Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Cooker

“Cast iron is so superior for cooking utensils to our modern aluminum that I not only cannot grieve for the pioneer hardship of cooking in iron over the hearth, but shall retire if necessary to the back yard with my two Dutch ovens, turning over all my aluminum cookers for airplanes with a secret delight.” ~Majorie Kinnan Rawlings, 'Cross Creek' (1942)

My parents received a complete set of stainless steel pots and pans as a wedding present and took care of them. These and her cast iron dutch oven and skillet were the only pans she ever had. When my first husband and I got married we got what we could afford which was the non stick. I thought this was going to be so much better than my mothers. I stuck things to the non stick. When his mother passed away we got her corning glass pots and pans…..well…..

Years passed, my cooking improved. I got two cast iron griddles from my grandmother’s house. One was 10 ¼ and the other was a 14 inch and both needed lots of TLC so the man took them to work and sand blasted them. I loved them but wanted a dutch oven. So my mother bought me a Vollrath cast iron dutch oven for Christmas one year….loved it. Then she went out and bought me the Lodge reversible cast iron griddle/grill. Later I acquired a 10x7 oval griddle a friend was throwing out!

When we were getting rid of the trailer we were living in to build our house, I packed everything away. And then things took A LOT longer than expected in the building area. I couldn’t remember where the dutch oven was so #1 daughter bought me a Lodge cast iron dutch oven. When we moved into the house and started unpacking it was like Christmas all over again as I found it all. And then the children started doing dishes. They would leave water setting in them and brillo them. Then they started cooking. Let me mention right here I love my children.

While we had company camping here, they used my two round griddles on the campfire. As they always cleaned up, I thought they had cleaned them and put them away but I found them while mowing. I love company too.
The only pans I had left in usable condition was a 10x7 oval griddle and the griddle/grill. I loved cooking on the wood stove with them. I loved owning something my grandmother cooked for my father on, I loved the forever-ness of them…I missed them. I begged the man to take them all into work and sand blast them. He put them in his truck and I waited. Months passed. Christmas came and #1 daughter knew I missed them so bought me a larger cast iron dutch oven with an enamel lining so I don’t have to season it or worry about the kids leaving it sit in water or scrubbing the heck out of it thinking they are helping. They did drop the lid on my stove and took a chunk out of the enamel top but we won’t go there. Just remember I love my children.

Last night the man came home with every single griddle/dutch oven completely new again. I was ecstatic! Yeah I am easily pleased. So this morning I put the lard I rendered to good use and started seasoning them. I can’t wait to reacquaint myself with them but that has to wait for another day as I am going out to dinner tonight.


Sandie Knapp said...

I totally agree 100%. For decades I used the cast iron pots and pans that my Mother had given me. Alas, it is not possible now. I simply cannot lift them any longer. So I am stuck with lighter weight cooking pans that will never be as good. But since most of my cooking is for just myself, I guess it doesn't matter now either. I had the "good stuff" for the early years when it counted most, to feed the kiddies and the man. :)

finnsheep said...

I know you you must feel about the cast iron inheritance. I inherited my great aunt's Revereware stainless steel pots and pans. She raised me up to kindergarten age.

The stainless steel -used daily - is getting pitted in some cases, and I replaced one of the handles with a wooden one years ago.

I have a cast iron Dutch oven, but don't know what to do with it. I thought it was only for baking in a hearth with ashes on the lid.