“No one has pans like mine!” bragged a man to his partner at the next table.
“Mama!” flashed through my brain. Although passed on awhile ago, my mother is always with me in my cooking. I always feel her love.
Virginia (my mother) did not have a lot of possessions; however, she gave me love, strength, and an unerring sense of curiosity. Telling me always, “I know you can do it,” was the mantra my mother gave me, even though I didn’t always think I could.
Her most prized possessions that she passed to me were her cast iron skillets. Their black, shiny patina reflects the beautiful patina of her soul that only a special person develops over a lifetime. So well seasoned, she scrambled eggs in those skillets, made pancakes, tortillas on a comal. Stable and durable – mama and her skillets.
When I shipped them home from Texas, I did not use them for a long time. They were sacred. I did not dare use them. Then, one 10 Chairs dinner, I was making cornbread and tried to find the proper pan. But, I could not find the right one. Then I saw those venerable skillets, all shiny, black, with those fine patinas. Dare I?
I carefully pulled all of them out, 10 to be exact. Salted, oiled, and cleaned them. That day, Virginia and I cooked together once again.
Sometimes I reach for a shiny stainless steel pan. But, the pull of those old cast iron pans, those beauties beckon me home. Standing with her at the stove as she makes tortillas with eggs and onions for me, she is ever close to me as I look around my own kitchen with her sturdy, durable pans ever at the ready.