Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Do you love cast iron cookware?
I am going to indulge in some reminiscences here, so if you get bored, just quit reading, ok? :) As I was frying some potatoes in my smallest cast iron pan this morning for my husband's breakfast, I was thinking about how cast iron cookware has impacted my life. My first memory of this was in my parents' home. Mommie had a standard sized skillet that she used for many things, including cooking the best T-bone steaks in the world, fried chicken (which she did every Sunday) and pork chops. I loved how she did the pork chops. She fried them until they were very very done. Oooo! How good they tasted and salty! Back in those days, we still worried about trichinosis from undercooked pork. I think that is much less of a concern now.
When my very Dear Husband and I got married, someone gave us a cast iron Dutch Oven with a lid. At the time, I had NO idea how important that particular item was going to be to me. I have used it hundreds of times, to make soups, breads and stews.
The photo above shows you the HUGE cast iron skillet I have. It is the wonderful old Griswold brand, a 12 inch skillet. Back in 1976, we rented a house in Aurora, Nebraska (USA). When we moved in, the house was nice and clean and there was nothing left behind in it, EXCEPT, this wonderful old skillet was in the basement. I guess the people that lived there before just didn't want it. We cleaned it up and it has been so useful. Above I'm browning some pork chops in it. I've made huge batches of pasta, used it for baking large loaves of bread, made stir-fries, pot pies, cooked outside over a fire in it ~ Johnny cakes, pancakes, biscuits, steaks.... One of my daughters loves this skillet so much that we joke that when she hears of my demise, she will rush to the house and take it away before anyone notices. ;)
And then there are all the other pieces I have accumulated, most of them at garage sales and thrift stores through the years ~ a 12 inch Dutch oven with a recessed lid for outdoor cooking, a round flat griddle, a 10 inch skillet, a corn dodger pan, a large wok, 5 bread pans, a pie dish and a footed round bottomed soup pot that I use on a tripod over an outdoor fire.
...and I LOVE cast iron. It is nearly indestructible, very versatile and pleasant to use. For a long time, I bought into the notion that your cast iron had to have a proper "seasoning." Not that there is anything wrong with having your pans seasoned, but I have found, thanks to Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS, that if you use sufficient fat, you don't need to be concerned about things sticking and getting ruined. Now that I know that such things as butter, extra-virgin coconut oil and kettle-rendered lard are actually GOOD for us, it makes cooking much easier.
Do YOU love cast iron? Do you have any?