Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ode to an Iron Skillet (and a Recipe)


In a continuing tribute to Mother’s Day, I share with you today my all-time  favorite hand-me-down and kitchen tool, my iron skillet.

Every good Southern cook owns an iron skillet.  Even if you are not Southern, you should buy one and fool people into believing you cook as well as old ladies below the Mason-Dixon line.  They will thank you.

Trust me on this one.

This iron skillet was my mom’s and is the one thing that I’ve told her I would NOT return should she miraculously be able to live by herself again.  (I’m safe here—and kidding, I promise.)

For 60 years, this pan has been faithfully producing the best cornbread in America, gumbo, fried chicken, stir-fry, roasted potatoes, and countless other delicacies. 

It is the original non-stick pan and doesn’t have to be molly-coddled with plastic spatulas, the bane of my existence.  The only thing is doesn’t like is to be put in the dishwasher, but a swipe with a dishcloth or a brillo pad and a good rub with a dry cloth makes it happy and ready for the next meal.

So without further ado, here’s one of my favorite iron skillet recipes.

Mama’s Cornbread

1 cup self-rising corn meal

1/2 cup flour

1 egg

1 stick butter

1 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 350*.   Put the stick of butter in the skillet and let it melt in the oven.  Mix other ingredients in a small bowl and add melted butter, but don’t scrape out the pan.  (Now your skillet is greased and ready to go; isn’t that clever?)  Bake 25-30 minutes.  Serve hot.

Yum.  Notice there is no sugar in this recipe; that is a sacrilege. This cornbread doesn’t need sugar, thankyouverymuch.

What is your go-to kitchen item?  Be blessed today and happy cooking.



Linking this up on Tasty Tuesday.


  1. Ginger,

    I like to bake my cornbread in my cast iron skillet as well. :-)


  2. I have a cast iron frying pan that I use only for making cornbread. My mouth is watering! I think I know what I'm having for dinner.

  3. Cast iron skillet be still my heart. Oh the joys! My mother makes the BEST cornbread in hers.

  4. YUM! I got a cast iron skilled for our wedding and ruined it by putting it in the dishwasher (I was a newlywed and had no idea what I was going).

    My grandma has one that belonged to her mom.... I made sure my entire family knows that when Grandma's done with it, it goes to me. Of course, my mom and her sisters want it to :).

  5. This post made my heart happy and my tummy hungry!

  6. Love me some cast iron skillets. I have at least a half dozen. One is my grandma's and it cooks so well. There is little better than a hot cake of corn bread, some butter and honey. Oh my goodness.


  7. I just love my cast iron skillet! My mom gave it to me all seasoned up and ready to go to work. It makes the very best cornbread, but yesterday I used a recipe for fried okra from Jan Karon's Mitford cookbook. The skillet fried the okra to perfection!
    It was yummy...

  8. Ohhhh I am SO trying this! I'm not southern (I have family in Alabama does that count???) but I have a cast iron pan and LOVVVVEEEE me some cornbread! Great recipe :)
    Found you on Beauty and Bedlam! :)

  9. I LOVE my iron skillets. Over the years, I've added to my collection ... I have always dried mine on the fire. Gotta watch cuz they'll stink up the house and ruin the ... what's it called, petina for cooking, oh yes, seasoned quality. I roast chickens in mine regularly. They barely fit - and I do have to spray them w/cooking spray or it cooks on really hard.
    You asked about the name picture on my post... I'm actually cheating, it's just a photo I add each post. I figured out how to do an automatic signature - but decided to do it this way instead. The other way requires html in the settings/format post template (bottom of the format page).