Home made chocolate syrup!!!

  

Today was my day to wander away from my weight loss diet consisting of veggies, chicken and fish and instead spurge!  🙂

First, I made up a fine breakfast of french toast using my home made bread. I slathered it in blue berry syrup I made from last years berry crop and a side helping of home made corn beef hash. Oh, I indulged in an excellent cup of Cuban coffee too!

Lunch was a love affair of mayo and thin sliced tomatoes between two slices of bread washed down with a glass of cold milk.

Dinner was the coup de gras! ( Why we use a french phrase meaning ‘blow of mercy’ or a ‘blow intended to end the suffering of a wounded creature’ to describe something great I’ll never know, but I digress. )

Earlier in the day I stopped at a meat market out in the Florida Prairie area. They have the worlds best grass fed beef! I ordered three pounds of meat labeled, “Philly cheese meat”.  While I’m not sure what part of the cow it comes from, I didn’t see any butt holes or eyeballs in it either.

I’d never purchased it before but I had a hankerin’ to try something new. It turned out I shoulda’ bought ten pounds not three! It had such incredible taste, no gristle, no large fat globs, just juicy, tender slices sauteed in real butter with onion and bell peppers.   Man, it was to die for! (OK, no puns about my food an’ dying or I’ll give you cause to eat your next meal through a straw!)

Now inside my freezer just waiting for this special day is a half gallon of natural vanilla bean, Blue Bunny ice cream! Another coup de gras!

I made up a nice bowl, (Large, since it would be another month before I saw any ice cream again) and went into the fridge for some chocolate syrup that’s been hanging around there since my sons Birthday party. I normally don’t use store bought anything that contains high fructose corn syrup. It shoots my blood sugar all to heck for days. Well, I looked at my bowl just settin’ there wantin’ to be gobbled up and the container of chocolate syrup with it’s yellow lid. I couldn’t do it!

I ran to my pantry, gathered up some ingredients, threw a sauce pan on the stove and made Gods gift to fine ice cream! Now it takes only about fifteen minutes to make it and an hour to cool down so it ain’t too bad holdin’ off a bit before diving into my dessert.

Now, you can make it my way or my Mama’s heritage recipe way. Mom made it without instant coffee. I add a half a teaspoon of instant coffee to give the ever so slightest coffee taste to it. I also differ from my Moms recipe in that I use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa rather than the regular cocoa. Any cocoa will do. I just like the deeper taste of dark cocoa. I swear, once you make your own (it’s way too simple not to) you’ll toss out that ‘ol can of high fructose with the yellow lid. Try it, I ain’t lyin’ to ya’!!!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

makes 2 1/2 cups

3/4 cup hot water

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar*

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use dark for a richer taste)

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso coffee or just instant coffee (Coffee is optional but recommended, for richer taste I use espresso)

Pinch of kosher salt

1 Tablespoon light corn syrup**

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugars to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, and corn syrup, whisking until all of the solids have dissolved.  Allow the mixture to simmer until it has slightly reduced and thickened whisking it frequently( 5-10 minutes.) The longer you cook it the thicker it becomes. At 10 minutes mine becomes like a hot chocolate fudge sundae syrup, at five minutes  more like a pourable chocolate syrup.

Remove from the heat and only then stir in the vanilla.

Let it cool down enough to put it into a jar with a lid. Refrigerate. If it becomes too thick in the fridge, just microwave it for a short time.

 

** Recipe for home made light corn syrup (simple syrup) but free of  High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Ingredients;

2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pinch salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to liquify sugar.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 3 minutes. This will get any sugar crystals off the sides of the pan.

Uncover and simmer, stirring often, until it reaches the soft ball stage (230 degrees).

Cool and store in a glass  container at room temperature.

Makes about 2 cups.

 

Recipe for brown sugar;

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon of unsulphered molasses.

Blend together in a small bowl with a fork.

Store in a container with a tight lid.

 

Why I have to travel for a good pancake

I don’t do breakfast café’s much here in South Florida and here’s why. Since alcohol is the fuel that drives South Florida, most folks here consider breakfast the meal that is served upon waking…around 4pm. It is coincidentally around the same time they start drinking again.

So with a mouthful of chemically dulled taste buds, burnt home fries and under cooked eggs slathered in cheap cheese does just fine for this meal. That is unless you’re one of the few that rise with the sun… as I do.

