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The Cast Iron Pan

I had been working in my Uncle Leon's blacksmith shop for a couple of years when I discovered an old cast iron frying pan on a seldom-used shelf. It was the largest one I had ever seen, and I was curious why it was there. When I asked my Uncle about it, a little smile turned into a grin as he remembered the history of the of the old cooking tool.

He told me years ago his friends used to gather at the shop after the workday and drink a little whiskey and swap stories. After dulling their morals with Four Roses blended booze they would go raid a local farmers chicken coop and return to the shop to prepare the ill-gotten birds for cooking. He exclaimed that old cast iron pan had been seasoned with lard over a white-hot fire in the blacksmith's forge and the flour, salt and pepper were kept in a bag near by.

He related that on one occasion they invited one of the farmers to join them for a meal of this delicacy prepared on the coal forge. When asked how he liked the chicken and receiving a positive answer they confessed it came from his coop.

After my Uncle and I had a good laugh, I replaced the pan back on the shelf like it was a trophy from a contest held long ago. Uncle Leon then shared with me that the only way chicken fried in a cast iron pan could taste better was if it was stolen.

2004 Maurice Karst