A while back I went to one of those store closing, liquidation sales. It was great. I got a bunch of brand-new stuff I needed at something like eighty percent off. My wife asked me to pick up a skillet for her. This was a mistake on her part. The large almost fatal mistake was made by me. I agreed to do it, without the faintest knowledge of what kind of skillet she wanted. She wanted a six-inch nonstick pan for cooking eggs. I purchased a thirty-seven-inch six-hundred-pound monstrosity, that required a forklift to bring to my car.
Okay, not really. But the thing is huge and heavy. The thing is, it was only five bucks. I thought I was being a smart shopper by purchasing the biggest skillet for the lowest price. If you know anything about cooking, you already know how wrong I was.
When my wife saw it, she rolled her eyes and said something about the fact that it had to be seasoned. Huh? What spices do you use on cast iron? Is it savory, and you want a bit of tarragon and ground pepper? Perhaps cast iron is more of a desert and should use cinnamon and nutmeg. I’m sure I saw pumpkin-spice cast iron at Starbucks last fall. I know that iron is part of a healthy diet, and I’ll season the heck out of that skillet, but I am not going to eat it. You can’t make me.
Then my wife informed me, the seasoning is oil baked into the pan, to give it a shiny non-stick surface. This is even more silly. I bought some cookware and it isn’t ready to use because you have to bake it first. Is it made of cookie dough? I bake that and it doesn’t stick to the cooling rack. But I never cook with cookies. I just eat them. Again, I am not eating this iron pan, Period!
Well, my wife further said that since I bought it, I had to bake it. I looked on line and Googled how to season a cast iron pan. Boy was it interesting. I learned that they were first used in China, and that you can’t use strong soaps or abrasives on cast iron or it will spoil the coating. I also learned that cast iron is preferred by outdoorsy and country chefs, and that a good season can last quite a while. What I didn’t learn was how to do it in the first place. I swear that silly machine knows everything except what I need to know.
Well, as it turns out my grandmother, the Google of days past, did know how and she told me. You really do have to bake the pan for an hour then let it naturally cool. I never heard of such a thing. Well, I did it. I should’ve thrown the pan into the recycle as a bad investment, but I wanted to prove to my wife that I hadn’t made a mistake. Which was a much, much larger mistake by far.
Remembering that I put a thin coat of oil over the pan before I baked it, I guess what happened next was inevitable. When it came time to take the pan out of the oven it was cool enough, but because of the oil, it slipped out of my hand. On the way down it grazed my knee sending me jumping back and then it hit the floor. I was in pain, and my son helped me to my chair. I was using words like; Darn, Heck, and Fudge over and over until I was able to control myself. Actually, the words may have been a bit stronger, but I was in pain and don’t remember. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Either way, my leg was a little swollen, but I iced it and yelled at the skillet until it felt better. Then my wife came into the room. She was not happy. Before she could tell me what was wrong, I reminded her how badly I hurt and just how beautiful she was, although I’m not sure if it worked or not. She walked me back to the kitchen and showed me the floor where the pan fell. I broke the floor people. My wife’s beautiful and expensive, porcelain tile floor was broken. Actually, only three tiles were damaged, but to her mind it was the entire floor. It had cost a half months salary to lay that floor and she was very angry to put it mildly. Now she was using words like Heck and Darn.
Before I continue, I’d like to make a small point here. If you’ve ever been a husband you know that many mistakes can be overcome by just agreeing and fading into the woodwork for a while. I didn’t do that. Actually, many more can be made better by admitting guilt, apologizing, and quickly fixing whatever is wrong. I didn’t do that either. What I did was to tell my lovely this was no big deal and I could fix it in a snap. The issue is that neither of those things are true. It was a big deal and I didn’t have a clue of how to fix it.
The next day I went to the big box hardware store. I told the man what happened and asked what I needed to repair it. He said I needed Mortar and Grout. I said I wanted to do it myself and didn’t want those guys to come over, unless they worked at the store. He looked at me funny and boy was I ever embarrassed. Apparently, mortar is the stuff you use to glue the tiles down and grout fills in the cracks. Well, I got the mortar and he asked me what color was my grout. I said gray. Wrong answer! He showed me thirty-seven colors of grout and only two weren’t gray; Black and white. I cried until I remembered I had a picture of the floor. He looked at it and gave me a tube of Medium Charcoal #4 grout, and asked me if I was ever to return, please ask for someone else.
I went home, pried up the broken tiles and mortared down three new ones. It was easy, I thought. As I was starting to grout, I noticed one of my tiles was lower than the rest of the floor and the other two were higher. Crap! I pried them up, got three more new tiles and tried again. On the third try they were level. Then came grouting.
I filled the cracks with grout and boy what a mess. It took me a half hour of cleaning and when I was done, I saw that the gaps between tiles were not straight. I was able to scrape out all the grout and straighten the tiles before the mortar dried, although it was a pain in my bu… sted knee.
I re-grouted, re-cleaned, and re-swore to myself, I was never touching that iron skillet again.
Right then, my wife told me about a recipe I could make in the new skillet.
Thank you for laughing and Please read a little longer
Thank you all for laughing with me, but I need to be serious. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is a genetic disease which rots the liver and lungs. There is no cure. The only help for people is to have a weekly infusion of proteins to stop the spread. For the next few months I will be taking all my proceeds and donating them to the Alpha-1 Foundation who are searching for a cure to this horrible malady. You can give here or for more information go to Alpha-1.org Thanks for supporting world laughter, and finding a cure. Laugh On