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Big Mom’s Cast Iron Pan

This is a post about the durability of cast iron, and it is also a post that is meant to serve as a love letter to Big Mom (AKA Helen Riley) who was a great cook and an even better mother. Big Mom’s Cast Iron Pan is a member of our family. You’ve seen it in so many of The Foodist recipes here on Mezzacello, well now we are here to talk about this pan.

Generational Utility

While Rick was growing up, his mother used this monster-sized 14″ pan almost daily. She used it and loved it and inherited it from her mother before her. Big Mom treated this pan with love and reverence and seasoned and cleaned it fastidiously all her life. She gifted the pan to Mezzacello about 8 years ago and we have carried on its’ great tradition.

We use this pan to cook almost everything (no tomatoes or acids) and and it is amazing. Then we lovingly clean it, boil water in it, rinse it, dry it over heat and then oil it just enough. Once every three months we season it in a hot oven.

It’s been well cared for and loved and continues in our house as a reminder that love is a quantity and a quality that deserves our attention.

Jim Bruner

Understand the Surface

This pan is amazing and so non stick! One day I am going to bring in one of 1000x microscope lenses from my lab and really look at this surface. It appears as glass as you can see in the photo above.

Like I mentioned above, nothing sticks to it and it cooks like a dream. On the stovetop, in the oven, over an open fire out in the farm yard, this pan delivers. It’s been well cared for and loved and continues in our house as a reminder that love is a quantity and a quality that deserves our attention.

Difficult to Recreate

I have tried to rehabilitate other cast iron pans I have found at thrift stores or even ordered from Amazon. I clean them, sand them, then wet sand them with 300, 800, 1000 grit paper, then season them. Sadly, none of them hold the magic of Big Mom’s pan.

I should come up with a name for her, but for now she is Big Mom’s pan. We love it, we loved her, and we love ourselves more knowing she gave us so much love and good food. Now it’s our turn to pay it forward. We miss you, Helen.

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