Checking the fresh vegetables as they cook in the cast iron pan.

Want to buy a product that’s inexpensive, American made, can be used every day of your life and then passed on to your children as a legacy? Cast iron cookware fills the bill.

One cool August morning Rich collected eggs from our backyard chicken flock, pulled out a cast iron skillet, and minutes later we enjoyed a delicious omelet. “That skillet once belonged to my great grandmother. It’s been handed down through generations and must be a century old yet still works great,” he said.

In this day and age when nearly all products quickly become obsolete or break, cast iron is amazingly durable. This type of cookware has been manufactured for well over 100 years and new and old ones cook amazingly well.

“I can’t think of any product as enduring as cast iron cookware. They truly last a lifetime or longer,” said Mark Kelly of Lodge Manufacturing. The company makes dozens of types of cast iron cookware in its Tennessee facility. Other American companies make small quantities of artisan cast iron skillets but they are pricey, while low quality ones are imported from China.

Two pans

pans on the stove

We love our cast iron and regularly use several skillets of different sizes and a Dutch oven to slow cook winter stew. Several are of unknown age but obviously old. Few have any writing embedded in them so their age and who made them is unknown. We augmented our heritage pans with a few new ones made by Lodge Manufacturing. Here’s what we like about our old and new cast iron cookware:

  • Lasts nearly forever.
  • Easy and fun to use. Clean up is a snap.
  • Heavy cast iron produces an even heat and adds a tiny bit of nutritional iron to food.
  • Made in the US! Partially of recycled metal. In the unlikely event that one cracks we can recycle it.
  • Food coming out of cast iron is delicious.
  • Amazingly inexpensive to buy. A small skillet costs under $20.

Rich’s Sunday Morning Pancakes or Winding Pathways Waffles

 2 cups whole wheat flour

½ cup buckwheat flour

½ cup milled flax or oat bran

½ cup sunflower seeds or minced pecans

¼ cup of raisins or small pieces of apple.

Two tablespoons of powdered milk

One tablespoon of baking powder

One fresh egg

Vegetable oil. (optional but needed for waffles)

 Combine and mix dry ingredients and add water while stirring.   Pour pancake sized pool of batter on a heated cast iron skillet.  Cook on medium heat until bubbles in mix break. Flip and cook the other side.   Enjoy with butter or a dollop of yogurt and warm maple syrup.    

Cast iron cookware is often sold in hardware and outdoor stores and online. For information contact  Lodge Manufacturing.  

Our friends, Jim and Diane Low, of Missouri are accomplished  chefs who specialize in cast iron cooking over wood coals. Jim wrote, “The morels and wild turkey with bow-tie pasta and nut-crusted venison loin best fit the hunting/foraging description.” He shared several of his favorite recipes: 

To read Jim’s recipes, subscribe now!

Already a member? Log in.

Get Winding Pathways Updates in your Inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!