Dad’s Cast Iron Pan

Dad's cast iron pan

Isn’t she a beauty?  This black beauty?!  No, she’s not a horse, (for those who remember Black Beauty) although she is quite a thoroughbred – a consummate kitchen horse.  She’s one of my most prized possessions given to me by my Dad about two years ago.  I use this pan just about every day.  My Dad carefully and lovingly preserved this gorgeous girl for 45 years, taking her on many a hunting trip I’m sure!  Yelling at the camp cook….”don’t wash my cast iron pan with soap and make sure you oil the ENTIRE surface before you put it away!”.   At home, he hung her along with all his other (newer and less important girls) on the back wall of his tiny kitchen.  His cast iron pans require display like pieces of art on the walls of his rustic castle.

I remember this pan full of perfectly scrambled eggs loaded with green chili’s and sharp cheddar cheese.  I was eleven.  Dad was particularly careful not to make that weird, lacy, foreign egg layer up the sides of the pan.  Nasty! I learned how to scramble eggs by watching Dad wield his wooden spoon around the pan like a maestro directing his orchestra.   Just as the eggs were still somewhat soft (my Dad’s version of perfect eggs is not the culinary version – nor mine)  Dad would add a can, or two, of diced green chili’s, a nice handful of grated sharp cheddar cheese and then finish her off (I’m pretty sure in those days you couldn’t buy pre-shredded cheese in the grocery store).  The fresh made Donald Duck orange juice made from concentrate filled my brothers’ glass, then mine,  Next, three perfectly crispy slices of bacon (which means if you dropped a piece on the floor it would shatter!).  And, finally….the eggs! Nice!  Dad would finish them off with a generous pinch of salt.  Ahhh!  Memories!

To make the perfect pan of scrambled eggs, you first gotta use a cast iron pan.  If you haven’t tried this yet in your life, it’s something you must attempt.  You will be well rewarded.  Since the heat is perfectly even in cast iron, eggs come out absolutely perfect.  You don’t have to chase the eggs around the pan as you would stainless steel or a Teflon pan.  Or, try to locate the hot spot and push the wad of eggs around to find the area with the perfect temperature, and then end up with an in-cohesive pan of eggs.  Not in my world!  I think a frame by frame lesson on preparing perfect scrambled eggs in cast iron is in my near future…and yours.

Now, the little lady lives in my oven slathered in oil so that she can continue her generational path in my home for many more years.  To clean her, I shake some coarse Kosher salt across the bottom as an abrasive, then use a paper towel to scrub any debris away.  Once I’ve got the entire pan cleaned, I wipe it down one more time with a clean paper towel.  Finally, I cover the inside then the outside with any oil I have on hand and place the beautiful girl in the oven for safe keeping.  She knows she’ll be saddled up the next day anyway!  Thanks Dad!

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