Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The $1.00 Angel

It's been about two weeks or so since I've browsed my favorite thrift store, so today at lunch I decided to check it out to see what was 'new'.

When I arrived, there was a customer looking at a collection of ceramic pommanders in one of the glass cases. I commented that the pommanders were really pretty; each one was a different pattern, one prettier than the next. She and I chatted for a moment, then I headed off in another direction.

A few minutes later, we were both looking through the housewares section when she commented to me that she loved looking through thrift stores. I readily agreed. She said that one of her favorite things to look for were angel food cake pans. And off we went, launching into a very pleasant conversation. She remarked that she makes many, many angel food cakes during the summer months and everyone always comments on how delicious they are. She said that she uses a mix - something that most of those enjoying the cake would never guess! So for a fun gift, she will go to a thrift store and find an angel food cake pan - which typically run about a dollar - and purchase a box of the cake mix, wrap the whole thing in cellophane and tie it with a brightly colored ribbon, then gift it to those who'd really enjoyed the angel food cake she'd made.

I told her that I'd never baked an angel food cake myself, but that my grandmother used to make them all the time. We serve them with berries during the summer months and we all love it! She picked up a couple of pans and showed me the difference; one was a two piece pan set, the other - quite solid - was one piece. She spoke of the advantages and disadvantages of both and explained exactly how to turn the pan over onto the top of a bottle and while the cake cooled. Just then her husband came over and joined in the conversation. As we continued to talk, one of the store employees came over and joined in the conversation as well. I told her that she'd sold me and she gladly handed me both of the pans with which she'd conducted her demonstration -- each of which was one dollar. The store employee looked at me with a wistful look and said 'My mom would be so happy to know that someone will put those pans to good use. Both of those pans were hers; she passed away in November and when she passed, I donated them to the store. She made many wonderful cakes with those pans and would be so pleased to know that someone else will use them to make many, many more.'

I was touched by his comments. I truly think he was happy to know that his mom's pans were going to such a loving home. I'm both happy and honored to think that I can carry on such a wonderful tradition. I might just have to test out those pans this weekend and bring a cake by the store...just so he (and the rest of the staff) can relive a little piece of the past.

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