I spent all of yesterday with a bunch of Trump supporters. How bad was it? Well, when one person started out his sentence by saying “the problem with African-Americans…” my first thought was “well, at least he’s gotten to the point of saying AA instead of any of the other terms he might have used.” Upon reflection, I now realize it’s probably that he knew to modify his terms (but not his bigotry) because he was talking directly to me.
Oh, and I drank 0% alcohol all day, while everyone else was getting drunker and drunker (and thus more and more offensive).
That is approximately 12 hours of my life I will never get back and will have terrible flashbacks about, especially the closer we get to the general election.
Today I learned in an unimaginably horrific way not to meddle with dark forces beyond my understanding and beyond my control. There are some things we are not meant to comprehend, and higher dimensions we were never meant to explore.
And I’m not sure what to do with the left-over popsicle sticks and rubber bands.
Walking to a friend’s house last night, to get drunk and play video games, I rolled my ankle badly. But I was able to walk it off, and it felt fine after a few minutes, so I didn’t think it was a big deal.
I wake up this morning, put my feet on the floor, and try to stand up and collapse. Turns out that ankle is swollen up some, and hurting pretty bad.
Silver lining: Combo Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen, icing and gently flexing it has made it feel much better by the end of the day. But I’m nervous it’s going to be hurting all over again tomorrow morning.
It’s a little mundane, but I just spent a week trying to properly season a cast iron pan: I ran it through a self-cleaning oven cycle to remove the old, crusty seasoning, I located and bought a bottle of flaxseed oil because I heard that works best. I put it in the oven at 200°F and heated it for fifteen minutes to open the pores, then rubbed the oil in with a paper towel, removed the excess oil, and then baked it for an hour at 550°F and let it cool in the oven. I seasoned it six times.
I finally finished seasoning it yesterday afternoon, so I figured I’d celebrate by making chicken fajitas in my new non-stick pan. It worked… well enough as a non-stick pan; some of the fajita seasoning tended to stick to the pan, but sure, that’s fine.
I wash the pan, and it’s a bit harder to clean than I’d like for a “non-stick” pan, but I know I can’t reasonably expect Teflon results from cast iron, and the non-stickiness should be a lot more durable. I rinse it, and put it on a warm stove element to dry off the excess water.
I come back to put it away, and the seasoning has started to peel off - there are black flakes curling up in the base of the pan, and bits of unseasoned iron peeking through.
I have no idea what I did wrong. From what I read, having seasoned it the way I did, the pan’s seasoning should have been bulletproof, and now I’ve wasted a week and I’m not sure if I should start over by stripping the seasoning off in the self-cleaning cycle again, or just scrape away the flakes of imperfect seasoning, rub in more oil, and throw it back in the oven to bake the seasoning back on.
I’ve tried I-don’t-know how many times to season a cast iron pan- and failed every time. I’ve followed directions, I’ve winged it… it seems to make no difference. I won’t discount the benefits of cast iron- it’s clearly good for some stuff.
But I’m beginning to get the feeling that it was superseded by more “modern” materials for one simple reason: It’s a huge pain in the ass.
I want to love it, and I’m jealous of those that seem to have good luck with it, but it seems to not be for me.
I read the Sheryl Canter and Chowhound articles on this last time I seasoned our cast iron, but then just went ahead and used peanut oil in the oven at around 375-400F for a couple of hours. It worked fine, no flaking for 2 years at least. The flax oil might be great in theory, but maybe it has some other fiddly aspect?
Try a different pan, preferably one purchased from a yard sale or flea market for $5 or less.
I have six or seven cast iron fry pans in various sizes (which I paid about $30 for total, although half of that was for one pan). While I was accumulating them I ran across a couple that I couldn’t season for some reason; I never examined the problem closely, I just gave it away and got another pan.
The biggest problem I see people having with cast iron is not wanting to cook with enough oil. It’s true that the longer you use a well-seasoned pan the less grease you’ll need, but even a ten-year-old pan should be shiny black the whole time you’re cooking; if it ever goes flat black you’re going to damage the seasoning pretty quickly. My wife was raised in a “fats are bad” late 70s household, and was conditioned to use less than an optimal amount of cooking oil her whole life. (Ironically we now know that the charring you get from too little grease is carcinogenic, and fats are considered relatively healthy!)
All that being said, I discovered by accident, while cooking for a young lady with severe allergies, that Earth Balance Vegan Butter (contains no actual butter) is very good for seasoning cast iron. It has flax oil in it, among other things, but I just found that out right now by looking it up online.
We’ve lost two cats so far. My wonderful, amazing mouser to old age, and our much beloved three-legged ginger tabby to the stone. Our remaining calico’s been suffering from an incurable respiratory disease for at least eight years, so she could go at any moment, but I think she’s determined to outlive my daughter’s ancient guinea pig.