This October marks my wife's and my 10th wedding anniversary, which means I've managed to keep our cast iron skillets in good working condition for an entire decade (I'm a recovering flake, so our trio of pans definitely had some rough times due to the slow-drip brutality of negligence). Through much trial and error, I've developed a solid method of caring for cast iron that will keep these babies cooking for generations to come.
For the sake of this article, let’s just assume for a moment that you’re convinced of the merits of listening to bluegrass and old-time string music...
“… my landlady, by the way, doesn’t like the Germans because when some playful Nazi pilots lived in her house some months ago, they threw a hand grenade into her chicken coop, and they had to eat the winter’s supply of chickens all at once.”
This is one of my favorite lines from our family's treasure: my grandfather’s back-and-forth correspondence letters during World War II. Frank T. Waters was an editor of the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. At several instances during the war, he sent correspondence back home to his mother, family, and friends sharing daily life overseas and fighting the biggest war of the 20th century.
Going through these letters is a truly amazing glimpse of a soldier's life during war-time Europe in the 40s. I counted 207 letters, official correspondence, orders, postcards, etc, so far. Reading these, I discover my grandfather was smart, curious, and pretty funny. Here are some of my favorite bits:
I can recount eras of my life in wallets. My first was a black trifold at age nine, a Christmas gift from my grandparents. High school and undergrad entered the era of canvas, which would wear hard at the corners where cards hit. In my twenties, I carried a thick oxblood-colored job I found on clearance at a department store. It was the model that signaled the end of the era; the first that didn't come with that little plastic sleeve for photos, because the smart phone had rendered it unnecessary.
If you grew up with a father figure in your life, odds are he had a favorite chair or place to sit. My dad certainly has one, and even my friends growing up knew where to find him in the evenings after work. This man from Instructables.com inherited this homemade rocking chair from his grandfather (who in fact inherited the woven patterns from his mother's chair) and decided to recreate one of his very own.
Search the ManMade archives, and you'll find no shortage of love for cast iron cookware.
You'll also note lots of warnings about some of the pitfalls of buying new cast iron, and our recommendation to buy used or unseasoned pieces so you can indeed build that heirloom-quality non-stick surface that makes cast iron such a great investment and pleasure to use.