How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

      23 Comments on How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet
cast iron skillet

cast iron skillet

You’ll need coarse salt to scrub your soiled skillet with. Because salt is abrasive.

“You boy, c’mere! Get me a beer. If it’s warm like the one you got me last time then God help me, I’m gonna break every bone in your body. ”

Get scrubbing because food residue on the skillet can stink.

His fetid odor announced his arrival every evening. His bloodshot eyes at different levels of inebriation every day. I loved the days when he was completely totaled. He would just plunk himself on the bed and snore like a dragon. Mom and I breathed freely on such nights. But the worst nights were when he wasn’t intoxicated enough. Like tonight.

“Are you deaf or just stupid? Get me that beer or I’ll have to come there!” he slurred.

“Leave him alone, I’ll get it for you.” my mother intervenes. How she lives with this excuse for a person is beyond me. Apparently I’ll understand some day.

He’s angry. I know he’s going to hit her. I don’t want to look. But it sounds all too familiar. The dull thuds are from her forehead being pounded to the wall. One more bruise on her lovely face. One more time she would have to lie about “falling down the stairs”.

My blood is boiling but I sit tight, like I’ve been told to.

Wipe your skillet clean with a dry towel. Water makes iron rust. Rusting isn’t good, for skillets or people.

I cannot focus on my books. The peeling green wallpaper, the holes in our heavily stained carpet and my mother’s tired eyes like two broken windows are all pictures of our rusting lives.

The best way to dry your skillet is to heat it. On a high flame.

Mom yelps in pain. I cannot take it anymore. I stop his hand in mid-air before the next blow falls on her.  He hits me instead with all his might. The room grows hotter. My right ear is on fire. A vein in my head starts throbbing.

My mother barges in.

He’s like a raging bull now, hitting everyone and everything that comes in its way. In the scuffle, my hand finds the cold metallic handle of the skillet. He seems to have forgotten that I’m no longer a child.

The iron from the skillet flows into my veins. I heave its bulk up in a fit of rage, like a cobra waiting to strike.

He cowers in fear. I have every intention of bringing down the weight of the skillet on his bald pate, but I don’t. He’s afraid of me and that’s enough.

Things are going to start changing around here now.

Apply a light coat of oil to keep it seasoned and ready for your next use.

23 thoughts on “How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

    1. mixedbag Post author

      Thanks, Danielle! I was pleasantly surprised to see Rowan and I had similar trains of thought this week! Totally coincidental 🙂

  1. Shailaja V

    This was an excellent piece of storytelling, Hema! I loved the interspersing of the narrative with the instructive tone. Such tension and you kept it taut till the very end. Well done!

  2. Donna-Louise Bishop

    I love what you’ve done with this. The comparing between the skillet and the narrative works really well. The last line made me smile too. I’d love to play around with this technique myself soon! Great job 🙂

  3. Shilpa Gupte

    Your tale had me at the edge of my seat! Intense, indeed! And, so full of hope at the end! Finally, the mother and son will be able to find some peace in the prison they had been living all these years. A ray of hope for two broken souls.

  4. innatejames

    Yes, please do keep experimenting with this, Hema! I love that you’re trying something different and I second, third, and fourth the above comments about the interplay between your prose and the more technical writing.


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