Skillet Skills

They say timing is everything. One week after my sister told me that she's starting a collection of cast iron skillets, I found three really terrible looking pieces at a yard sale. I started wondering about cast iron. Many of my friends swear by it; saying its the best kind of cookware. American settlers and pioneers certainly agreed with them. (Maybe because Calphalon wasn't around yet.) So, what's the big deal?

The skillets and pans I found were made by Lodge Manufacturing Company. Now I know that the pans I saw could have been truly vintage since the company has been around since the 1800's. Mom said probably not. The people that owned them just didn't know how to care for cast iron. So, what do you do after you've made a meal and a mess of your skillet or pan? 

Follow these steps to clean and season your heirloom cookware:

1. Remove all the extra food bits by pouring in a cup of coarse salt into the warm skillet. Fold up a cheesecloth or kitchen towel and use that as a scouring pad. I think a baby diaper would work really well. Then throw out the salt and rinse the while thing with hot water. Dry it immediately with a clean towel. 

2. To season the pan, pot, or skillet rub 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil on the cast iron. This helps to stop any rusting. Optionally, you can then heat the pan a bit to let the oil soak in. Keep it low and for a minute or two. Just long enough to get it warm.

3. Store your pan in a dry environment. 

Voila! That's it!

Recipes and blogs for cast iron enthusiasts:

Now, I'm not a happy cook. Sometimes I just can't wrap my head around what to make for dinner. Dessert, however, is a snap and baking anything is a joy for me. So, Internet, show me what to bake in a cast iron pan. 

How about a whole blog on Cooking in Cast Iron. Surely, they know what to do. What about finger foods? Something fun to eat, like these Griddled Fresh Chickpeas. Now, not only am on on the hunt for vintage cast iron, but also for unique dessert recipes to cook in them. Cast iron, it's not just for cornbread and chicken any more.

Bon Appetit!

Jenny DeWitt

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