Two weeks ago I was watching the premiere episode of Lifetime's pretty good new cop drama "Against the Wall." About a quarter of the way through the episode, the show's star, Rachel Carpani (who spookily resembles a young Meg Ryan), takes a cake to her father, who is played by Treat Williams. She's buttering up her dad because she has some tough news for him: she has to tell her cop father that she, also a cop, has taken a job in the much-despised Internal Affairs division. The conversation doesn't go well.
It was an intense scene, full of drama. But my attention was on the retro aluminum cake carrier Det. Abby Kowalkski was toting. I'd never seen anything like it.
Like most other people I guess, I have an ugly old plastic cake carrier (No offense, Rubbermaid). I remember when I was little my mom had an aluminum cake carrier, but it was plain and silver, and if you turned the lid just a little bit the wrong way, you could dump out an entire pound cake in your grandparents' driveway and not be a very popular person at your grandfather's birthday celebration. Theoretically speaking.
This cheerful contraption Abby was holding was not only eye-catching and appealingly retro, but I could tell it had little metal clasps at the bottom that would prevent such emotionally scarring catastrophes.
Fast forward to yesterday when my mom and I were walking around at the Flea Market in Raleigh. When we arrived I casually said, "You know what I want?" and went on to describe my pipe dream of finding a metal cake tin similar to the one I'd seen in that show. I figured it would take me years of flea market combing to find one even similar, but you have to start your search somewhere.
We browsed the flea market keeping our eyes peeled for cake carriers, but not really expecting to see one. Then just as we were about to leave, we happened upon a booth inside the Commercial Building along the Hillsborough Street side.
We were drawn to the booth by a prominently displayed cake carrier that was definitely retro and cool, but plastic. Not what I wanted. Then suddenly, on a low table near the cash register, I saw an aluminum carrier that had an avocado green top and yellow flowers. "That's it!" I said.
Actually, I didn't think it was exactly like the one on "Against the Wall" (what are the odds, after all!) but I thought it was very close. Definitely the type of carrier I had in mind, and it would do nicely.
It was an old Decoware carrier -- the seller said it was from the 1960s -- and it was in very good shape. She wanted $22 for it and that's what I paid.
We went straight back to my house and I pulled up the first episode of "Against the Wall" from On Demand, fast-forwarded to the scene where Abby takes her dad the cake, and there it was. EXACTLY the same.
I can't remember the last time I was so excited. My cake tin had three major scenes in that episode, and several close-ups. It's a star! It carried a delicious-looking chocolate cake, which Abby tragically dumped into the garbage after her father rejected it.
I haven't yet watched the second episode of "Against the Wall," but when I do, I'll be looking for my cake carrier (Abby and her mother, played by Kathy Baker, make a lot of cakes). And a new episode airs tonight on Lifetime at 10 p.m.
And now I can't wait to make a cake and take it somewhere!
(Note: If you want one -- and how could you not? -- the woman at the Flea Market had several other Decoware aluminum carriers, but no others exactly like mine. And I did some googling and found one like mine for sale at Etsy, where they have tons of Decoware items.)