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Cast Iron Cookery


Checking the fresh vegetables as they cook in the cast iron pan.

Want to buy a product that’s inexpensive, American made, can be used every day of your life and then passed on to your children as a legacy? Cast iron cookware fills the bill.

One cool August morning Rich collected eggs from our backyard chicken flock, pulled out a cast iron skillet, and minutes later we enjoyed a delicious omelet. “That skillet once belonged to my great grandmother. It’s been handed down through generations and must be a century old yet still works great,” he said.

In this day and age when nearly all products quickly become obsolete or break, cast iron is amazingly durable. This type of cookware has been manufactured for well over 100 years and new and old ones cook amazingly well.

“I can’t think of any product as enduring as cast iron cookware. They truly last a lifetime or longer,” said Mark Kelly of Lodge Manufacturing. The company makes dozens of types of cast iron cookware in its Tennessee facility. Other American companies make small quantities of artisan cast iron skillets but they are pricey, while low quality ones are imported from China.

Two pans

pans on the stove

We love our cast iron and regularly use several skillets of different sizes and a Dutch oven to slow cook winter stew. Several are of unknown age but obviously old. Few have any writing embedded in them so their age and who made them is unknown. We augmented our heritage pans with a few new ones made by Lodge Manufacturing. Here’s what we like about our old and new cast iron cookware:

  • Lasts nearly forever.
  • Easy and fun to use. Clean up is a snap.
  • Heavy cast iron produces an even heat and adds a tiny bit of nutritional iron to food.
  • Made in the US! Partially of recycled metal. In the unlikely event that one cracks we can recycle it.
  • Food coming out of cast iron is delicious.
  • Amazingly inexpensive to buy. A small skillet costs under $20.

Rich’s Sunday Morning Pancakes or Winding Pathways Waffles

 2 cups whole wheat flour

½ cup buckwheat flour

½ cup milled flax or oat bran

½ cup sunflower seeds or minced pecans

¼ cup of raisins or small pieces of apple.

Two tablespoons of powdered milk

One tablespoon of baking powder

One fresh egg

Vegetable oil. (optional but needed for waffles)

 Combine and mix dry ingredients and add water while stirring.   Pour pancake sized pool of batter on a heated cast iron skillet.  Cook on medium heat until bubbles in mix break. Flip and cook the other side.   Enjoy with butter or a dollop of yogurt and warm maple syrup.    

Cast iron cookware is often sold in hardware and outdoor stores and online. For information contact  Lodge Manufacturing.  

Our friends, Jim and Diane Low, of Missouri are accomplished  chefs who specialize in cast iron cooking over wood coals. Jim wrote, “The morels and wild turkey with bow-tie pasta and nut-crusted venison loin best fit the hunting/foraging description.” He shared several of his favorite recipes: 

To read Jim’s recipes, subscribe now!

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7 Responses to Cast Iron Cookery

  1. Jacqueline N. Hull September 10, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    Cast iron skillets are the best. I haven’t used my Revere fry pan for years as I prefer the iron skillet. I have a small skillet from my mother. It makes the best omelet.
    Glad to know about Lodge Manufacturing. Thanks. Jac

  2. Jacqueline N. Hull September 10, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    Enjoy your cast iron skillets. I love mine. Haven’t used the Revere Ware fry pan in years. It sits unused. ):
    I love the small skillet that was my Mom’s. It makes the best omelet.
    Blessings, Jac

  3. Diane September 10, 2016 at 11:58 pm #

    I love to use my very small iron skilet for scranbed eggs in the morning. It was my grandmother’s, who was born in 1896. I have fond memories of her scrambling eggs in it, on a small cast iron, wood burning morning stove. It nevers fails me.

    Pouring cornbread batter into a hot sillet that is coated with sizzling butter, gives you an incredibly, buttery, crispy, baked treat.

    Thanks for such a delightful column! I loved it.

  4. Alice Wilkinson September 11, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

    Makes the best cornbread. Heat in oven with butter while you mix up the batter. Add melted butter to batter and mix briefly Pour in hot skillet and bake. Gives cornbread a crispy, buttery crust.

  5. Matt Franklin September 12, 2016 at 8:18 am #

    I hunted for an old cast iron skillet we use on our camper because it is not made anymore. Fits across both burners and the oval shape is practical for so many different reasons and types of food. Cast iron is the best!

  6. Sherrie Kopecky September 12, 2016 at 8:30 am #

    My best is my griddle. I’ve made pancakes and toasted cheese and eggs and bacon on it for 50 years. Think I got it with green stamps! I always took it camping.

  7. Henry Patterson September 13, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    I have used used cast iron frying pans for many years and find them to be very useful in making eggs and pancakes also pineapple upside down cakes. My pans came to me from my family and I have had them for many years as they last forever. I enjoy making potato pancakes a recioie that my grandmother taught me . Great winter dish if you have a small group of people for supper.

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