Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Guest Blogger - "Skillets"

Hey there y'all! I got a great e-mail from my friend Marilyn, AKA "MistiMemphis", this morning about her iron skillets. I guess she was having a nostalgic moment and had to let me in on it. Anyway, I figured that what she had to say was pretty important to her, so I called her and asked her if I could have her as a guest blogger....she said GREAT.
Of course, she had already posted my response to her note on some message board so I guess she had to say yes, huh? Anyway, here is what she had to say. ( background- Marilyn works for airlines and gets to fly around a lot. She is also the mother of a beautiful daughter who lives in Japan at present and is teaching English. Her dogs stay at "MMS 's home base" when she jet sets all over the world . She has been a great friend to us for as long as we have been an "us." ( We even had our post wedding BBQ party at her house AND she made the wedding cake!)

Here's what she had to say ........

" As I travel the Jamaican countryside I see many bright, silver aluminum pots for sale. I don't recall, however seeing a black cast iron skillet in Jamaica. These skillets are the mainstay of African- Americans since slavery times. They are our Teflon, because if they are cured properly, and coated correctly when cooking, you get the same non- stick easy to clean surface. As members of my family have died I have become heir to the skillets. I now have about five. The most recent one came from my mother's house.
This morning I was washing about 3 of them when I noticed that the one from my mothers had layers and layers of a black deposit on the outside of the skillet (the inside being perfectly smooth like the others. I started to contemplate how I could remove this scale, then I asked myself if it hindered or enhanced the process of cooking, and why would I bother to remove it ? (If it ain't broke, why try to fix it?). I ran my hand over the scale, and realized that it represented many meals cooked by my grandmother, and then my mother, or maybe even further back than that. Who knows? So, this morning I felt their spirit, the fried chicken, the slab pork bacon, the cornbread baked in the oven all crusty brown, the eggs scrambled for a husband going off to work, the yeast rolls rising on the stove to go in the oven later…food from a time when women really cooked. I decided never to remove one bit of the scale, it is my legacy, my heritage, my fore-mothers talking to me from beyond. I wondered when I die if my daughter will even realize what these skillets mean. Will they become part of a massive garage sale, and then she will return to her life in Tokyo? That will be her choice, she has her turn on this earth. But for now, I washed them, and turned them lovingly together into the rack to dry and realized that I have been the lucky recipient of a rich history indeed. " - Miss Marilyn

Now y'all know I use my cast iron almost everyday, so this subject was near and dear for me. Nothing beats it for slow cooking and even frying. I do feel a certain nostalgia when I use my "big irons." If you have a great cast iron story or memory you want to share, just post it in the comments or send me an email and I'll post it for too!

Here's one of Marilyn's skillets, cooking up some Callaloo (?).

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