Oh the humanity!

I was recently given an early Christmas gift from a friend.

As you know from reading this blog that I hold cast iron cookware way above any other type made. It is the most versatile of all cookware. No other type of cookware is generally passed down from generation to generation as cast iron cookware is. OK, in France, copperware is regarded as the chefs choice but let’s be honest here, has anything in France ever been worth passing down from generation to generation?

Let’s take a quick peek at famous French products before going back to today’s post. There is of course;

CARS: Citroen, Peugeot and Renault. Whew! Real collector items here. Don’t pass any of ’em down to me!

 AVIATION: Eurocopter. Sure we see tons of ‘em flying around here…Not!

WRITING: Bic pens. OK, if I want a cheap disposable pen I’ll buy a Bic.

PEST CONTROL: W. A. Flick. Is this where they got the term, Flick of a Bic?

COMPUTER HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE: Ingenico. I didn’t see any at Best Buy recently.

WATER: Evian, Perrier. (only because you can’t safely drink French tap water)

True, there are numerous clothing designers and toiletries made in France but I’ve yet to see good old  rugged Carhartts or Old Spice being worn by Parisians.  I think it’s too manly for Frenchmen, it gives them hives on their sensitive skin.

So, lets agree we could survive without French copper cookware too.

Now, back to today’s post…

While I tried my best on the outside to appear pleased, inside I was horrified! To me I was holding a Stradivarius violin that had been turned into an ash tray. Let me explain. Look at the Photo below.

What a quaint photo of an old time kitchen…permanently decoupaged onto the bottom!  It would have been OK with me if the photo of the old kitchen  had been decoupaged on an old place mat or even a Museum’s Claude Monet painting but on a GRISWOLD cast iron skillet? No way Jose’ !

Just look at what they ruined. A real Griswold from the early 1900’s is a rare collectors item. Definitely worth passing down. A close up of the pan shows their trademark grinding skills. It was this incredible surface grinding that eventually led to today’s non stick cookware.

After World War ll, aluminum was plentiful. It seemed everything was being made out of it. Pots and pans did not escape this transition. Cast iron cookware was out of vogue. Too heavy, black instead of shiny silver and it heated and cooled quickly.  (Aluminum is now being investigated for the increase in Alzheimer’s disease but that’s another story.)

So what could be better than an aluminum skillet coated in Teflon? Why not just cook in toxic waste?

Poor old cast iron. All it’s wondrous properties were nearly forgotten until it was discovered that Teflon coated (PTFE) cookware releases toxic fumes at as little as 395 degrees and has been proven to kill household pet birds. At 500 degrees, humans become ill. Now you know why the art of cooking at high temperatures has nearly disappeared too. When I lived in the Florida Keys, my favorite restaurant (besides my own) had an outdoor kitchen. The outdoor kitchen was used to cook up many Caribbean recipes under extreme temperatures, including Blackened Fish!

 Now pay attention here  because you’re about to get an outdoor cooking lesson.

You have to get your cast iron skillet red hot! Really, really hot! Then toss in a hunk of butter. Instantly, an immense amount smoke starts to billow up. That’s when you drop in a thick hunk of Mahi mahi (Dolphin to us Floridians) on top of the smoking butter. Count to 18. At 18 flip the fish over on the other side and count to 18 again. It’s now 100% DONE! Get it out of the frying pan and onto a plate. That is real heritage cooked Blackened fish! You can add ‘blackened seasoning’ if you wish but you won’t be needing it. Just a light sprinkle of ground Cheyenne, habanero or if you’re really nuts, a Caribbean ghost pepper will add the extra heat you like.

If you cooked this fish indoors on a Teflon non stick pan, you very well could have been rushed to the hospital. Non stick cookware is so common today that it’s the main reason most recipes produced by corporation kitchens recommend ‘medium low to medium high pan temperature that never goes beyond 440 degrees. (PTFE as stated earlier, non stick cookware can kill birds at 395 degrees because they release toxic fumes beginning at that temp ). If you have the ability to cook outdoors, try cooking some recipes that require extreme heat to cook by in your cast iron skillet. You’d be surprised just what a difference it makes.

While Griswold cast iron cookware is again being manufactured today, they do not hold a candle to the old ones of yesteryear. I will hang this pan up somewhere so my friend will see it on visiting. To me though, it’s kind of like stuffing your pet after it gives up the ghost and putting it in its bed. Creepy!

Now please excuse me, I need to begin my grieving process. I’ll start by lighting a candle in memory of all the wonderful meals this innocent pan provided to an individual who cruelly turned it into a proverbial ashtray.



