Cast Iron Skillet

It’s 1969 and my step-sister is obsessed – with frying pans. Not just any frying pans; cast iron frying pans, or cast iron anything for that matter.

Tuesdays are bulk trash days where people can put anything and everything out by the road for pick up. With the advent of T-Fal cookware everyone is throwing all cast iron, stainless steel and ceramic cookware out on the curb. My step-sister packs me and the baby into the car and we cruise the trash piles. “Look! There’s another one – quick, grab the pot too”, as if anyone else really wants this stuff.

So I spent many Tuesdays looking like a skinny orphaned waif picking through the trash while she sat incognito a safe distance away in the car. The pots and pans were always either black and greasy or crusty and rusty – sometimes both. Sis would whisk them away into the kitchen where she would work her magic (thankfully I was spared that part). When the pot or pan reemerged it was black, slick and shiny and seasoned to perfection; you could slide an omelet around in those pans just as pretty as any non-stick pan you’ll ever find.

The cheap T-Fal (planned obsolescence) soon had loose and broken handles, the coating scratched, peeled and chipped but Sissies’ pans? They are still going strong over 40 years later.

I now have my own collection and while I don’t use them on my glass cook top in the house they are THE number one cookware for the outdoor kitchen. There isn’t a wood fire, gas, or charcoal grill that can whoop a cast iron pan.

BBQ Baked beans and corn in one pot (yes they really do taste good together) and cornbread in a pan with lamb steaks in the middle on the grate and my grill is complete.