The other day I saw this meme and it made me laugh, so I reposted it to my Facebook page.
Many of my friends saw it and laughed with me, proudly confessing they had at least one exactly like it, but shaking their cyber fist at the idea it was time to throw it away. I agree. Those cookie sheets are perfectly fine. They simply have developed a rich patina of life experience, much like myself.
But—because I am a complicated woman—I pulled out my muffin tins recently and decided enough was enough. Time to get new ones.
I don’t remember buying any of them, so it’s possible I should donate their bodies to science or something, but the Teflon one adds bits of Teflon to everything I bake.
The silicone one is constantly sticky and refuses to behave.
But look at that grandmother of them all! I typically like my muffins to be golden when they’re done, not rusty.
After a little late-night peeking at the internet, I decided to try ceramic muffin tins.
On Wednesday, I trekked to the mall. Oops. I mean the retail resort. (I swear to God, that’s what they call it. *insert huge eye roll here*)
I hadn’t been there in longer than I could remember, but it was all coming back to me … the smell of cinnamon buns … mothers bending over strollers consoling babies or chasing toddlers … lonely entrepreneurs at kiosks hawking their wares to wary grandmothers.
(One chatty guy wanted to dab some sort of super-polymer around my eyes, “for the puffies.” When I balked, saying, “What if I have some sort of reaction while I’m walking around?” He shook his head in vehement protest. “I do this seven years. Only happen once.” Needless to say, I’m still a victim of the puffies.)
One thing I hadn’t remembered was this sign. Perhaps if I had been in front of the cosmetics store I would have gotten it right away. But I wasn’t and I didn’t.
This retail resort is a lovely place, don’t get me wrong, and it’s where I can relive my childhood by getting an Orange Julius. That’s one of those scent memories that sends me right back to 1968 when I took my first trip to the Cinderella City Mall in Denver. It must have been a big deal to my parents as well because we took a day-long excursion there from Colorado Springs, which back then—when gas was a whopping 34c per gallon—was a pretty big deal. AND my dad stuck a crowbar in his wallet and bought us those delicious orange sugar bombs. It was love at first sight for seven-year-old Becky.
Cinderella City was the largest shopping center under one roof in the world. In the world, people! In Denver! Three levels, 250 stores, a 600-seat theater, a fountain with a 35-foot-high spray. It also boasted a handcrafted double-decker Italian carousel that stood 28 feet tall that was lit by 2,000 bulbs and had 28 hand painted panels. It held 70 people and cost $1 to ride.
But by 1990 or so, it was set to be demolished.
Indoor malls made way for “retail resorts” and “outdoor shopping experiences.”
So a few days ago, again I found myself at the largest
mall, er, retail resort in Colorado.
I walked past every single one of their 185 stores, dipping into each one that held the promise of kitchen items. Did I find muffin tins? No, I did not. Despite the fact there were many overpriced home stores, none held what I was seeking. I asked a guy at one of the stores if ceramic muffin tins were even a thing. Was I to forge my own kiln? Dig my own earthen minerals? He assured me my earthen minerals could remain safely underground. He simply had sold out. But had no idea when more would arrive.
Defeated and demoralized, I slogged my way back through the retail
resort dream-killer, heading back to the Julius stand for another sixteen ounces of solace.
Suddenly, the sun came out. The world seemed brighter. Unseen voices lifted on high.
I turned a corner and beheld these drink holders. The hoodie made me laugh out loud and scare a lady. I would never in a million years use them, but the fact that they exist in the world makes me ridiculously happy and well worth the trip.
There’s a plotting device in the literary world called The Hero’s Journey. It’s a story where the main character goes on a quest, hits rock-bottom but somehow claws himself up to emerge triumphant, then returns home altered in some significant way.
Ideally with an Orange Julius.
Do you think I’ll ever put my hands on a ceramic muffin tin? Are there any retail resorts near you? Do you ever go? Did you hang out there as a teen?