Why do we sometimes just want something when we know we don’t really need it? Or is it just me?
Case in point is the sad case of the muffin warmer.
No I’m not trading euphemisms (although I could, the very odd coverage today of what some are claiming is the first example of sexual intercourse between prehistoric fish in a lake in Scotland is hysterically funny). I actually mean a dish to keep English muffins (just differentiating there from the fluffy coffee shop calorie explosion variety) snug and warm for the journey between the grill and the butter and assorted other delights that might be waiting in our Sunday morning ritual breakfast. A few weeks ago we were at a National Trust property where in the dining room my eye was taken by a silver domed vessel sitting on a patterned silver base. The information to hand indicated that this was in fact, a muffin warming dish. The base concealed a separate chamber into which boiling water could be poured, with a liner placed on top, and then the freshly toasted muffins. Finally, the ornamental dome would hide the muffins from the eyes until Sir and Madam were ready to eat their still warm bread related delights.
I suddenly thought,’ I want one of those. It would be so useful, for our Sunday morning muffin festival that forms breakfast for me and the Lovely Wife. Even the last one will still be gently warm, ‘and immediately I began to taste said warm muffin, with hot melted butter and maybe just a dash of Gentleman’s Relish.
I think the room guide was becoming a little nervous as I stood there looking intensely at a piece of 1920s silverware with a look that probably genuinely be described to have contained an element of ‘hunger’.
‘It’s a muffin dish,’ she said, cautiously.
The reality that I might be tackled by an over protective room guide (and probably as a result lose my Life Membership) shocked me back into reality and we moved onto the next room.
But the muffin dish had wormed its way into the back of my brain. I had never heard of a muffin dish. Now that I knew such things existed I knew it would not let me go until I at least looked into acquiring one of my very own.
I know. I do not need a muffin dish. I do not live in a huge country house where my time down to breakfast is uncertain (as I make breakfast) or there are miles between the kitchen and the breakfast room (they are next to each other). I do not need a muffin dish any more that the Lovely Wife thinks we need a Maid (she does not agree with Mr Sondheim on this point, cannot think why).
But I still looked it up on eBay.
Yes, there they were. A previously unknown race of 1920/30s silverware (mostly silver plate) designed primarily for the keeping warm of muffins and now being sold in various states of disrepair, some of the sellers desperate to convince any potential buyer that, actually, they could be used to keep other things warm, such as vegetables. As if. Muffins or vegetables… Not the hardest choice to go with. And not particularly expensive for a piece of historic tableware, my evil Shopping Pixie kept saying in my ear. ‘Look,’ it squeaked on,’ look, there’s one with that ‘buy it now’ option! You don’t have to do that annoying auction thing that means only the last few seconds of the auction actually matter and inevitably you’ll lose out anyway to someone much more practised that you are for anything that is actually desirable.’
But I resisted. The good Reality Pixie pointed out how much stuff we have and the complete waste of money this would be, and that the reason it was cheap was because it was a piece of junk best consigned to history.
But I bought it anyway. Bad Pixie sniggers, good Pixie sighs.
I regretted it, of course. Especially since then everything I have heard or read has gone on about people being tied to their stuff and how we should live more simply.
Still, I’ll have the warmest muffins in the street next Sunday. That’s something I suppose.