Do you remember the first time you got the perfect sear?
We had come into a couple thousand dollars as a small inheritance. The decision had been made years prior that any windfalls like that would be rolled back into our house. It was simple: money from a family legacy transformed into value to our home.
Our choice then was to extend the gas line to our kitchen and replace the electric stove with a gas range.
We had been living the post-university student lifestyle for years at that point, but had been watching too much Food Network. The cheap aluminum frying pans were not cutting it anymore. They needed to be replaced, and I couldn’t help but notice that serious chefs didn’t cook gourmet meals over a glowing red coil burner.
Gas range installed and burning, life went on. We upgraded some of our cookware to stainless steel and expanded our repertoire of recipes. We cooked better, ate well, and thought the world of amazing food was our oyster.
At one point I had been curious about cast iron (for just a few months back when we still had the electric range) and I had fished a cheap pan from a discount rack at one of those surplus merch stores. On the electric range it was unimpressive. Couple with that the fact I had no clue about seasoning cast iron, and the whole thing was a succession of crusty messes. The pan got shoved to the back of a cupboard…
…until one particular experimental recipe we’d found specifically asked for a cast iron skillet on our new gas range.
The breaded chicken seared with a crisp, beautiful, crunch that I would have paid real money for at a nice restaurant. I had cooked it in my kitchen, with my limited skills, and I was hooked.
My cast iron mission had begun.