cast iron skillet memories

cast iron skillet memories

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You just never know what’s going to rouse Facebook folks to comment on your fan page.  I mean some of the things I post that I think are really cool go dead in the water, then other things that don’t even seem to have much flair or appeal rally big time with likes and comments.

That’s the multiple personality of Facebook—it’s like a grab bag, a tossup, and always interesting to see what sticks and makes the foodie world on FB take the time to comment.

I found the honey hole!  Cast iron skillets—and, it’s all about the memories.  So many of the cast iron skillets that are in our kitchens now came from our parents and grandparents.  These things are in the same category as priceless antiques, fabulous jewelry, inherited items that must be kept in the family!

Growing up in West Virginia cast iron skillets were the mainstay in my Mom’s kitchen…in my grandma’s kitchen…well, in most all of my friends’ family’s kitchens.  I can remember many a skillet of white biscuit gravy being made by Cathy’s daddy, a hard-working coal miner, in the big cast iron skillet on Saturday mornings!  Mom used to fry up the bestest crispy chicken livers in the cast iron and other great foods—cornbread, greens, hamburgers, and, oh, the favorite, fried potatoes and onions.

cast iron skillet memories

I wanted to find out more about others’ cast iron skillets, if they had any, how many, where they kept them, why they liked them, and what memories they might share around their love of cast iron skillets.

One hundred and thirty-size (136) foodies responded to my post.  I was blown away!

In that group of folks, there was collectively 240 cast iron skillets.  I actually had expected more, but it seems that the average number that each owned was about 1 skillet each.  Now, that doesn’t mean there were some off the bell curve anomalies here.  While most folks claimed that they had anywhere between one and four skillets, some were literally cast iron skillet junkies—two foodies owned 16 pieces, one counted 14 pieces, and another four proudly claimed 12 pieces—now that’s a lot of cast iron.  Stack them up, and you’ve got some serious weight going on!

I was also interested in where people keep their cast iron skillets.  Now, I keep mine either primarily in the oven—sometimes I get fancy and make room for them on the bottom shelf where the other skillets and pots call home, but they usually end up back in the oven.  So, it didn’t surprise me when I tallied these results as to where cast iron is kept!

cast iron skillet memories

#1  Oven

#2  Cabinet/cupboard/pantry

#3  Stovetop counter top

#4  Drawer below oven

#5   MSC  hanging closet, back porch, garage, camper, storage building closet, special drawer

The best part of this ‘research’—scientific at that—are the comments about their cast iron skillets—I’ve pulled a few to share.

We all know that the heart of the home is the kitchen, and if this is true, then the main arteries have to be those cast iron skillets and cookware—let’s hope keep the love alive—give your kids and young people cast iron skillets for gifts or special occasions!

Gena Brooks Ryan This old coal miners daughter remembers her mother’s cast iron skillets very well. Every morning before the sun rose over the mountain, my mother would be in the kitchen making my daddy’s breakfast before he left for work. Homemade biscuits, gravey in the cast iron skillet, eggs and bacon. (The bacon was first fried in the skillet. The gravey was made from the bacon drippings) To consume that kind of meal is practically unheard of these days. If you remember, my dad didn’t have an ounce of fat on his body. I raised my boys making the very same meal, using mother’s skillet. I did not make this breakfast every day, nor even once a week. While they were young, I would make it for them and my husband, probably on a couple of Saturday mornings each month. There are several other things mother made in that specific skillet that I also make…no recipes written, I watched and learned. Each morning before daddy left the house to go to work, mother kissed him. Ever single time I witnessed their affection, mother said to me, “I don’t know if he will be coming home tonight.” I know you understand her remark, but others may not know, she was referring to the danger and her fear of him being underground in the coal mine all day. Sweet memories of my wonderful parents and the “black skillet.”

 LaQuita Haynes My mom had a treasure-trove of cast iron skillets, seasoned so perfectly, she could fry an egg in her small one, using just a dab of butter and it never stuck but slid right onto the plate. My favorite was her cornbread. She used the same recipe just like it was going into the oven but she cooked it right on top of the stove. Halfway through the cooking time, she ‘flipped’ it with her spatula. This gave it that delicious, golden brown, crispiness on both sides. Neither my sister nor I have been able to duplicate that. Also, she said the secret to keeping them well-seasoned was (1) Never wash them with soap, just wipe out with damp ‘rag’ and (2) Dry it on top of the open flame of her gas stove. She said that gets all the moisture out. She must have known what she was talking about as all her cast-iron was slick, shiny perfection.

cast iron skillet memories

Nataša Pajestková I remember one my mum owned, and a cast iron Dutch oven! My mother came from Trinec, a town with huge iron and steel works, and a friend of hers, a worker there, made them for my mum. I remember all those delicious meals my mother made in them! Sadly, I don’t know what their “fate” was… . I have a cast iron Dutch oven bought at ironmonger’s and I love it!

