Laugh if you must but cast iron skillets are something I love and is something that came up on my "love" list for the month of February.
If I had to pare down to only a few items in my kitchen, I believe I could survive with only a cast iron skillet to cook in. I have 3 sizes of cast iron pans plus a dutch oven.
Old cast iron skillets are an American icon and when we're out bargain hunting, if we find a good one, we snatch it up. My most recent purchase is a flat griddle that I don't know how I've lived without for so long. My mom had one and I always coveted it. I'll bet my dad still has it. I know he and Nancy use the cast iron that cooked our food when we were babies. It never wears out and should be treasured when it's passed on to the next generation.
When I was growing up, everything was cooked in cast iron. If mom caught us using a scratcher on it, she would have a fit. Now that I have my own, I'll admit she was justified in her reactions. Cast iron skillets require much love & special attention but they always love you back when you treat them right.
In the last couple of years, I have started using my skillets for oven frying just about anything you can make on the stove top. Cast iron makes corn bread bake with an awesome crust and I've been known to make pineapple upside-down cakes in them. You'll notice on the one pictured here, it was made in the good old U.S.A. It's an antique that we use on a daily basis. I can't hardly explain how wonderful fried spuds taste that have been cooked in this pan.
This last year, we gave Gene's daughter a couple of our seasoned pans and she loves them. Her kids tend to be on the anemic side and it's a truism that cast iron "spills" iron into food prepared in them. I am so happy that she is not using the Teflon coated pans any longer. There is much written about a connection between non-stick pans and Alzeimer's disease. I'm certainly no expert but according to Planet Green.Com: "When heated to temperatures of 360 degrees Celsius, (685.4 Fahrenheit for us folks in the United States ) Teflon-coated pans will release perfluorooctanoic acid, a likely carcinogen. Not that people often cook at temperatures that high, but now you definitely shouldn't. Chemicals released by non-stick pans can cause the death of pet birds. It can also cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Teflon-pan makers have made a deal with the EPA to remove the poisonous chemicals from non-stick pans by 2010."
Why take chances?
I don't know why cast iron skillets bubbled up in my mind when I did my "love" list recently. Perhaps its the memories of great cooking that comes with them. We have several and the largest is about 15" across. Gene uses it to make big batches of curried fried rice in. The 12" pans I use mostly for frying chicken or baking cakes in the oven, and the new flat griddle is awesome for heating up tortillas or making crispy hashbrowns. I think of my mom often when I'm cooking with them. She died in 2001 but she would be so happy to know I have completely given up other pans and cook only with Made in U.S.A. cast iron skillets.
Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget? Do tell! love, susan
|Seasoned with love.|
|My recent purchase. I LOVE this griddle!|