Tag Archive | cast iron

Finding Balance

Even right in front of this sign in the vet’s exam room, I failed to pause. When Wren went all Cujo on the tech I was handing her to, I lost equanimity for a moment and yelled NO! and pulled her away. It all happened so fast… I heard the tech say calmly, “Don’t bite your mommy.” I don’t remember if she tried to bite me, I just reacted to a writhing biting dog in my hands and yelled and dropped her to the bench. The two techs said “We’ll be right back,” and hustled from the room, leaving us in stunned silence.

Wren was there for a routine checkup and nail trimming. When she saw the greased thermometer she tried to hide behind me. She was traumatized at a different vet last year, but she’s seen this vet several times since then and been fine. I don’t know what got into her. I did not find it humorous. Though I did appreciate this other little sign on the wall next to us.

They came back in awhile with a cute little fabric muzzle which I slipped over her tiny, ferocious mouth and buckled behind her head. We were able to get her tummy spots examined (the conclusion was freckles) and one nail clipped before she became unmanageable. I encouraged them to carry her off to their procedure room to finish her nails and the exam. She was returned to me calmer and seemingly chastened, and I removed the muzzle.

We stopped at Sonic on the way home. It was lunchtime, and I hankered for a fried fish sandwich. Turns out both Sonic and Wendy’s only serve fish sandwiches “in season,” which I learned from calling Wendy’s (before caving to a chicken sandwich at the Sonic where I was parked and hungry), is during Lent! I rarely eat fast food, and probably won’t be stopping at Sonic again. The chocolate shake was delicious, of course, but the fried chicken sandwich wasn’t worth the ethical violation, and the fries weren’t great either. The fry sauce was too thin and tasteless. I’m grateful for the reminder of my gustatory and ethicarian standards. Though I’m still craving a fried fish sandwich. Guess I’ll have to make it myself.

I think by her third french fry Wren had gotten over her veterinary trauma, but it took me awhile longer. I got home with my ears ringing. I put off my afternoon exercise and work plans and we strolled down to the canyon. The beauty soothed me, and the relative silence of the forest began to still the noise in my head. I barely noticed the occasional jets or construction sounds from afar.

I lay down on the ledge and let my body first and then my mind settle into the warm rock below. Sun beamed down on my face and I covered my eyes and cheeks with the hood of my jacket. I was grateful to know that Wren would stay by my side. She’s so good. Most of the time. I meditated there like that for almost an hour, finding balance, basking in peace and gratitude.

How I wish this were possible for everyone, for all humans and all non-human beings. Even in these moments of giving my unrest to the rocks there is a heartsick undercurrent coursing between us, me and the planet, that all is not right with the world; in fact, that so much is so wrong, and I fear the next global twist set in motion last weekend with the escalating atrocity of the new war…. Sometimes awareness that our next breath could be our last is more immediate than other times. For me the work is to let my heart open even more, breathing my way out of the frozen stasis it’s felt as protection for so long.

And in more cast iron news, I cooked this semi-Alfredo broccoli and chickpea dish tonight in my trusty iron skillet, and it was so simple, so delicious. Several readers shared their cast iron skillet interests in yesterday’s comments, including Tara who suggests flax oil for seasoning, and wrote, “I spread a very thin coat on the cast iron only when my skillet gets its seasoning burned off and especially if hints of rust. It fires hard and be sure to wipe off any excess. For daily seasoning I have a handy, oily cloth imbued with a bit of oil of whatever I’ve been cooking with, probably ghee and coconut and olive. Contrary to common advice, I wash my cast iron with dish soap if necessary. The flax seasoning can withstand that treatment.”

Amy sent some pictures of “the world’s largest cast iron skillet from the Lodge cast iron museum…. Because when you have the opportunity to see the world’s largest anything, I’m pretty sure it’s a life requirement to do so!” That’s my Amy! I’m grateful for her, and for everyone I know who loves life as much as she does.

Cast Iron

I’m grateful for a clean chimney and clean reburn tubes in the cast iron stove. This is how they’re supposed to look with a hot fire, shooting random jets of reburned gas out the perforations along the front side.

I don’t really know what cast iron is: Webster defines it as “a commercial alloy of iron, carbon, and silicon that is cast in a mold and is hard, brittle, nonmalleable, and incapable of being hammer-welded but more easily fusible than steel.” All I really know is that I’m grateful for it. I’ve been kept warm in winter for more than half my life with a series of three cast iron woodstoves, and I’ve cooked for longer than that in cast iron skillets. There’s nothing like a well-tended cast iron skillet for some things. We’ll see how it works for this cinnamon-chocolate chunk skillet cookie….

I’m grateful for this trusty cast iron skillet that I’ve had for decades. Today it served me pizza for lunch, and a giant cookie for dessert tonight. I mean, only a slice of it will be for dessert tonight, it will take awhile to get through the whole thing!

Later that same evening: … So, when the directions said “Let cookie cool in skillet before slicing,” I guess it meant let it cool completely… Maybe tomorrow it will be solid, but tonight it’s warm and melty, and that’s ok too.