The Absurd On-Again, Off-Again Relationship I Developed with My Cast Iron Skillet

The Absurd On-Again, Off-Again Relationship I Developed with My Cast Iron Skillet

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Susan Shain
Jun 5, 2018
(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

I had a crush for several months before ever making a move.

I'd scroll through the feeds of my favorite food bloggers, daydreaming of what the future could hold: stove-to-oven creations like eggplant Parm and mac and cheese, hearty breakfasts, cozy dinners, stories and recipes to share with the next generation.

Then one day, my dreams came true. My crush entered my life, and at last I held a shiny and new (and shockingly heavy) 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet in my hands.

(Image credit: Amazon)

The Honeymoon Stage

The first few weeks were pretty hot. I was just so happy this cookery Adonis was finally in my life. We did everything together, without thinking of the consequences; we slowly simmered tomatoes, we cooked eggs with abandon.

I sent Snapchats of our dates to my friends, making sure to include my new partner's gleaming black sides and striking red handle cover. Everyone told me how great we looked, which made me proud — but also a little ashamed. Because, on the inside, our relationship wasn't going as well as I'd imagined it would.

For a while, I managed to ignore my skillet's faults. I disregarded how it took superhuman strength just to pick it up. I glossed over the fact I'd spend 15 minutes scrubbing it of a dish that took 10 minutes to make. After particularly rough nights, I pretended it was normal to simmer water to get it clean, saying it was just "how things were."

Deep down, I knew it wasn't supposed to be like this ... but I'd waited so long, and didn't want to give up so soon. I told myself things would get better. That we were just working out the kinks. That, despite our constant spats, we'd turn a corner soon.

(Image credit: Kitchn Video )

The Dramatic Break-Up

The much-hoped-for corner never came, however, and the quirks that were kind of half-cute soon began to drive me mad. I was tormented by my skillet's fussiness, by its refusal to cooperate with even the simplest of requests.

All I wanted to do was make an omelette without a cleanup from hell! To let it air dry! To use some freaking soap! Was that too much to ask?

One day, without warning, I'd had enough. I was in control of this relationship — I was an independent woman who didn't need to depend on any man, er, pan. I banished my cast iron skillet to the back of my cupboard and went crawling back to the reliable, nice guy nonsticks I'd gotten along with for years.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

The Weeks of Regret

As my nonsticks and I fell back into our old rhythm, I smugly thought: "I never needed that skillet anyways." I wasn't sure why everyone loved them so much — they certainly weren't worth the hype.

But slowly, as other people's perfectly posed Instagram photos snuck back into view, I began to wonder: Had I done something wrong? Maybe I hadn't treated my skillet right, and that's why we didn't work? What if I had done things differently?

The doubts swirled around my brain until I had no other choice. I had to see if things could work, or I would forever be plagued by what could have been.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

The Steamy Reunion

So I pulled my skillet out of its dark corner. Its weight felt good in my hands; familiar, intoxicating. I'd missed it more than I'd admitted, and knew I wanted to give our relationship another try.

This time, though, things would be different. I would be different. I read everything I could about the subject; about things we should do together to give our relationship a strong foundation. Whereas before I dove in without a second thought — delighted by the possibilities — this time, I took it slow. I seasoned it in the oven several times in a row. I never soaked it. I tenderly dried and oiled it after every use.

The first few times we cooked together, I was nervous. Would it be like last time? Would I start to resent this little guy all over again? We started out easy: some caramelized onions here, a potato hash there. Each time it performed, and each time I was worried it wouldn't last. But over the next few weeks, I was proven wrong. It had been me — not the skillet — all along, and as soon I fixed my behavior and my expectations, our relationship blossomed.

Like any rom-com, you can probably guess what happened next: We fell back in love. It's not the reckless, head-over-heels love from our first weeks together — that never could have lasted. Our love now is mature; the kind that takes more work, but also offers more rewards. Like every relationship, we still have our bad days … but I'm pretty sure we're in it for the long haul.

Can you relate? Do you also feel like you're in an absurd relationship with your cast iron skillet? Discuss in the comments below!

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