South Floridian’s almost never eat lunch.  (it gets in the way of their beer). On the other hand, did you know there are more school trained chefs here than in the rest of the entire universe? So what are South Floridians doing with all these chefs if they don’t do breakfast or lunch? Why dinner of course. South Florida is famous for its fine restaurants…by fine I mean expensive.  So why bother with a five dollar breakfast or lunch when you can open at five and close at eleven and make more money in one day than a politician gathers in ten fundraising events?

I think most 6am to 2pm eateries here are ones that failed in the evening meal circuit and must stay open due to a building lease agreement.

It isn’t until you approach the heavily forested northern part of the State, that real honest to gosh breakfasts’ are started to be found. From there it’s just a hop, skip and jump into breakfast heaven… Alabama and Mississippi.

My favorite greasy spoon is across the street from a Piggly Wiggly grocery mart in Alabama. I wanted to say it’s name and exact where about but in return for the recipe below, I promised the owner I would not give his name or place of business out. Something about a copy write legal issue involving an expensive  recipe book containing this recipe. But I digress; I want to talk about real old fashioned buttermilk pancakes here.

Now you can do box mixes such as Aunt Jemima or Krusteaz  (if you’re a restaurant) but take a second and look at the ingredients! What is all that junk? Much of it is so that the flour beetle  eggs found in most flour don’t hatch while stored six months in your pantry. Other ingredients prevent the oils from turning rancid or the baking powder from losing it’s oomph.

Please, it takes only a minute to mix your own pancake mix up and you get the benefit of knowing all your ingredients are fresh and no preservatives are involved. So without further blab, here’s the heritage pancake recipe I brag about.

Ingredients;

2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

2Tablespoons of sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 cups of buttermilk (powdered can be used to make two cups liquid)

¼ cup of sour cream

½ teaspoons of vanilla

2 eggs

3Tablespoons of  melted butter

2 teaspoons of oil

Directions;

 

Mix all dry ingredients together first. ( If you are going to use powdered buttermilk, add the water to make a liquid then include it with the wet ingredients.)

In a second bowl, whisk eggs by themselves, then add buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter and whisk together.

Scoop out a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mix. Stir but do not whisk or use a mixer. Batter should be somewhat lumpy so don’t over mix it. Set aside mixed ingredients for a couple of minutes to activate batter.

Preheat and grease up your pan or griddle then add oil or bacon grease. Remove any excess grease or oil first with a paper towel, leaving a thin film behind. This prevents uneven baking as oil is cooler than the pan or griddle top. (uneven baking makes a splotchy light and dark pattern on the pancakes surface, kind of making it look like a world globe rather than a nice even browning)

Using a ladle, pour enough batter to make a fist size pancake. When bubbles are bursting throughout the pancake and the sides are a bit firm, turn them over gently with a pancake turner. When done, remove and stack on a wire rack within a warm oven. Replace oil or grease only as needed. This should make about 12 pancakes or so.

For those who want to try making their own syrup, here’s an old recipe I found while out west. In the old days, Maple syrup was a rare item out west. Most maple sap products were in the form of candy, not syrup. JW

Home Made Pancake Syrup

1 cup of water

2 cups of sugar

¼  cup of brown sugar

¼ cup of corn syrup

1 teaspoon of maple extract*

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a saucepan simmer all ingredients except maple extract for 15-20 minutes (about  200 degrees)  *Remove from heat and only then stir in the one teaspoon of maple extract.

Over time, sugar crystallizes. This in no way ruins the syrup just reheat it.

Securing his place in Florida’s culinary history, Clem invented the beer batter pancake.

Homemade tomato soup

Gods Frigidaire… our ice pond.

This recipe and it’s story are taken from my cookbook, Maw maw’s recollections, observations and recipes from the chapter called, God’s  Frigidaire… our ice pond.  You can download a free PDF of the entire pre edited version simply by clicking it’s posting on the column to the right . The cookbook recipes and stories are told from the viewpoint of Maw maw, a 90+ year old woman living in rural West Virginia farm with her husband Henry. This particular story takes place in the early 1940’s.

By this time, our electrified house was giving back real benefits. Not only did a trip to the outhouse become a pleasure but we found we could stay up much later working around the place if need be. One of our instant joys was being able to play the game Easy Money (the precursor to Monopoly) come nightfall. That game could last for weeks!

