A Cast-Iron Legacy

| 5/8/2017 12:05:00 PM

farm signA legacy is an important part of a family. What sort of inheritance will be left to the children? Not just monetary, but ethically, spiritually, physically? My family has never been financially wealthy. Our legacies have consisted of knowledge and physical items. My father left me a legacy of integrity and honor. My Granny left me a legacy of old-fashioned know-how, an unshakable faith in God, stories of my family, and local legends. My mother left me a legacy of cast-iron.

Old cast iron cookware

No one could cook like my mother. She could throw together a meal in minutes for unexpected company and never break a sweat. She could cook, bake, preserve, and can to perfection. And she did most of it in either her stainless-steel cookware or her cast-iron. As an only child, I inherited all of it. At least, the cooking utensils.

Cooking has never come easy to me. I love to do it, but am not gifted like my mother was. I am quite good at cooking meals. But when it come to baking, most of my attempts supplement the pigs' breakfasts. Alas, my desserts must remain store bought.

My favorite cookware are the cast-iron skillets I inherited from my mother (a few pieces even belonged to my grandmother). They are my prized positions, and I would be lost without them. Mother taught me how to use them and how to care for them. I keep them stored in my oven when not in use. I keep them wiped down with homemade lard. They are as clean and shiny as brand new. The secret is keeping them warm and wiped down. Whenever I use the oven and then turn it off, I return the cast-iron to the oven while still hot. This keeps them seasoned. In the winter, we occasionally turn on the oven with the door open to add warmth; I leave the cast-iron inside. I also render lard in my big "pot" and the dutch oven. When through, I simply wipe them down with a paper towel and leave the residue.

Contrary to most experts, I actually do wash mine when necessary. I put mild dish soap on a damp 'scrubby' and wipe down the interior, rinse it good, dry it, and re-coat with lard. I have done this for years (as did mother before me) with no harm coming to the skillet. I will even use an SOS pad, rinse, re-coat with lard, and return to a warm oven.