Giving a Cast Iron Skillet a Second Chance


While cleaning out the storage shed out back, I found pieces of cast iron cookware that I haven’t used in years.  Although I came close to donating this cookware or putting them in an upcoming yard sale, I changed my mind.  Even if I gave a one of the cast iron skillets a second chance, it would be a nice change from the stainless steel and non-stick skillets that I have been using.

Stored and forgotten

I have several pieces to work with, but I don’t recognize all of them.  I believe the smaller skillets were given to us by family members who switched to stainless steel.   You can still find cast iron cookware at places like garage sales and thrift shops.  You can even buy them brand new in sporting goods stores and break in the cast iron yourself.

Why I decided to return to cast iron

Don’t get me wrong.  This doesn’t mean that I am completely switching to cast iron cookware.  I don’t know many people who cook with cast iron.  In fact, I can’t think of one person.  Talk to anyone who is a home cook, and here are the common complaints:

  • hard to clean (can’t put it in the dishwasher or wash in the sink)
  • too heavy and clumsy
  • can easily rust 

I’m going to try to work with one cast iron skillet, then decide what I’m going to do from there.  I like the idea that I am at least going to try to make these pieces a part of my kitchen.  If I keep them or end up donating them, I have the satisfaction of knowing that they will stay out of some landfill.


I am fond of the square skillet because Mister Jack only used it for camping.  On our first camping trip, I caught a rainbow trout and gutted it.  I remember the smell of trout frying in that skillet.  Quite a memorable meal since I’ve never cooked fish over a campfire.

My parents had a favorite cast iron frying pan.  For decades, they fried bacon and eggs for breakfast.  And when the handle broke off, my dad continued to use it.

When I was first married, my in-laws had twin iron skillets that never left the stove top.  Dinner was cooked in these skillets, and at the end of the meal, they would boil water in them until all the loose food was removed.  I don’t know what they did after that, but they took excellent care of their skillets.


How to care for cast iron cookware

I’ve also used the square skillet for cornbread and cake.  If I can season the Dutch oven properly, I look forward to use it for simmering my soups and stews for hours.  

Now that I have decided to keep this cookware, I have found a link to help me with my new project:   



  1. ChgoJohn · August 2, 2013

    I’m a late convert to cast iron and love mine. I’d buy more but I need a place to put them, somewhere heavily reinforced. 🙂 Thanks for linking us to the site for cleaning the pots/pans.

    • Arlene Poma · August 3, 2013

      If I have a place in my heart for cast iron, I will find a place in my kitchen for them! I have already cleared some shelves. That square frying pan brought back some great memories. I am looking forward to making some jalapeno cornbread with the jalapenos from our gardens. The link is helpful since I always need to be reminded of how to care for cast iron. Reading this piece was part of the reason why I decided to keep what I had.

  2. Pingback: The Type of Cookware You Use Matters! | Modern Pioneer Magazine
    • Arlene Poma · August 13, 2013

      Thank you so much for including my post! I am so flattered!!!

  3. Pingback: How Cast Iron Cookware Saves Money | Prepper Podcast Radio Network
    • Arlene Poma · August 21, 2013

      Thank you for including me in your post! I am now finding ways to use my cast iron skillets. Looking forward to using that cast iron kettle for soups and stews this coming fall. What an adventure!

  4. cookinginsens · September 30, 2013

    I would have killed for those skillets 🙂

    • Arlene Poma · September 30, 2013

      Now that I know how to take care of cast iron cookware, I use the skillets all the time. No more non-stick skillets for me!

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