Henry got it into his head to put lights in the barn and root cellar so’s we could be in there at night without the fear of burning the place down with our kerosene lanterns. Now the root cellar was a large six foot high stone lined room under the barn floor. It kept pretty cool in the summer and wouldn’t freeze in the winter. It was God’s own Frigidaire. I kept all my canned goods in there. Shelves of Mason jars filled with green beans, corn, pickles, fancy relish and lots more. My favorite was my canned Tomato soup. Inside the root cellar was a section of floor we would cover with a few inches of sawdust. On that sawdust we’d lay blocks of ice cut from our pond in the winter time. Ice blocks were laid in layers with sawdust again between each layer till they reached near the ceiling. Then the whole thing was covered over with wood planks. Most all summer long you could go down into the root cellar and enjoy the  forty some degree weather down there. By winter, the ice was about gone and needed to be replaced again. We’d make it a family thing. Our boys would all pitch in along with my dad and uncle. Our horse named Buster would drag the blocks on a sled from the pond to the barn. Don’t ask what breed buster was, I have no idea. By then we also had us a gasoline tractor (an Oliver I think) but Henry wouldn’t use it near the pond. If it fell through, no way would that heavy ‘ol beast swim it’s way to shore like Buster would.  So a couple days of frozen feet and hands would pay out by giving us a whole year of free refrigeration.

I started a tradition back then, thought it would last forever. Little did I know that by the time the war was over (WWII) that I’d be the proud owner of not only a kitchen refrigerator but a chest type deep freezer too. No longer would the family need to gather to cut and haul ice from the pond. Memories sure hurt sometimes, wonder why that is?

Anyway, back to my short lived tradition. By noon time the boys would be grumbling and their tummies rumbling. I’d have heated up a few quarts of tomato soup I had canned in the summer.

We’d all pile into the kitchen (kitchens were a darn site bigger back then than the telephone booth sized ones built today). On the stove steamed a big pot of tomato soup and a pile of toast on the table. Now I’ll give you the recipe for the tomato soup in a second but you’ll have to wait on the home made bread recipe till later,OK?  Anyway, you’d grab a few slices of buttered toast, cut ’em into small squares and drop them into the bowl of tomato soup. I tell you that it kept the bones warm and stuck to your ribs!

Just a quick story what happened on the pond one time. Seems one of my boys ( earl) went fishin using one of Henry’s new lures without his permission. Earl come back a couple hours later and skedaddled right up into his bedroom. Well, any good mom would’a known something no good was afoot so I go on up to find the door jammed shut. (no locks in those days). After a couple good threats to tan his hide if he don’t open right up, the door unjams and there’s Earl shak’n like a leaf. He told the story of loos’n his Paps new lure and was right terrified out of his pants about it. (Henry did covet his fishing gear so)

He explained “a big ‘ol fish done got hold of it and yanked it clean off the line!” Well, I told Earl to hush up about it and maybe it would not be missed.

Come next winter and we all were cutting ice again when lo and behold, there lay’n frozen stiff inside the fresh cut block of ice is a big ‘ol bass fish…with Henry’s lure still hanging from it’s lower lip!

It didn’t take a scientist of any sort to explain to Henry what had occurred.

He just turned to the boys, unhooked his lure and said, “Let that be a lesson to you all. Nuff said?”

Canning your own Homemade Tomato Soup

  “ Once you make your own tomato soup, I can tell you from that day on,  you’ll judge every tomato soup served to you against it.”

 14 quarts ripe tomato’s – (Not quite a five gallon bucket of fresh or 4 #10 cans of peeled tomato’s)

7 medium onions chopped fine

1 stalk of celery chopped fine

14 sprigs of parsley chopped fine

3 bay leafs whole (remove ’em after cookin’)

14 Tablespoons of flour

14 Tablespoons of butter

1 Tablespoons salt

8 Tablespoons of sugar

7 Tablespoons of bottled lemon juice

2 teaspoons of pepper

12 – 1 quart Ball or Mason jars with new lids ( Have more jars and lids on hand just in case)

Put clean jars in a warm 170 degree oven for 10 minutes to preheat them.

