My cast iron cooking experience started on a camping trip cooking on a wood fired cast iron stove.

 I started cooking when I was 12 driven by my mother and my mentor at that time, Graham Kerr who had a show called the Galloping Gourmet which I watched every afternoon when I got home from school. My first experience using cast iron for cooking was on our once a year camping trip to a converted logging camp in Webwood, Ontario. The camp had 12 cabins each with wood fired cast iron stoves, which, being the eldest in the family, I was charged with cutting wood and kindling for and lighting for my mother.

At that time we had a cast iron skillet which magically appeared a few days before we left and usually disappeared the day we got home. This skillet produced some really great food over whatever heat we could get out of the stove. The camp was at a lake and my father insisted every year that we would live off of fishing the lake for two weeks. This usually lasted for two days and it was off to the store over 20 miles of rough logging roads to procure anything but fish.

My claim to fame with the skillet was omelets at 10:00 PM after everyone had consumed a few beers and several round of cards and had developed a hunger for a second dinner. Since the stove also produced heat for the cabins, there was usually enough heat to make everyone satisfied, and my simple Denver Omelets did the trick and I had visitors run to their own cabins for anything that was required. I’ve cooked a lot of omelets over the years, but there was nothing that could beat that old cast iron skillet for producing the best. I wish I still had it today but somewhere along the line it disappeared for good.

In 1981, my father who had taken early retirement due to family matters started a hardware and furniture store in a small town in Ohio. One of the items he stocked in the hardware section was a collection of cast iron cookware (I believe they were Wagner) which sold well in that area. I should have grabbed one, but alas my cooking had started revolving around the infamous non-stick cookware of the time.
Fast forwarding 20 years I decided to get back to the cast iron pots after watching a cooking show extolling the benefits of the cookware. The local cookware emporium yielded a Lodge 10″ Dutch oven and Skillet set (I bought the last one) and have been using them ever since. The Dutch oven is one of the most versatile items I have and gets used the most. Soups, stew, spaghetti sauce as well as a variety of one pot dinners have come out of this wonderful utensil and all better than what I can produce with my other pots and pans. I love it!

So if you like cooking as much as I do, having a few cast iron pots,pans, skillets, and the like is definitely a plus. They are good time and energy savers and put a lot of fun back into preparing that special Sunday dinner.



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