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One of the first dishes that I learned to make was corn bread in a cast iron skillet. I’m thinking corn bread because I loved it and the cast iron skillet was because that’s the only thing we used to make cornbread in! We made tons of other food in mom’s cast iron skillets which was the only kind of skillets that we had.
When Teflon came along, I remember us all choosing to use Teflon over cast iron but I don’t know why, other than it was “the new kid on the block”! I started learning how to cook when I was young. I don’t know how old I was when I started learning to cook but I wasn’t a teenager yet and I’ve been cooking ever since!
My Mom is the best cook I’ve ever known which is saying a lot because I went to culinary school and got to eat the food of a lot of great chef instructors. When it comes to everyday home cooking, my Mom has no equal – in my mind. I’m sure you feel the same way about your Mom, Aunt, Grandmother, Dad or somebody, right? I learned a lot from my Mom, a few things from my Dad and both of them taught me how to cook using cast iron. There’s something about cast iron that makes the flavor more intense. It fries and chars beautifully. It bakes like it was made for baking!
My Mom passed away in 2007 and for the life of me I don’t know what happened to all of her cast iron skillets, dutch ovens, lids – etc. I hadn’t lived at home for years but I did notice that they were all gone when I moved back home a few years ago. The sad part is that pots, pans, skillets and things like that can and should be handed down in a family.
Cooking in your Mom’s pots & pans brings back the best memories of her cooking for you and the rest of the family using those same pots & pans. Since I couldn’t have that experience, I decided to start my own collection of cast iron cookware. Of course I had to have a small skillet 5 to 6 inches, a medium sized one 8 to 10 inches and a big chicken fryer 15 inches or more! I also wanted at least one Dutch oven.
One day I was in Walmart to run in and pickup something quick and then leave when I saw a set of 3 pieces of cast iron cookware by Ozark Trail! I didn’t know who Ozark Trail was, in fact the only brand name I knew about for cast iron was Lodge. The Ozark Trail collection was 2 skillets, one 5″ and one 8″ and a two sided griddle for $19.99. Even though I didn’t know the company name, the display was in the camping section on an end cap, so I decided to take a change and give it a go!
Even though the box said the cookware was pre-seasoned, I decided to pre-season them again anyway. I found some instructions online and followed them somewhat. I say somewhat because the instructions said to wash with soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Next you add a little oil to the pan and wipe it (inside & outside) with canola oil, remove oil with a towel and then put it in the oven on 400 – 500 for 1 hour. Then it says do the oil, wipe, oven bake part SIX times – yes six times. Yes, it would take a whole day to season your cast iron that way. I decided since mine was already pre-seasoned I’d do it twice, see how it looked and decide if I should do anymore “rounds”.
If you have cast iron I’m sure you’re using it but if you’re not, please do! If you don’t have any please get some, you’ll love what it does for your dishes!
Stay tuned for an update in this post about how my cast iron seasoning (seasoned twice) went. I’ll let you know tomorrow. Of course that means I’ll be forced to go buy some chops or something similar to fry and I guess I’ll have to bake something too. Maybe a pan of corn bread too! Yippee!
UPDATE!!! I took my new pre-seasoned cast iron cookware and following instructions I found on a blog, I reseasoned them again – twice. I seasoned and fried pork chops and I baked corn bread in the bigger 8″ skillet. It performed flawlessly! No sticking, no burning, no problems! My pork chops were golden brown and juicy and the cornbread was simply delicious!
I included some pictures so you could see the results for yourself! The way I was standing when I took the pics caused a shadow on the cornbread making it look like it didn’t cook properly. Sorry about that folks! It cooked perfectly and looked and tasted delicious. I just need to take some food photo classes! 🙂
I’m happy with Ozark Trails and I recommend them highly. Anytime you can find cast iron that’s reasonably priced and that cooks like a charm, I’m in! I’m in love with Ozark Trails and like I told my sister, I will be buying more of it very soon! I was looking online and they have a 5 quart Dutch oven for $17.82 at Walmart! That’s the best price I’ve seen on a 5 quart cast iron Dutch oven – EVER! I’m definitely getting one. I don’t want one with feet which is perfect for cooking outside/campfire cooking. For home cooking a flat bottom will be perfect!