Cast iron advice from a seasoned cook


    When my husband left his residence in Mississippi as a younger man, his grandmother gave him two heirloom solid iron pans that she had obtained from her grandparents. They’re nonetheless amongst his most treasured possessions — and he is aware of how one can use them, particularly for dishes like savory cornbread and oven-fried rooster. When our youngsters moved out, we continued the custom by giving them every a solid iron skillet.

    It’s that sort of household legacy that helped encourage Tallahassee’s Ashley L. Jones to put in writing the cookbook, Fashionable Cast Iron,  a “full information to deciding on, seasoning, cooking and extra,”  accessible Aug. 18 from Purple Lightning Books.

    “It’s written for residence cooks,” mentioned Ashley, who provides 50 recipes in Fashionable Cast Iron. “It’s every thing I’ve been in a position to pull collectively by means of years of analysis on-line. I took what gave the impression to be probably the most pertinent stuff that the house cook must know. A hobbyist, a collector or a chef would possibly do one thing totally different, but it surely’s geared to these making an attempt to cook at residence and get meals on the desk, maintain a pan in working order and maintain it within the household for a few years.”

    On the guide lovers’ website, Goodreads, the cookbook has already garnered a 4.38 score with raves like this one from Kristen Parnell: “Fashionable Cast Iron is a guidebook that’s accessible to the seasoned chef in addition to cast-iron newbies like me. When you really feel intimidated by solid iron however wish to discover ways to cook the way in which your grandma did, this guide is for you.”

    Ashley’s message of meals and household resonates much more at a time when so many people are staying residence and sharing extra meals as a household.

    “I feel we’re seeing, as a nation, that that is extra essential than we ever realized,” mentioned Ashley, who has a 19-month-old son named Gordon.  “The entire nation goes by means of this collectively  a method or one other. What we’re all studying is you can’t overestimate the significance of sitting down on the desk with your loved ones,  the household tradition you identify, the recollections you’re making along with your children.”

    Photograph credit score Tiburóso Movies / Ashley L. Jones, her husband Robby and 19-month-old son Robby at Fireplace & Soul on Market Road

    Ashley has fond recollections of her personal grandmother cooking on a solid iron pan however she actually grew to become hooked when she went along with her future husband Robby to satisfy his dad and mom. In her guide, Ashley writes that they advised her about a proud previous —  “cooking hoe desserts on a cast-iron range and baking biscuits in Dutch ovens over scorching coals.”

    She was impressed by her mother-in-law’s Southern down residence cooking, utilizing easy elements like recent corn, beans and peas from native farmers in Crestview.

    “I assumed, ‘I wish to cook like this,’ “ she mentioned. 

    When her mother-in-law gave Ashley a two-quart Dutch oven, Ashley mentioned she felt like a part of the household. 

    Now, 11 years later, this Tallahassee mother, blogger, trainer, guide and writer has developed solid iron chops, sharing what she’s discovered in regards to the cookware and her love for home-cooked meals.

    Photograph credit score Tiburóso Movies 

    Ashley notes that she’s a residence cook, not a chef — and a solid iron pot is “positively for the house cook and it has been for a whole lot of years. Bear in mind America was settled on solid iron cookware.”

    On the identical time, solid iron has once more skilled a resurgence, and there’s a “big solid iron group,” she mentioned.

    It’s simple to grasp why. Apart from the nostalgic issue, solid iron is inexpensive, simply restored, versatile, has “superior warmth retention” and is “so forgiving,” mentioned Ashley. 

    “It’s a lot tougher to burn one thing in a solid iron pan. Issues simply have a tendency to return out simpler moderately than stainless-steel, which tends to be trickier. It will not be grandma’s pan however that is what grandmas used. That is what they’d and so they made it work.

    “I began to get the grasp of cooking once I began utilizing solid iron and that’s highly effective,” mentioned Ashley. ”It builds your confidence within the kitchen  ”

    When she began utilizing her first solid iron pan, she encountered a widespread problem — how one can clear and take care of the cookware. 