Wash and cut up tomatoes, chop onions, celery and parsley. Add bay leafs.  Cook until celery is tender. Remove bay leafs, set pot aside until cooled enough to handle.  Put through sieve then return to stove to simmer again. (Throw out bulk left in sieve. Mix the flour and butter into a smooth paste.  Thin this paste with some cooled down tomato juice ( about 4 cups) then add to simmering soup to thicken soup. Stir often to prevent scorching and add salt and pepper and lemon juice. For even a smoother consistency, remove the pot from heat once again, let cool, and put through sieve a second time. Bring sieved tomato soup to a boil then fill the heated jars with the hot soup to ½ inch from top. Wipe lip clean and install lids.*

Maw maws original recipe has no hot water bath requirement after installing the lids on the jars. In her day, tomato’s had a higher acid content than the hybrid ones sold or even home grown today and therefor had no need for this step. A hot water bath after canning would be a prudent step in canning today’s tomatoes.

*Hot water bath; place jars back into canning pot or large stock pot, cover jars with 2 inches of water. Boil for 45 minutes, then remove and cool jars before storing in a cool dark place. ( no sun, no heat registers nearby)

A true WV heritage recipe, Ramps

This story and its recipe are taken from my recipe book, Maw maws recollections, observations and recipes.

The road leading to Maw maws house

 

The  Chapter is called, “Migration to the North”.  An inside look into a rural WV town and its people.

 What began as an single interview with a 90 plus year old woman living in Southern West Virgina, turned into a long love affair with her, her family and the State of West Virginia. Many of this families Heritage recipes have been shared with me for the purpose of my writing her story.  You can download a free PDF file of her story which contain the stories of her life and recipes from my post on this blog written on April 7th. JW from campfireshadows


Polio made it’s way through our small mountain community in the late 40’s. Seemed like many a child for years afterward was seen wearing leg braces or had what I call baby arms. My own got missed by that evil demon (thank the good Lord).

To this day I always believed it came on over from Europe or somewhere’s else where our service men in WWII was stationed.  It was too much a coincidence. Soon as they started coming back, the diseases started.  The government said “No” but I don’t believe a Government man even knows what the truth is to be able to tell it. We all was scared to death. It was like playing that Russian Roulette game. One day all seemed calm then you’d hear Johnny Lawson’s new baby done got it. It was frightful, no one knew what to do. The Newspapers was reporting that in the major cities it was past epidemic proportions. Seemed like a runaway train with no stopping it. Every mother feared hers would be next. Many people cut back on socializing with each other during them years. Church attendance was low for fear it was there in the pews, even though more and more people was on their knees. I think it was in April of ’55 that the hero Mr. Salk was informed his vaccine was a success. I had read as others did, that a couple years previous Mr. Salk had invented a vaccine but it needed to be on trial to see if it actually worked or not.

I will never forget the day they announced it. Every radio station blared the message into every home! People was out in the street cheering, honkin’ automobile car horns, lighten off fire crackers and crying in public. It was the first time I heard every church ring it’s bells at the same time. Unless you was living then, you just couldn’t begin to understand.

We had us a future again! Farmers holding off buying new machinery went out and made the purchase. Schools that just a few months before had been talking of closing made announcements of adding playgrounds and gymnasiums. The future looked so bright to us. We vowed never to take life for granted again or forget the God who after all, had answered our prayers.

By July at best, most had returned to their unthankful ways and life went on as before. Those left crippled were given small monthly Government subsidy checks.

Life was a fragile thing back then. Why, I remember my friend Louise’s husband left for Michigan to find work at the Ford plant there and was never heard from again! Two Years later she found out he had had a heart attack in a motel room. It appeared someone either before or afterward had lifted his wallet off him. Without no identification, he was buried anonymously in Dearborn. Not one of us thought he had run out on her but the Police up that way said his M O was a common one for disgruntled husbands .    It was during an investigation of another crime that his old wallet had turned up. The man never admitted to stealing it but police was able to locate Louise by her picture in it and his Social Security card. It made one wonder what really happened to those who just vanished. There was a large amount of men who left the area for jobs up north in them days. Some never did come back for their wives and children. Most everyone thought they’d just run out on ’em.