Pampered Chef Consultant Carol’s Corner   When I moved from New England to California 20+ years ago I had just 2 suitcases and 2 boxes. Among them 3 cast iron skillets that had been in my family for years. They’re magic time machines that take me back decades and many, many miles to my grandmothers kitchen. Watching her and learning to knead dough, can fruits and veggies, prepare meals. The wonderful smells of stews bubbling, bread baking. The memories of growing up in a family where the kitchen was truly the heart of the home and the standard greeting was “are you hungry.” So grateful for the time we spent together and the memories.

Doris Hold Rice Rowlands My grandfather was a blacksmith n the NW corner of Alabama.. Along with the usual stuff, he made a few skillets. This one I have would have been made sometime in near 1945. My father married my mother and they left Alabama taking with them the prized cast iron skillet. Although I am not certain if the skillet was seen as a prize at that time. Fast forward many years and many many many meals, I am now the owner of that skillet. I do not use it as often as I should. BUT each and every time I take it out of the cupboard, memories wash over me.

Diane Gallucci Borusiewicz  My crazy cast iron story. Many years ago, when I didn’t exactly KNOW how to cook. My husband and I decided to heat some (okay, a lot) of oil and deep fry something in my mom’s beloved cast iron dutch oven. The oil got too hot and caught fire. My husband put the lid on the pot and carried it outside (crazy, I know). We waited some time and then took the lid off the pot and the fire re-ignited. We couldn’t figure out what to do, so we called the fire department for some advice. The “advice” we received was three fire trucks with their sirens blaring, lights flashing, and the entire neighborhood outside! The fireman sprayed the the fire out which resulted in this molton goo oozing all over the driveway. We could not get rid of that oil slick/goo for so long! People kept slipping and falling in the driveway. But the cast iron pot survived and lives on to this day! The other “advice” we receive from the firemen was that in the future my husband should take me out to dinner.

Chris Clark Simpson:   I have 21 of various shapes and sizes I use for cooking. Nine very small ashtray size that I plan to display on a wall. All were purchase second hand at auctions, yard sales and thrift stores. I am still collecting and am happy to find one. Most people say they are too heavy to use, but that is one reason I love them! I use them daily and my favorites are stored in the oven.  Here’s just a few of the 136 comments!

Annette Duffey:   I have 7 all different in size. My first and favorite handed down from my Mom she used it to cooked cornbread in when we were young, and now I use it for the same. A true Southerner wouldn’t dare cook cornbread in anything else! LOL!!

Bob Dziewiontkoski:   Oven. 6 pieces. My all-time favorite rummage sale buy was a 10″ and a 12″ Lodge skillet for 25 cents each.

cast iron skillet memories

Once a Mom Always a Cook:   I have 3 and 2 were my grandmother’s cast iron skillets. I keep them in my oven, of course when it’s not on! Memories…

Rich Man’s Food:   I’ll show you mine when I return this afternoon, hanging from my copper rack. My 17 year old just bought his very own tiny one for his egg! (So proud, lol!) 😀

Beverly Ellis:   Oh I forgot about my cast iron griddle. I got that for Christmas last year to replace that crappy warped piece of junk aluminum one. it stays on the counter propped against the wall above the cabinet w/ the skillets and Dutch ovens.

Darrell Michael Atkin
s:   There is no replacement for a great cast iron skillet. Lard still the best for getting them ready.

Lisa Dean:   I have them in my cabinet, stacked with wax paper in between. It was a tip I got from a friends mom a long time ago. She said paper towels or towels would soak up any of the seasoning. I never questioned her because she was one of those country Momma’s who just seemed to know everything. (In a good way of course). Let’s see, I have about six pieces I think.

Nancy Goodman:   I have 12, 4 of which were my grandmothers, they have their own special drawer!

Anne Humphrey:   I have just the one..scavenged from landfill many years ago.I use it for real hot cooking of steaks then it is washed, dried & oiled then put back in the oven for storage…woe betide any other ‘cook’ who dares to leave it soaking in water!

Kim Bieszk Rogers:   Own 4. Keep them handy in the oven! Memories of my grandparents cooking and baking in cast iron, then my parents.

cast iron skillet memories


  1. What no comments.? Loved the stories. I fall into the cast iron junkie class. 50 plus chunks of CI and I love them all.

    • Oh, you amazing friend! Thanks for hanging w/me in the kitchen and sharing the cast iron skillet/cookware love! I know…not one stinkin’ comment but yours, which rocks!! Actually, most all folks commented on FB. It was fun to hear all these beautiful stories. It’s history that preserves our families through cooking! ~smiles~ ally

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