Scrubbing a Muffin Pan

muffin panClick here to link to sound file


I was scrubbing the third hole of the muffin pan
when my mood plummeted.
The pan had been used a few days earlier
for baking eggs with spinach in olive oil;
the recipe for these homemade McMuffin globs
had appeared on the
Facebook wall like an omen,
like a sign of a cheap and easy meal to come.
But the muffin holes got 400-degree oven-blasted egg
and spinach on the sides
that wouldn’t come off.
Not with a baking soda scour paste.
Not after leaving them soaking in hot soapy water for days in the sink.
Not with a carefully angled thumbnail.
The gunk wouldn’t move.
The more I worked, the madder I got that pan-scrubbing
was what I was doing on a Wednesday night at 9:10 PM.
Scrubbing a single muffin pan.
Six holes. Over and over again.
A redundancy of redundant redundancies.
I must’ve overlooked the part of the recipe that said:
  • 10 minutes of prep
  • 20 minutes of cook time
  • 3 days of clean-up.
I sought progress, hoping to hit smooth surface
in any hole with my water-logged fingertips.
All I could feel was immovable crust.
I wanted to take it out to the porch and fling it like a Frisbee into the woods.
We couldn’t just Pam the shit out of the muffin pan
before cooking since Pam is mostly petroleum
or some other kind of non-food that would kill us.
So we use an olive oil mister that’s healthy
but it doesn’t keep shit from sticking to muffin pans.
So do I want to scrub a pan or would I rather just eat petroleum?
I don’t know sometimes.
If I don’t fling the fucker,
maybe there’s a specialty cleaning product in the cabinet
that can erode egg plaster.
For every time-saving gadget there are three
accompanying cleaners and attachments
and the drawers and cabinets are so crammed full of pieces
that nothing ever closes all the way.
Who made the muffin pan? Why not make it as stick-free as possible? Where had it come from?
I wish I could retrace the obscure hand-me-down chain
that brought the muffin pan to our kitchen.
Surely this charred piece of metal
wasn’t something purchased in the last 50 years.
How did the grandmother that originally owned it clean the thing?
Maybe the bottom layers of the gunk in the muffin holes
are comprised of the detritus of bygone messy recipes.
And if you could drill your way through it, there would be a record
of everything ever baked in that pan,
like a time capsule, ancient ruins in miniature.
All we can do is add to the messes of our ancestors
when all we really want is a clean surface to start anew.

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