My Cast Iron Cooking

I just love cast iron cookware. 

On January 1st, I don’t know what you were doing but I know what I was doing. Every new year,  I feel a sense of new found vigor. I can put the past year to bed. In my journal, I write my life’s history–the good the bad and sometimes the ugly. It’s nothing new under the sun, diaries or journals.   You know the pioneers and the early settlers kept journals, for each generation to learn from.  Farmers keep journals too,  so to speak. Maybe some only write one-word journals—good year, bad year break-even year. Or for those gardeners it might be a bit wordier—corn did well, beans did lousy, plant more peas. My journaling is of course a bit more personal.
 Books, journals, famous authors, coffee and tea breaks, oh my!  Add a  lovely new scarf  to  this Modern Country Woman’s wardrobe, more cast-iron cooking,  here’s to a great 2017.  

This year, day one, I wrote already in my journal the following: “Such a busy “day one” of my 2017 life.”  It was a good beginning I reflected at the end of the day.  I always feel excited to start a new year. There is a sense of freshness to it; like a spring breeze. Like that feeling when test-driving a new car and you’re trading in  that old clunker or slightly worn out one.     My first day’s activities was sparked when my daughter Christi reminded me that I had totally forgotten to gift her some of my cast iron cook ware we had discussed before Christmas. 
I admit, am a collector and I do own many pieces of cast iron, too many most would say.  I started sorting through my cast iron to settle on what to gift her.  Skillets of all sizes, some soup pots too.  A corn stick and a divided one for corn bread, a stew pot or maybe some call it a Dutch oven.  I baked a dump cake in it one time placing it next to the campfire, not on the fire. It was a peach dump cake and  delicious. I wonder if I still have that recipe?   Tons of memories surfaced form that one sentence. 

Some use a shortening cutter but us old fashioned gals use
our hands. Clean hands  and rings removed!
The best cast iron memory  was of mother stirring the rue in her skillet in the farmhouse kitchen of my youth right  after the sausage was cooked and removed. Popping the biscuits in the oven  at the same moment.    Perhaps you too can see your mother or grandmother moving the meat round and round in her skillet. I realized one day much farther into the future it was because the center cooks much faster than the pans edge. My center sausage was crispy indeed! Are you wondering what is the rue?  It is the thickening made with flour sprinkled then stirred into  the sausage drippings, the beginning of gravy making; the thickening.  You have to do it just right or you will have “lumpy” gravy I was schooled.  Been there done that, lumpy grave I’ve had a few times. Hopefully, not today. 
This is my favorite (only) rolling pin I use.
Got it over 40 years ago in an auction box.

I read using a deep dished pan helps biscuits to
rise more. Maybe it did. 

 With these wonderful farmhouse memories surfacing I blurted out to my husband,   “We’re going to have sausage gravy and homemade biscuits this New Year’s day.” 

I mixed the new found biscuit recipe, promising to be fluffy (using an egg, cream of tartar and no buttermilk) using my  hand.   No electric appliance needed.  

Lightly golden brown.  Note the number on the handle. 
The gravy came out tasty—no lumps! The biscuits fluffy as I had hoped for. 

Lastly, a family ritual to complete the meal as if a dessert, I placed a pat of butter on the plate, then drizzled (local clover) honey over it then smashed it with the fork like I had watched Daddy do, time and time again, creating an old fashioned whipped, honey butter. Parting a warm biscuit I smeared a gob of my concoction over it, quickly eating it before it runs down my fingers. “Oh my gosh! This is delightful, if I do say so myself.” A nod of approval was cast my way. 

Tasty, No lump, thickening  gravy just the way I remember in the farmhouse of my youth.

Needless to say the high carb breakfast gave me the energy to clean out the refrigerator and tackle the Tupperware bin. Now there’s a thought. True motivational energy. 
Let’s eat. Oh well, the eggs came out over medium. Shoot.  

 Gosh it felt good to dump an armful of mismatched and rarely used plastics in the outside trashcan. Liberating! A stiff breezed blew my hair back. I breathed deep as I headed back inside my farmhouse on the hill.  Maybe cast iron cooking is going to be my new 2017. 

So here’s the thing…Take Joy! Read between the lines. Be spontaneous, isn’t that the  moments found in childhood.  Playing “in the moment.” Don’t be so old. Just be happy, happy, happy. Happy New Year to you.


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