21 comments on “Oh the humanity!

  1. journeyman1977 says:

    sorry about that Griswold…but what you had to say about French products was so true…funny but true

  2. Just so they don’t ever make me drive one of their put put roller skates they have the audacity to call a car!

  3. redjim99 says:

    🙂 I would say they do a good bottle of red wine. But I do lament with you the loss of heavy iron in the kitchen, and to put a sticker on the bottom??

    I like cooking with real flames, smell the burnt wood, the embers glowing and the grills or skillets getting hot. In the rain or the sun, (The French never did understand the English way of determined outdoor Barbequeing, come rain or gale or anything.)


    • How could the French understand, they speak French! Actually, somewhere in my western bloodline we had a French fur trapper thrown in the family somehow. Our family started out as mountain men trappers in the 1700’s Before that who knows. His name was LaFelle and believe it or not his name is still carried down even today. It’s now my sons middle name!

  4. journeyman1977 says:

    interesting lineage to say the least, Camp 🙂

  5. tbnranch says:

    Great post friend! I have a question for you… I have a glass top stove and the owners manual says NO CAST IRON. Is this true? I used it on my old glass top stove all the time… oops?
    BTW… sorry for the disappearing act, my Mom has been in the hospital and now in a nursing home. Been messy on the home front if you know what I mean.

    • I use mine on the glass top, I’m just careful not to bang the cast ironware into it. Sorry to hear about your Mom, Is she in Phoenix? Hey check out my post tomorrow.
      I’m writing a new story and at the same time trying to figure out this miniature recording studio my sons got me for my audio books! Gosh, I really am too old school!

      • tbnranch says:

        I’ll be there to check it out tomorrow! Yep, Mom’s in Phoenix. Pics of the recording studio set-up would be fun to see… hint.

      • It’s incredible. If you Google H2N you can see it. The entire thing is as small as a can of beer! It uses my laptop for all the mixing of the 4 stereo tracks ( =8 tracks). It replaces $100,000 worth of mixing board, equalizers, effects boards… you name it, all for under $300! The secret is it uses your laptop to handle all the professional studio software. I tested it by recording one of my stories then edited it and dubbed in campfire sounds. I could not believe the quality I heard. I still have to work on mu voice overs for characters and get a real campfire recorded but all in all I’m happy as a clam!

      • tbnranch says:

        Good deal! I love how you always got ten gazillion things going on at the same time! Never a dull moment… lol

  6. Oh the travesty!!!…I bowed my head for a moment of silence at the memorial…

  7. rontuaru says:

    I’m a little late to this funeral. So shoot me. But I gotta tell ya, when my daddy died and we were cleaning out all his hunting, fishing and camping gear we assembled a very large assortment of his prized cast iron cookware collection. Now this wasn’t just ANY cookware collection. No, it was the very same skillets (in several different sizes) and Dutch ovens (or chicken fryers) that we grew up watching dad use in his hunting camp when he took us there on family vacation every summer. They were beautifully seasoned and many of his favorites had “stories” that all four of us kids could recite with little prompting. Like the story about his #7 Griswold skillet that was specifically reserved for sauteing mushrooms (to go with our home grown beef, of course!) At the time of his demise none of my siblings stepped up to take the collection. It wasn’t for lack of want, but I guess everyone was already pretty well set up for cookware and such. And well, in case you haven’t noticed, they’re darn HEAVY. I have a horrible back and the last thing I needed was Dad’s cast iron cookware collection, but I couldn’t bear to see it go into the estate sale so I took it home with me. That was some 12 years ago and I’ve never used one of his skillets that I didn’t take a moment to think of my Dad as I pulled it off the rack. My kitchen has many pots and pans to choose from, but I can’t say they share nearly the same character or history as those old cherished skillets. It’s kinda nice to meet someone who understands!

    • Your Dad was a cooking aficionado for sure! So few realize that each pan, no matter how similar to others, were cre4ated for a specific purpose, whether it be sauteing, browning frying, or flipping ingredients upside down. Your Dad knew all this. More important though is your Dads history with those pots and pans. They not only were tools to cook with but he looked forward to camping out, which meant outdoor / trail cooking. I would love to see his collection. If ever you get a hankering to unpack ’em, take a picture and post it so we can see it. If you do, tell me a bit about your dad, it would make a great story/blog post about him. I’d be honored to post it here if you wish. Thanks for the great comment, I’m hitting your follow button right now 🙂 JW

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