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What Took Me So Long To Rediscover Cooking With Cast Iron?

Cast Iron Skillet
Stephanie's New Old Cast Iron Skillet
Growing up, my grandmother and mom both had a cast-iron skillet always sitting on the stove. Mom still has hers. My husband said his mother and grandmother always had one too. That was the main skillet they used to make pretty much everything. The first thing I learned to cook by myself was a grilled cheese sandwich in our skillet. Unfortunately, I think I forgot about it, and well, there was a lot of black smoke involved pouring out our kitchen door.


When I got married, I got many Teflon skillets that were all the rage. And a big old electric frying pan. That electric pan disappeared after about ten years, and during the next 43 years, I went through so many different pans. I liked my Revere-ware frying pan the best. But still, I would buy new pans all the time—each one promising me the best non-stick pan. Last year I even got one of those red copper ones.


During these years, I would go to auctions and sometimes come home with old rusted cast iron skillets. I always figured someday I would clean them up and sell them. I think I sold a few here and there. But I never used one. I don’t know why. It just never occurred to me till the other day. I watched a cooking show, and they were using a cast-iron skillet.


That started me on my quest to find out how to clean a rusty old cast iron skillet. (I love Kent Rollins videos) Salt and elbow grease! A lot of it, and I slowly got it cleaned. Then I had to read about seasoning it. What a process that was, but it was so worth it. I now have a beautiful cast iron skillet that I am using for everything. I found that flaxseed oil or avocado oil are some of the best for the aftercare of this pan. They can take the high temperatures.


Now you might ask, what does this have to do with gardening? Funny, you should ask. I have found many great recipes that I can’t wait to try once our vegetable garden starts producing. Already, my husband and I are enjoying the steaks I have made. Who knew, beginning with a HOT pan, sear the steaks then finish them off in the oven. So delicious! I can’t wait to make a stir fry next!


Now my new old cast iron frying pan sits on my stove like my grandmother’s and moms did. Every time I look at it, I smile.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. What a great cast iron pan story.
    Thats all I use..I have 6 skillets all different styles.

    And your first podcast was awesome.
    Carol Allen is over the top “plant crazy” in the best way possible.


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