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I wanted to move to Charleston in the WORST way before we headed North instead and made Newport (the Charleston of the North) our home. Even here, we will not be 'from here' until our great grandchildren have been here for a while. Just like Charleston! LOVE the cast iron skillet - the only way to fry!


My husband has had 3 cast iron skillets, including a small one person serving size since the sixties. He treasures them and because they seem to inspire him to cook, so do I!
Thanks for the great blog!


I'm hooked! I tried the salmon from last week and it was delicious. I love a simple to make, but delicious meal.

Sitting down at the table to a nice meal with my family is a nice way to end a hectic day.

Thanks for the skillet source tips! I really need one.


What if you love to cook...but stay on the healthy side.
No lard, etc. Is there still a benefit to buying and using an iron pan?

Sue Manning

As long as I'm using my Mother's iron skillet for making cornbread (the only pan to use)she is still with me! Your photos are a work of art. Sue


I love my skillets. The best places I have found skillets other than the ones I inherited are resale shops or Goodwill. Many people miss the true value of having one. Resale shops are dirt cheap.

Lynn McBride at Southern Fried French

Hi Jan,
A cast iron skillet is especially good if you're into lowfat cooking (which I am too, sort of). For these sauces for example, I usually use olive oil, even canola oil will work. And it doesn't take much to flavor a sauce (I never use shortening or lard, that's just for the initial seasoning of the pan).
But the really nice thing is that you need very little oil to cook something in this pan, and it's not prone to burning or sticking. In fact I have a new technique for cooking mushrooms: you cook them, fairly quickly, in a completely dry skillet. You add a bit of olive oil AFTER they're cooked (just for flavor), or not. I would never attempt this in a regualr saute pan!

And many thanks to all of you for the kind comments on the recipes and photos---you've made my week!

Kat Harrison-Adcock

Ms. McBride, it's time for me to get a cast iron skillet. Yummayum!

ps- I'm looking for a re-tweet button, am I missing it? Southern Fried French, c'est trop bon!

pps- I'll be on that side of the pond with mom (and possibly dad, certainly Mackenzie le roi de chiens) next year, might I offer a trade of yard work for a cooking lesson?

Julie F, St. Louis, MO

I was introduced to iron skillets after marrying a Southern boy. He came with an iron skillet. We've been married 26 years, so I guess his skillet is at least ten years older than that. We use it so much that it just sits out on the stove; we never even bother to put it away with all our other pans.

When I was taking a cooking class in France last summer the chef was using an induction cooktop and loved it. However, he said it's not good for an iron skillet, so I guess I can cross that appliance off my list for my kitchen renovation.

Suzanne Hurst

There is nothing so good as a cast iron skillet, especially for cornbread; wouldn't think of doing cornbread in anything else. However, I was always told to NEVER put soap in cast iron. AND do you have a quick way to "refurbish" old cast iron that has been mistreated and is flaking off? I did one piece with a mixture of soda and coca cola, and a wire brush, but it took forever!
Cracker Barrel is where I've bought my most recent cast iron skillets. They have muffin pans, cornstick pans and dutch ovens too.

L.M. Davies

I have my grandmother's two cast iron skillets. Hopefully, my daughter will inherit my parent's skillets when they go to that great kitchen in the sky. They are that good. Each family uses them for a lifetime and then, like the workhorse heirlooms they are, we pass them on to the next generation. I have one for meat and one for everything else. This may be sacrilege, but when I forget to take the steak out the night before and defrost it in the fridge, broiling the frozen meat in a cast iron skillet for about seven minutes per side gives me a perfect medium rare steak, seared on the outside and juicy and warm on the inside. Meanwhile, on the stove top, the other skillet is used to brown potato slices in olive oil, then I add mushrooms, harcourt vert and a touch of garlic. I cook them for a bit, then cover the pan to steam them for a bit and then brown them off just as the steak is finishing up. Just as you do, I make a sauce with the brownings. Bingo! It's a gorgeous, fast meal. And I love my three inch deep skillet for making slow cooked Italian tomato sauce - can't be beat.

Sarah Gaede

You can buy Lodge cast iron skillets at Walmart--for way cheaper, and just as good as, Williams-Sonoma. And they come pre-seasoned.

Herm in Phoenix, Az

It’s ironic that you would use the word “irony” in your article about cast iron skillets.


Yes, what would we do without our cast-iron skillets?! Cornbread just isn't the same any other way--preheat that skillet with some oil in the bottom. Great crust!

I may have deep Southern roots, but France flavors my daily cooking just as much (first studied there in l977 and have been learning more about its cuisine ever since). I'll print your ideas and keep them in my loose-leaf recipe binder in the "French" section, Lynn. I consider myself "a serious cook," but would not risk skipping that section as you suggested considering! So glad I didn't.

A decidedly NOT lowfat steak idea for a day when the weather is too bad for grilling that steak you planned for dinner: Start with a good steak. Grind peppercorns and press them into the steak. (Can let it sit for a while with pepper on it if you have time.) Heat a little butter in that cast iron skillet. Preheat oven to 425 F while the butter is melting. Sear the steak briefly on both sides. Move steak to hot oven to finish cooking for a few minutes, depending on how done you like it. That gives time to pull together a veggie or salad. When steak is nearly done enough (I check with an instant-read thermometer), remove it from oven and put it on a plate to rest a bit. Deglaze the pan with alcohol (red wine, brandy, etc.). Once all the "fond" is dissolved into the wine (and the wine reduced a bit if using wine), stir in some cream. Fast, easy, delicious!

Leslie Budewitz

Ah, Charleston! Spent a week there in 1997 and still fondly remember it.

And while I know Southerners think only they truly understand cast iron skillets -- and many other things -- we Westerners adore them, too! (Our ancestors couldn't have survived the trek out here, whether by covered wagon, railroad car, or the 57 Chevy, without one!)

Leslie, in Montana

Augusta Elmwood

Hi, Lynn. I have been lurking on your blog for several months now and enjoy all your posts.

I agree with you about cast iron skillets - there's nothing like them! They can also be found at hardware stores and athletic/outdoor stores(probably much cheaper than W-S).

As for the seasoning and care of your iron skillets, I recommend this video, done by Judy Walker, the food editor of the Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans, LA.

I like your idea of seasoning them in the oven, but cleaning them with salt is a big no-no, as it will eventually corrode the skillet. I have heard this from experts, one of them a member of the "Dutch Oven Society", another a museum conservation expert.

My rule is: There are two things I NEVER wash with soap - my face and my cast iron pots!

Enjoy the video. I do so enjoy your blog. I have been to France numerous times and love it... have many dear friends there. Wish I could do what you and your husband are doing!

Augusta Elmwood
New Orleans, LA

Melaina Pate

Hope Madame does not read your blog, she will be throughly po'd that you dared complain about her lack of kitchen accoutrements.


Just remember, Lynn, that your French neighbors probably consider you "from Off" as well!

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