Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Skillet

I was reading Lacy's blog the other day and she posted about a cast iron skillet. It made me smile as I remembered about a very special skillet in my life.

My father's family is from the south. The deep south. He was actually born in Mobile, Alabama and moved to Houston as a child. My grandmother used to tell us stories about her youth and the things that decorated her house. There were the "old slave chairs" that she found under one relatives house when she was setting up her own house. She asked if she could have them and was told, "Those old nasty slave chairs? Why would anyone want those? Take them." As you can imagine, they are now considered valuable antiques. My uncle is the proud owner of them. I can only hope that my young cousins will not appreciate their antiquity and give them to me on his passing. Just kidding. Sort of.

There is also the story of the skillet. My grandmother had the cast iron skillet that one of her male relations carried with him in the Civil War. He brought it back when the war ended, a miracle in itself, and it has been in the family ever since. A couple of years before she died, she wrote me a little note and gave me that skillet. While I have 3 skillets of various sizes that get daily use, that particular skillet (with the note tucked inside) sits safely in my kitchen cabinet.

When my grandmother died, she left a small apartment with a deadline to be emptied. Thankfully, she had already downsized from her home of many years, but there were still many drawers and closets and cabinets to go through. About six of us tackled the job. It really was a joy to do. So many memories.

One day, when my father was at the apartment alone, he got a call from Mobile. One of his cousins was checking on things and oh, by the way. Do you happen to know where the skillet that made it back from the Civil War is? My father dutifully looked on the stove and saw two skillets. He decided one looked older than the other, picked it up, and said, "Sure! You want me to send it to you?"

Oops. : )

When he told me what he had done, I told him that I had it. He seemed amused. He never corrected the error.

So there is a branch of the family in Mobile proudly displaying the "Civil War Skillet" that probably came from KMart. I have the original. With the proof if it ever comes down to it! You know, it really doesn't look any different from the one we use every day. But I know the difference. That skillet has roots.


Razor Family Farms said...

I love your last line: "That skillet has roots."

Amen, sista.

I love my cast iron skillets. I'm a perfect beast when it comes to caring for them. I snarl at anyone who approaches them -- I don't want a single bit of that seasoning to rub off thanks to harsh soaps. Yes, I can be a perfect cat when it comes to my beloved skillets.

I adore this post. Love, love, love it. You captured the very essence of owning a cast iron skillet -- imagining the meals it made, the calloused hands that washed it, and the wagon that transported it. My mind wanders... where has it been? What has it seen? What secret recipes does it know?


Indeed, "that skillet has roots."


YD's a little bit of everything place said...

I enjoyed reading this post.

I do not own a cast iron skillet(yet) but would really like to own one someday. When I do, I will have to make sure that I "consult" Lacy's and your expertise. :)

YD's a little bit of everything place said...


Would it be ok if I add you to my friends list in my blog?

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