When I was a kid, my mom had this dreadfully heavy cast iron pan that I thought was a truly terrible thing for cooking food. I remember being about 11 or 12 years old and having to remove a pan of corn bread from the oven and thinking that the cast iron pan had to be the worst invention ever because either I was going to break my wrist trying to get it out of the oven, or worse, burn myself trying to support it with my other non-gloved hand. I mean really, who thought that a 10 lb pan was a great idea for cooking when it took so long to heat and was too heavy to lift once you finally put food into it. And the handle was always hot! Not a brilliant invention, in my 11-year-old mind. When I grow up, I will buy all newly-designed pans with the most lightweight metals, I thought to myself.
As with many things I thought I knew as a pre-teen, my hatred for cast iron has come back to laugh at me more than once since I stumbled into adulthood. For instance, I'm now convinced that it's impossible to make good scrambled eggs without a cast iron pan.
And I now appreciate the fact that cast iron takes so long to heat because the heating is always even and my food doesn't get scorched in particular areas. I can start cooking on the stove and move the cast iron to the oven, which is how I nearly always make potatoes. I also appreciate the fact that since I use each of these pans several times each week, they will always be seasoned and probably last as long as I desire to cook in them. I also have a cast iron soup pot, acquired from my grandmother that is awaiting a good cleaning and seasoning so I can start using it. I think I might have judged my mother's cast iron pan a little too harshly in my childhood.
Voilà! Saturday lunch from my very-loved cast iron pans (and crispy kale from a baking sheet instead of cast iron...but I wonder if they make cast iron cookie sheets, hmmm...)
Although the farmer's market this morning was a cloudy, muggy and very windy experience as the edges of Hurricane Irene swept through our area, I managed to find potatoes, onions, zephyr squash, kale (fixed like this and my boys ask for 3rd and 4th helpings), and eggs for our Saturday lunch.
With watermelon for dessert!