I love cast iron skillets.
Cast iron skillets. They are heavy and require major upkeep. But I love them.
They are forgiving. I have had to re-season them so many times. One is my grandmothers and it is over 100 years old. Another one was my husband's when he was in college. My grandmother's is so rough looking. Chipped and marred on the lip but it cooks so well. I also have little cast iron kettles that you can do soup in. They are for individual soups. They make me tingle when I look at them. Is that weird? Puppy breath does the same thing. That's weird isn't it?
Anyway. I love that they cook my steaks to the perfect char on the outside and still leave them rare and juicy on the inside. I love that I can pop 4 eggs in olive oil in one and put it in the oven on 400 for 6 minutes and have 4 perfect eggs...over easy to place on top of good seed bread that has been slathered in goat cheese with tiny sliced tomatoes...Can I tell you that the combination of flavors is amazing? It is amazing.
I love that I can cook something in them and then pop them in the oven to finish.
But what I really love is cleaning them. That's weird too isn't it?
When I am organized, which isn't often, but with my kitchen I try hard to be - I can get in my there and enjoy the process of cooking. Even the process of cleaning is cathartic. I feel the same way about chopping veggies. It seems to work out the kinks. Cleaning my cast iron is cleansing for it and for me. I pour olive oil, then nice course kosher salt and I rub my hands around in it. Scrubbing the bottom and the sides, slathering the oil and salt mixture over the edges and to the outside, over the bottom and then back to the insides. Then I rub my hands, the backs and the nail beds and cuticles and rinse with warm water. I dry it with a paper towel and place it in my oven while it is still warm. It almost feels like I am pampering a baby when I do that. I like the thoughtless rhythm that goes along with it.
It seems like such a simple thing. Mundane even. But for whatever reason, it is calming and the last thing I do in my kitchen before I wish it good night and turn out the light.
When in the right frame of mind, isn't it such a lovely thing to contemplate? The simple rhythms of the kitchen and it's nourishment for our minds and our bodies. Such a gift. Unexpected.