Henry never did have a hankerin’ to move away from here. Lived all his life within these hills. We did a vacation or two. We visited others who had moved to Michigan and Ohio for jobs but never was drawn to leave West Virginia. I’m aware it seems most the other States got a bad idea of what West Virginian’s are. Many of the men folk who left for other parts were those that we’d say to today,”Don’t let the door  hit you in the … as you leave”. They was a lot of no goods in my book. Good riddance!

An I do apologize for my English. I know it grates upon the ears of those living North an East of us but we really did attend school and even get degrees. It’s just that you’re taught one thing while living another. After a time of being away from school books one just reverts back to what language is spoken at the dinner table.  I got a boy lives up in Cincinnati Ohio. Half his kids speak as I do, the other half don’t. I wonder if it’s in the genes.

So the recipe I’m given you here is one that any person raised with an accent will give two thumbs up  to.  Ramps! -Maw maw 2009

 Delicious Ramp (Onion) Casserole

  “This recipe can substitute green onions or even scallions for ramps if you can’t find any. Ramps mostly grows around Virginia to Ohio with a few other places around thrown in for good measure.” Maw maw

 

3 beaten eggs

4-5 diced 1/2 inch  potatoes

6-8 ramp onions* – found growing wild in WV and sometimes called wild leeks.

½ lb pork sausage

½ cup of diced American cheese

½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of milk

* 3 cloves of crushed garlic (read below first)

cook potatoes in pan of water until just tender. Steam ramps over potatoes using metal strainer 2 -3 minutes. Then chop ramps. Drain potatoes, and add chopped ramps. In skillet, fry sausage and drain. Combine with potatoes. Add eggs, diced cheese, salt and milk. Mix together in baking dish, bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

*Add 3 cloves of crushed garlic to the recipe if using an onion other than a Ramp. Ramps have a strong onion / garlic taste to them.

Cast iron cookware, the Cooks Holy Grail

Back to basics, returning to the best.

I now own three complete sets of cookware. First is a conglomeration of non stick pots and pans. Second is my cherished Tramontina Stainless Steel cookware and third… is the holy grail of all cookware, my mixed set of Cast Iron.

The first two I could live without, the third I couldn’t. I called it a mixed set, here’s why. I show little allegiance to name brand. In fact, most of my cookware is so old that if it ever had a name, I’m sure by now the company is long out of business. Many of them are well over 100 years old. The reason I chose each one individually is due to the quality. Even new pots and pans have flaws in them. They may not show but if you look closely at the rim and see a slight difference in thickness, this is a flaw. It will not heat evenly. Now other metallic pans are stamped out or extruded or as in cast aluminum, made with steel dies that cannot deviate in size. They are theoretically perfect.

Cast iron pots and pans are made using a method ages old called sand casting. A box of oily black sand is used to make the pans impression in. Top and bottom.  They put the two halves together, then molten cast iron is poured into the cast box. Once the impression is filled, the box is broken in two and the sand, along with the freshly cast pan, is poured out. The sand is recovered and reused. The pot is then inspected for flaws of any sort and sent for further finishing. A reputable cast iron cookware company has much higher standards of quality than most imports. Those I stay away from, no matter the brand. Another I don’t cotton to are ones with an enamel finish. What’s the point of these? You’ll never obtain the taste of true cast iron cooking with enamel cookware.

So how do you know if a pans any good to buy? In this rare case, name brand does help. Be aware of specialty pans made for famous chefs or merchants. They are usually a cheap import or lesser quality line made by someone else. Think about this, what qualifications do Emeril, Paula Deen or any other celebrity chef have that qualifies them to have their name cast in cookware? None! So don’t get roped into buying some junk cookware because some celebrity stuck their name on it.  I have seen some horrible import cookware on the market with great looking packaging. Remember, you will not be using the beautiful looking packaging to cook with.

A few brands I actually give my two thumbs up on are these. The old, no longer made McClary’s, Older, Griswold and Wagner’s (the later two now owned and manufactured by the American Culinary Corporation. I recommend only the  pre-takeover Griswold’s and Wagoner’s since rumor has it the newer ones made by ACC are made in China and are of a lesser quality. Many of the older lids always had dimples on them for self basting. Lodge cookware (Probably the best made today and are made in America and are my #1 choice for new cast iron cookware), Then there is Browning ( very nice set, lids are excellent, made for the outdoors. Most likely an import but well made) GW Gear (these are OK but they come with a worthless wooden storage crate that many times arrive in pieces. Lids are good though and casting is acceptable, most likely an import)

Some I’d stay away from are. Bayou Classics (cheap import), Stansport ( Chinese import, casting marks and handles are questionable but the dutch oven seems good), Buffalo tools (Import, cheaply made) Most any famous chef brand and unfortunately even Cracker barrel. This is because they cast their name on the bottom causing uneven heating.

