I was in the store the other day and I saw this little beaut:
I thought to myself, carries cake and pie/utensils, AND looks adorably retro? Genius! As someone who bakes a lot, I know that getting these goods around can be cumbersome. Most of the time I have to take the things I make elsewhere in the container I made them in, which is fine, until I have to leave the dessert behind and just want to use my pan again. This cake carrier seemed like a pretty solid solution to that problem, and one that I wouldn’t feel bad leaving on my counter where all can see. (Sorry, Tupperware. I still appreciate your functionality.)
I happened to mention said cake carrier to my mom while on the phone later that day and she said (with a tone that implied scrunched nose and furrowed eyebrows), “Sounds like something your Aunt Marcella had.”
Now, Aunt Marcella was an interesting woman. She was actually my great aunt, and was alive until I was a teenager. She never liked me much, because at her age she had long surpassed the age when one has patience for small children and we never got off on the right foot. So I never really got to know her. She had a family favorite, and she was not shy about making it known. This person was not my mother, so Aunt Marcella remained a bit of a mysterious figure to me until long after she died. In recent years I have I come to learn that although she never married, Marcella by no means led a dull life during an age where women were supposed to come with husbands. She began working at the telephone company at a young age, back when you had to talk to a real person to make calls to other real people, and she worked there for decades. This was considered a relatively cosmopolitan profession in our area. These women were well-respected and made a decent wage. The telephone company would sponsor trips to places like professional ball games, the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, and a trip called the Business and Professional Women’s Tour in 1941. She has a scrapbook with postcards and ticket stubs from this trip out to Los Angeles and up the west coast. Marcella was an independent woman, and one of refined taste at that. She was a fancy lady; she liked nice things, and she carried her cakes in style, damn it.
It feels like the Marcella I knew was a different one than the one I learned about later, and I am somewhat fascinated and mystified by her. For someone born into a very modest family in a rural area in 1905, she really managed to make a successful and seemingly fulfilling life for herself. I may not want to follow in her footsteps exactly, but there are a few things I definitely think I could take from her playbook. One of them is being a fancy lady who carries my cake in style. And if we ever come across Aunt Marcella’s cake carrier, I’m using that one too.