If I had to pare my kitchen arsenal down to two weapons, they would be my chef’s knife and my large iron skillet. Much as I’d hate to part with Pearl, she’s a luxury, not an essential. I believe in acquiring good tools and taking care of them. I say acquiring rather than purchasing because several of us lucky Southern gals have iron skillets that have been passed down through at least a generation. I got my Grandmother’s iron skillet, from my mother, when I set up housekeeping. It’s the workhorse of my kitchen, pressed into service for everything from frying bacon to baking brownies. My second, smaller skillet was a flea-market find. Once scrubbed of its rust and neglect, it made a fine addition to my kitchen.

Iron skillets require a little love to keep doing their best work. Most come pre-seasoned, but if yours didn’t, follow the manufacture’s instructions. After use I scrub out my skillet while it’s still hot. No soap! A bamboo brush made for cleaning woks supplies the perfect amount of abrasiveness to slough away food but not damage the seasoning. It also keeps your hands out of the scuzzy water and away from the hot skillet. Iron must be dried thoroughly to prevent rust. Rather than ruining innumerable dish towels, put your skillet in a warm oven or over a lit burner until it dries. Rub it with a bit of oil, and it will be ready to go next time. Your granddaughter will thank you.

(Visit Tammy for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays)