Friday, January 22, 2010

A Pan for All Seasons

I love this pan. I love this pan's twin brother.

I cook, I bake, I cut, I saute', I braise, I knead, I fold in, I chop, I whip, I beat, I ....spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I think my family is lucky in that way. I hope there are memories around certain foods that will outlast me. There's a sneaky little part of me that hopes there are certain things I make, that my children's spouses won't be able to recreate.
I say that with love, though.
My own husband came into our marriage with food stories from his childhood.
There are three dishes that his mother made, that I have tried to recreate, but cannot. That is perfectly okay with me. Homemade lasagna, beef stroganoff, and cheesecake.
I choose to let those be lovely food memories that they share. They make me smile. I love that my husband loves his mom's cooking.

This pan was nothing special when I bought it. It is a Calphalon pan, but it wasn't expensive. For the untrained eye, it would look like something that needs to be put in the trash, or gone over with a brillo pad. However, that deep mahogany color that you see is the stuff of greatness. It has been, what cooks call, seasoned. It's natures teflon. I will admit, that the shininess is from a thin coating of vegetable spray. Biscuits were about to be put in the oven.

These two pans make my life so much easier. It allows me to put a bit of canola oil on the pan, toss in some potatoes and have them look like something out of Gourmet magazine. Cookies and tarts and biscuits are beautiful in the same way. Perfectly browned via the magic of the oven, high temperatures and a little canola oil.

A couple years ago, I visited New Orleans. I went to a cooking class. Both of the chefs in the class were from there. Both had horror stories about hurricane Katrina. One, more so than the other. She, was from the 9th ward. She lost everything. She took a few things and got out. She had no idea that she'd come back to something that was no longer there. No house, no nothing. One of the things she wished she'd taken along with her important papers and few pictures---her grandmother's cast iron skillet. "It was so perfect", she said. I feel little bit that way about these two baking pans. They hold no sentimental value, but gosh they'd be hard to replace.

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