and cranberry juice Tuesday as a staple of an official Massachusetts diet.

In a Statehouse ceremony, Gov. Michael S. Dukakis signed into law a bill awarding official state status to the corn muffin.

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On hand for the ceremony were 20 fourth graders from the Runkle School of suburban Brookline, where the bill was born as part of a class project on the legislative process.

'I make corn muffins just about every weekend,' Dukakis said, admitting, 'I'm just a so-so baker.'

The youngsters selected corn as the most appropriate muffin ingredient because it was the staple for Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

That argument eventually won out in legislative debate where proponents touted the virtues of cranberries, the state's largest cash crop, and apples, a major revenue producer for central Massachusetts farmers.

The designation adds the corn muffin to a long list of items with state sanction, including the Morgan horse, the chickadee, the ladybug, the mayflower, the American Elm tree, the Boston terrier, the right whale and the dinosaur track.

Massachusetts has also lent official status to Plymouth Rock as the state's historical rock.

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