Things to know about cast iron cooking and care.

1-      Quality. Scaling is NOT normal. A properly cast and finished pan will not scale if pre seasoned correctly. Look for how well ground out the mold marks are. See if the lid fits snugly and look for thin spots on the rim. Don’t overlook the handle, it should be smooth, even in the hanger hole.

2-      Pre seasoning. Cast iron is the original non stick cookware. Once it is seasoned, nothing sticks to it. Follow the manufacturer’s directions if purchased new. Many are now being sold as “pre seasoned”, that’s all fine and good for the first time cooking, but continue to season the pan as if it were not pre seasoned. To season;  Wash pan in mild dish detergent and dry completely.

Pre heat your oven to 225 degrees. Then using lard, shortening or the least desired vegitable oil, lightly coat the entire pot, inside and out.

Place the pot in the heated oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, increase the oven temp to 500 degrees and bake for 45 minutes. Remove when finished and allow it to cool. When cool, the pot should not be sticky, if it is then either too much oil was used or time and temp were too low. Reheating at 500 degrees for another ½ hour should solve the problem. If the pot is an antique or rusty, clean it very well, even using steel wool and a mild detergent, then season twice in a row.

3-      Cleaning. Never, ever, place cast iron in the dishwasher to be cleaned. Only a mild quick cleaning followed by an immediate drying is ever needed. I know of many cooks that simply wipe out the pot with a damp towel then returned to the fire for 1 minute to dry. Re-season by simply wiping a fine layer oil on it. If heavy cleaning is needed then you should re-season it using the oven method. The secret to forming the non stick surface is to allow a build up on the interior of the pot or pan. By wiping with a damp towel and drying it afterward using heat, will begin the buildup. Some of my frying pans, to my best judgment, have never had anything done to them but a good wiping out. I said before, some of my cast iron cookware is over 100 years old! If scrubbing is needed, use a mild detergent and a nylon scrub brush, never metal chore boys or Brillo type pads. If you cook outdoors, you can simply heat the pan until the stuck residue burns into a char. Then just wipe out the char using the damp towel again. Cast iron can crack or warp so never place a hot pot or pan in cold water, let it cool first.

4-      Cooking tips. Before using, wipe a teaspoon of oil into the pan before pre heating. Then pre heat to warm it up before placing food in them. Never place frozen or very chilled food into cast iron, doing so will cause the food to stick and burn. Soups and watery foods do not require a preheated pot but still wipe a bit of oil in them first.

5-      About Dutch ovens and frying pans. When looking at frying pans, any over 12” should have an opposing handle of sorts opposite the long handle. It may be just a 1” cast nub or a formed loop handle, either works since you’ll never grab cast iron bare handed anyway. Use a lid lifter or pot holder in removing the lid. I am against using the leather gloves so many trail cooks use because leather will hold and transmit heat, causing severe burns. I opt for a heavy cotton or Kevlar cooking glove. Dutch ovens come in two styles, flat bottomed or with legs. Flat bottoms are made for stove top or oven cooking. They can be used over a campfire if they are fitted with the wire hanger handle and work well on electric stove tops.The lids fit as either a normal pot lid or come in the depressed lid style, either works well. Dutch ovens with legs are made for open fire cooking only and will not work on electric stove tops. To use, place the pot directly on top of a bed of coals, then heap coals on the lid, doing so acts to completely submerge the pot in heat. The lid has a depression made in for this purpose.

Cooking with cast iron sounds like a bit more work, but what you put into cooking is what you get back out. Some of my 100 year old pots and pans are still releasing flavor from cooks long gone up to the big Chuck wagon in the sky. Cast iron cookware rarely if ever changes and are for the most part, passed down from generation to generation.  While I do own other cookware, those will most likely never hang from my children’s pot racks, they’ll be sent off to Goodwill. My eldest son has already laid claim though to my cast iron cookware when I too start cooking at the Heavenly Chuck wagon.