543 Day Writing Journey

An Ode to Cast Iron: Recipe Included. Day 431.

I haven’t named my cast iron pan, the one that held the home fries with extra onions, and the one that was left in the sink for two whole days.

It’s oiled up now and ready for the next mission: sausage gravy for Baylee to put on his biscuits tomorrow morning. I just washed it and oiled it up real nice after its adventures yesterday with cookie bars, some with walnuts, some sans.

It’s been camping with us at Carolina Beach State Park when Baylee was a yellow-haired toddler. Cornbread and pancakes were invented to be baked in it. It sits in my oven because I need quick, pretty much daily access. Back-and-forth-and-back from North Carolina to Massachusetts and NC again.

I paid $20 for it at Walmart decades ago, my kitchen sidekick, my inanimate friend, and it’s forgiving.

People say not to wash them but to clean them like a grill, but I do. People say don’t use soap but Dawn works well. I’m just sure to rinse rinse rinse then dry it over high heat on the stovetop. People say to season them periodically but I do slack at it.

My mom used one all the time, and she treated hers a little better than I do mine. She swore by it but I was hesitant when I moved into my own place because it’s not a simple pan, not a basic kitchen item. I’m so glad she showed me how to use one and how to completely appreciate its timelessness and versatility.

So, if you’re reading this, take a trip to the local store and pick up a cast iron pan. Then run into your local grocery story, grab a bag of russets, a yellow onion or two, some real butter, salt and pepper. Go home, put on some comfies, and Google some basic tips about their care.

When you’re all settled, make these:

You will need:

  • About six large potatoes, chopped into one-inch cubes or thin slices. (Starchy like russet are best, but any type will work just fine.) There‚Äôs no rule to what shape or whether or not you omit the peels. (I keep them.)
  • One very large onion chopped (not too small or it will disintegrate)
  • One stick of REAL butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Toss onions in and cook for a minute or two until the scent extracts Max from his room or the onions become translucent. Add the potatoes and refrain from moving them around for a few minutes. You want them to become browned and cooked through without becoming mushy, but of course you don’t want to burn them. The good news is that they will still taste good no matter what. Salt and pepper them to your liking and serve with an over-medium egg draped over the top, and a thick slice of buttered sourdough toast.

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