Normally in this blog we either discuss all things writing and publishing, or I rant. However, today I want to talk about something close to my heart. Cast iron.
Yeppers. I’m a huge fan of cast iron. Good cast iron. Not the stuff they sell nowadays. The cast iron available now, even the high dollar stuff, comes out with a nubby style finish. They don’t come out with a smooth finish like the ones I grew up with. So, imagine my surprise when my wife discovered some of her mothers-in-law’s old cast iron here in Sacramento.
The pan is big enough to fit on the normal burner. Just the right size for us to cook in. It was also covered in a deep rust and several other bad things when she found it. I took one look at it and knew I wanted to restore it. You know what I mean. Haven’t you looked at something someone else considers hopeless and know you must give it a try. Even if you fail, you know you must give it your best shot.
I looked up tons of information on how to restore cast iron. It all sounded great, however, very little of it worked. It took me ages to get all the rust out of the pores of the pan. Then of course, the seasoning didn’t hold. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated I was over the process. I would do something I had read. Something from an expert and bam, nothing good would come of it.
I worked on this until I finally got that beautiful shiny finish you are supposed to have when cast iron is truly seasoned. I gave it to my Wifesty to use to cook in and once again – disappointment. Now my Wifesty also grew up with cast iron, so she knows what to do with it as well. Only it didn’t respond to her any more than it did to me.
The ultimate test of cooking in cast iron as far as I am concerned is eggs. Eggs cooked over easy. You can cook scrambled eggs in a semi-seasoned skillet even though they stick. You can still do it, but you must scrub the skillet again and re-season it.
We have worked on this skillet for a year now, I guess. We have given up on the experts and simply followed the old rule our grandmothers passed down to us. Clean it without soap, wipe it dry, and then heat it up. When the water has gone add oil. Let it rest and do it again and again and again. Do it after every use.
Following the words of our wise and experienced grandmothers, we now have a cast iron skillet that eggs float in. A skillet I love to use both inside and out of the oven. Something it was well worth the time and effort to restore.
Our lives are a lot like this cast iron skillet. They have been crusted over with stuff we didn’t want. Been beaten and abused and left for others to deal with. Yet, with time and patience and caring and a whole lot of dedication, we managed to rescue our skillet, and our lives.
We have failed at things in our lives. Failed at helping others. Failed at looking at something no one else wanted and tried to restore it. Sometimes you can, and sometimes you can’t. It is as simple as that. What matters is you put in the effort. You gave it your best shot regardless of whether you fail or not. You didn’t walk away from the attempt.
So many people judge others for what they have or have not done. These people often don’t do a damn thing in their own lives to try and help something or someone who has become rusted over. Until they do, I don’t pay them much mind. Neither should you.
I’m Ross, the Editor-in-Chief at The Pyraterheart Press and I’m out.