I come from a long line of bad cooks. My mama preferred fishing or shrimping or knitting or painting or playing that god-awful little organ of hers to cooking. Me, I’d rather be reading or writing or watching House Hunters International than doing anything in the kitchen. But Mama was a good mama, a post WWII mama, who believed the key to a happy family was dinner on the table, eating all together, and that’s why she gave me the cast iron skillet for a wedding present.
I liked that skillet for several reasons. One, it was from my mother whom I loved dearly and respected more than just about anyone. Two, it felt historical, knowing that people had used iron skillets for eons. Three, it didn’t have to be cleaned all that well. In fact, it wasn’t supposed to be cleaned at all. For someone who enjoys cleaning even less than cooking, there it was gaving me personal permission not to clean it.
That’s because iron skillets need to be seasoned. True to form, Mama gave me more detailed instruction on seasoning the skillet than she did on cooking with it. Seasoning involved lathering it with lard or, in Mama’s modern case, Crisco from the can, and then putting it in the oven for a while. When it came out, you were supposed to cool it down, wipe it out, put it in the cabinet, and never wash it again. Just wipe it out.
I used that skillet most days for the twenty years of my married life. However, when I divorced, and in spite of my still needing to feed my kids, I left that skillet along with the house Gary (aka The Big Kat) and I had built in our younger and more optimistic days.
Twenty-one years later, my oldest child, Melissa, moved back to
husband, Trevor. In less than two months' time, Kat had had enough
of three generations living together and decided to purchase a new home, one close by but far enough away. Georgia
Trevor is a cook, a good cook, one who likes the old ways. And while all my kids inherited my lack of culinary skills, and my grandkids, Miles and Cami, inherited my left handedness, my last grandchild, Georgia, inherited her father’s interest in cooking. So these days, my son-in-law and my granddaughter stand in the same kitchen where I stood so many years back, sautéing in the cast-iron skillet my mother gave me over forty years ago.
That’s family for you, inheriting some things you hope for and expect, and others you couldn't even begin to imagine.