Take good care of that old cast iron skillet | The Marlin Democrat

2022-06-04 02:36:26 By : Ms. Bella Liu

“It was just a rusty old cast iron pot,

Discarded in days gone by,

But it had a certain allure like as not,

An’ somehow it caught my eye.”

Our Granddaughter, one of Jimmy and Carol’s triplets will be getting married this summer and one of our gifts will be a set of cast iron skillets. My young bride Stella and I know that as a good southern belle, she will surely make cornbread and cook chicken fried steak! And that is just the start of all the things that can be fixed using an old iron skillet. 

Cast iron cookware was, as far as history knows, first used about 220 A. D. by folk in the Han Dynasty in China. 

By the 16th century, Europe was known to use this method of cast iron production and this method of making pots and pans quickly became a staple in households throughout the world. Most of this cookware had legs for setting on wood cook fires. 

Cooking pots and pans with legless, flat bottoms came into use when cooking stoves became popular and the flat cast iron skillet was developed in the late 19th century. Clean cast iron cookware must be seasoned. This is accomplished by rubbing its insides with some type of cooking oil and then applying heat to cook the oil into the cookware. 

Our families grew up with food prepared in cast iron cookware and those that understood cast iron developed a skill at the cooking game that took a backseat to no one. It did not matter whether they were bubbling stew, making bread, frying chicken or steak, or cooking a cobbler; these cooks were going to put a mouth-watering meal on the table. But all good things must end, because now there is clean up to do! 

There is a proper way to clean and take care of cast iron cookware. Yes, I know that everyone may have their own method, but it comes down to this; Rule #1 – No soap allowed! You can scrape it, scrub it, swish it, use chore girls, steel wool, or pot scrubbers, wadded tinfoil, or even coarse salt or sand from the creek bank, but you cannot use soap! Rule #2 – see rule #1. Rule #3 - When it is clean to your satisfaction, you must rub the inside with animal fat or vegetable oil of some kind and then place the utensil back on the heat to cook that oil into re-season your cast iron cookware. Successful cast iron cooks re-season often! 

Proper cast iron seasoning protects your cookware from rust. It also gives you a non-stick surface to aid in cooking while reducing food interaction with the iron. Our ancestors showed us the way to cast iron cooking, and like most things, we have added our techniques, but to be totally successful, we must remember Rule #1.

In His Mind’s Eye

It was just a rusty old cast iron pot,

Discarded in days gone by,

But it had a certain allure like as not,

An’ somehow it caught my eye.

And it brought fond mem’ries from yesteryear,

When the pilgrims pushed to the west,

Facin’ unknown danger, hardship, and their own fear,

Determined to finish their quest,

In my minds eye, I could shore see things play out,

Wherever that ol’ pot had been,

Lives it had touched as they would laugh, cry, an’ shout,

A promise of life soon to begin.

Mem’ries gave clue to what that ol’ pot would inspire,

At least some pots just like this one,

And I could see those pots gathered around the cook fire,

Aromas coming from each one.

The hoodlum had hauled water up from the creek,

For cookin’ then washin’ the slack,

An’ taters an’ onions peeled as we speak,

Old black coffee pot on the rack,

Listen to the sizzle of chicken fried steak,

 That ol’ iron skillet is hot,

An’ smell the aroma that Dutch oven makes,

Sour dough biscuits like as not.

Watchin’ Iron skillet cornbread turnin’ golden brown,

Or that Dutch oven bubblin’ stew

The cook with that pot hook, for which he is renown,

Keepin’ all the pots in view.

But the pot most watched holds a cobbler of dried apple pie,

A real camp favorite no doubt,

To finish the meal ‘neath the starry black sky,

While squeeze box music sings out.

I listened to the story from that old rusty pot.

Bringin’ mem’ries from yesteryear,

Thinkin’ of things long forgot,

Sweet mem’ries an’ quietly I blinked back a tear.

When you take good care of your cast iron cookware, it will last and can  become a family heirloom passed down to future generations of good cooks. 

Making sure your cast iron is totally dry before applying oil will control rust  and aid in the seasoning process.

God Bless each of you and God Bless America!

251 Live Oak St Marlin, TX 76661 Phone: (254) 883-2554 Fax:(254) 883-6553