As a kid, when we visited my grandmother in Georgia on the weekends she would make biscuits from scratch. Biscuits and bacon gravy. I always looked forward to eating breakfast there. It was like having a feast every week and different family members would show up each weekend. I’d still be going to her house every weekend if I lived in Georgia, but I’d be doing the cooking now I think.
About a year ago I decided that I should learn how to make biscuits for myself and I did some research online to find a good recipe. Something fast, simple, and reminiscent of how my Nana makes them. I wound up finding this recipe:
Watching this guy cook in a cast iron skillet got me interested in using cast iron as well, but getting involved with cast iron is a pretty serious commitment so I held off for quite a while before I bought a 12″ cast iron skillet. There’s a lot of preparation involved in seasoning cast iron and it was daunting at first. Now that I have the hang of it, it doesn’t seem that tough at all. And cleanup is a breeze, if you’re using them right anyway.
You can’t really cook flaky biscuits for two in a 12″ cast iron skillet, though. I mean, you can, but it’s not practical, especially since that’s where the bacon will be frying. So, I was using a 9″ cake pan. A few weeks ago I finally picked up a smaller cast iron pan and after seasoning it a few times in the oven, I finally used it to bake some biscuits.
I’m not sure if it’s just in my head, but I felt like the texture and flavor of the biscuits was a lot better this time around. And even if it is just in my head, what difference does that make? It was fun, felt good, and tasted good. And now I’m carrying on a tradition from my childhood, even if it’s just for my wife and I.
Something my wife and I have been working on is switching our nonstick cookware out for healthier alternatives. It’s part of an overall plan to improve our lifestyle. I know the stereotype of an oily, cast iron skillet, doesn’t fit well with the notion of healthy living, but we’re going for balance, not extremes. Healthier food choices, including less meat and desserts. More exercise. Less binge watching and more reading. Reducing clutter in our home to make way for things and activities that matter to us. It’s a weird, happy synthesis of almost vegetarianism, the persistence of good physical fitness habits from my wife’s days in track and my time in the Army, and Japanese minimalism.
So, why cast iron? On the one hand, cast iron is just better than nonstick. Nonstick coatings flake off into your food over time. Someone tried to tell me they don’t, but I have eyes and I can see the inside of our pots and pans. It’s happening. I know we’re consuming that stuff and it just can’t be good for us, so we’re going to move away from nonstick and get a mix of stainless steel and cast iron. From what I’ve read, cast iron can leech iron into your food, but it’s not bad for you at all. Our bodies need that anyway.
So, what do I want to do with this little cast iron skillet? Well, it’s not really big enough to fry much. Maybe one egg at a time, but I haven’t quite nailed frying an egg in our larger cast iron skillet yet. Mostly I got it so I can bake biscuits and cornbread in it. I’m sure I’ll come up with some other uses over time. It’s just fun to have, like it’s a toy or something. And even though it’s a little more work to maintain them, cast iron skillets are oddly satisfying to have and use.
I wish I could say we cooked something amazing in it right after I took that photo, but we just heated up some chicken Vienna sausages to have with eggs and rice for breakfast.
So, last week was pretty low key. That in itself is something to be grateful for given the circumstances. We’re still in one of the worst outbreak areas of COVID-19 in the world and no one in my family has gotten sick yet, thankfully. I’m a little concerned about how things are going to go with that. We’ve been having warmer weather so more people are congregating and other States are relaxing restrictions already even though they’re still on the upswing of the outbreak.
Some highlights for this week:
After many months, our cast iron skillet is finally developing a significant non-stick layer. We’ve baked chicken in the skillet with good results and also made filet mignon (stovetop + oven) that turned out amazing.
The filet mignon. We hadn’t had any since last year.
Got a lot of work done on last year’s taxes. I should be done with them by this weekend.
Got to actually binge watch a series for the first time in a few years. We found a show called “Into the Night” on Netflix that was really good. It has a lot of edge of your seat suspense that kept us reaching for the “Next Episode” button.
We finally found out when our stimulus deposit will hit our account.
Sitting at home all the time, I’m not doing a lot that’s exciting. I was thinking the other day that I haven’t posted anything to Instagram in a while because I haven’t been out to see anything that I felt was worth posting. But I’ve been using the time to read more, study foreign languages more, and to try to finish video games that I bought years ago and never got through.
For example, I’m about 60% of the way through “Grand Theft Auto V”. I bought the game about 7 years ago, got about 37% of the way through it and never finished it. I’m having a lot of fun watching Michael and Trevor’s bromance unfold.