In ever kitchen, whether home or commercial, an iron skillet is considered to be an essential restaurant equipment. Their versatility has been shown and proven through the centuries, yes, centuries. Their humble beginnings are very common and their ancestry reaches into every kitchen. The iron skillet can be used for frying, baking, broiling, boiling, poaching, sautéing, and everything in the between. As far as one pan in the kitchen this is it. Many early cooks probably only had access to this type of cooking vessel, and of course an iron dutch oven.
Iron is a great metal for the distribution and consistency of heat. It is non breakable and cleaning is a breeze after it has been seasoned properly. Inexpensive and easy to make in the early years. They have been passed down for generations, cherished as a family heirloom. I am sure many early cooks were taught the art of cooking with an iron skillet. The technique for cooking with one is not hard to master and the results are cherished for their flavor and style. I have seen iron skillets treasured like a piece of art in peoples kitchens. They would not part with it for anything.
I have tasted the magical creations resulting from their deep connection with the object and it is heavenly. I used to have one myself, I cooked with for years and regret the day it was taken from me. I know I will never be able to replace that specific piece of cookware, however I own one today that I’m beginning to treasure as much as the one I lost. The best part is they can still be found almost anywhere. Brand new in stores to garage sales and swap shops. I have even seen them in the city dump, just lying there discarded, as if someone had given up on the art of cooking.
The best find is when you go to a country auction at an old farmstead. The old farmers have passed on and the contents of the homestead are being sold off to the highest bidder. You may spot it with the kitchen stuff or tucked in an old box full of cheap cooking pans. You will know when you see it. It has been seasoned to a beautiful blue black on the inside and so smooth you could skate on it. When you see this one of a kind cooking vessel, snatch it up no matter the cost. You will not regret it.