One of my readers dropped in on Saturday for a very enjoyable visit, and she gave me gifts - a nice, very old cast iron frying pan, two big boxes of washing soda, a stack of delightful old cookbooks, and .... these.
Have I ever mentioned that I have some of the most awesome, incredible readers and friends in the world? Truly.
And speaking of that, here's what you do NOT do with a cast iron skillet.
Do NOT put a bunch of grease in it, warm it up and then stick it in a cupboard where it is promptly forgotten.
Lots of very thin layers of grease - that's what builds up that wonderful seasoning.
I don't know who shunted it off into the cupboard, but the layer of fat in it was far too thick. It turned into a sticky, nasty horrible mess that encrusted my steel wool scrubby and wouldn't come off even with boiling water. I filled the skillet with lots of coarse salt, let it sit for a bit, and then scraped.
Can you see the nasty mess that came up?
You want to see it close up? That's a thick *peel* of fat and ... stuff.
And it's not as though I don't know how to season a skillet. Here's the one I've been using for several years, just after we finished lunch (corned beef hash - yummy!). This is the very best type of non-stick skillet. But it has become that way through lots and lots of use. And that's the ironic part of cast iron. The best one to have is your mother's, or your grandmother's, because it takes years to build up that wonderful layer seasoning.