Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cast Iron Love Affair

 I, as many others did, grew up in the 50's. My mother hated cooking and was not particularly good at it. Her apple pie was great but we ate a lot of boiled beans with catsup and fried meat. Fried to shoe leather actually. I remember one year, I must have been five years old, that it seemed all we ate was fried venison and boiled beans. I couldn't eat either of those things for years.

Early on she cooked in cast iron pans, with lots of complaining as to the weight. In the 60's she got cast aluminum and was thrilled that they were so light. Near the turn of the century I learned that aluminum might be a contributor to Alzheimer's disease though now that theory is in doubt. http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/understanding-alzheimers-disease-basics When I became her care giver I got rid of those aluminum pans and transitioned back to cast iron and have never been sorry.

Most of the pans we have were acquired at thrift stores and some of them were in a very bad state. Rusty and dirty, pretty ugly but under the grunge the pans were still good. Sarah at  Frugal By Choice Blogspot has a wonderful tutorial on refurbishing and caring for cast iron.  

Image from Frugal By Choice
We, husband actually, have successfully used her methods and we are happy with our "nonstick" cast iron and use it all the time. Yes, I am developing great upper body strength hefting these babies around but they are so reliable and cook so beautifully that I doubt I would ever trade them in on the "next new thing".

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your expertise on cast iron care.

If you see a rusty cast iron pan and it calls to you don't hesitate. Grab it, take it home, and give it a good cleaning and conditioning. It really is a kitchen work horse and will be in your service for years. You may even need to put it in your will!

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