    “It took me awhile to wade by means of every thing on-line,” mentioned Ashley. 

    One factor she found is that solid iron cooking has well being advantages. In her guide, she notes that “it’s estimated that three to 4 milligrams of iron are leached into eggs, whereas as a lot as seven milligrams are leached into acidic meals in the course of the cooking course of” — which is useful when you think about that the really useful every day consumption for iron is 10 to 15 milligrams per day.

    Ashley mentioned she additionally felt safer utilizing solid iron than pans with a “chemical nonstick coating.”

    The guide delves into nitty gritty matters like how one can clear and season solid iron, how one can take care of points like rust and meals sticking throughout cooking, selecting your oil (search for oils with decrease smoke factors like additional gentle olive oil, avocado oil, refined safflower oil), and choosing out the proper kind of cookware. She additionally discusses enameled solid iron, which she likes for a Dutch pot for dishes that shall be cooked for hours.

    Ashley didn’t simply depend upon Web analysis and even her personal expertise. She visited Lodge Cast Iron, positioned in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. The agency, based in 1896, is the oldest and largest cookware producer within the U.S.

    “Ashley’s is a much-needed work for learners and skilled cast-iron cooks …” Mark H. Kelly, former PR and promoting supervisor at Lodge Manufacturing Firm, wrote in a blurb in regards to the guide.

    Together with Fashionable Cast Iron, Ashley has written a sequence of faith-based kids books referred to as Massive Solutions. The primary entry within the sequence is titled Who’s God? and is due out in 2021 from Little Lamb Books.

    Ashley, initially from Lake Metropolis, mentioned she “at all times needed to be a author,” however she studied threat administration and insurance coverage at Florida State College. A 2003 graduate, she “was within the insurance coverage world a very long time.”

    She ultimately attended the Tallahassee Christian School & Coaching Heart, the place she taught a few courses earlier than her son was born. She nonetheless writes a weblog referred to as Massive Sister Is aware of — she is a massive sister to a few siblings — and works from residence as a guide on enterprise threat administration.

    By way of all her endeavors, Jones mentioned spending time along with her household, sharing meals and recollections has been paramount. 

    Photograph credit score: Carissa Fassnacht

    “If you discuss meals and household time it connects with you,” mentioned Ashley. “We don’t have dangerous recollections related to meals. I’ve come to this perception. We at all times bear in mind the great things.”

    Ashley shall be launching Fashionable Cast Iron  at Fireplace and Soul, 1410 Market St., from 1 to three p.m on August 22. You possibly can preorder (or, after August 18, order) by clicking right here: The hardcover guide is $22.

    Because of Ashley for sharing these movies:

    1. High 10 Questions About Cast Iron –

    2. Clear & Season Your Cast-Iron Skillet –

    3. Making Blueberry Cobbler (Gluten and Dairy Free) – Blueberry cobbler image at prime by Carissa Fassnacht

    Photograph credit score: Carissa Fassnacht



    ½ Tbsp olive oil (for the pan)

    Three eggs

    ½ cup cream or milk

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    ½ cup all-purpose flour

    ½ tsp salt

    ⅛ tsp cinnamon or extra to style

    2 Tbsp butter, melted

    1 15-ounce can sliced peaches in heavy syrup

    Powdered sugar and Cool Whip for serving


    1. Preheat oven to 425 levels F. Rub oil into a giant skillet.
    2. Hand-mix eggs, milk and vanilla till easy. Stir in flour, salt, cinnamon and butter till blended. Pour batter into the pan. Prepare the peach slices on prime (if the items are giant chances are you’ll wish to reduce them in half first).
    3. Bake for 15 minutes. Then decrease the temperature to 325 levels F and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t open the oven door whereas cooking, as this could trigger the Dutch child to deflate.
    4. Take away from the oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar, Serve instantly with butter and a dollop of Cool Whip. Leftovers (if there are any) are nice the subsequent day.


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