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Interview Wed Feb 11 2009

Ironclad Love

Michael Nagrant, Chicago food writer and the editor of Hungry Mag, has an article in today's Sun-Times about how fantastic cast-iron skillets are. I also have much love for cast-iron skillets and Michael called me to get verification of something I'd written in that post.

Michael's love letter, written shortly before Valentine's Day even, to cast iron skillets is a great read. But the gist of the story is that cast-iron skillets are awesome and a great value for your money and indestructible. Literally, indestructible. Those fancy-pants pans? Not so much. If you purchase new, you're likely to buy a piece of Lodge cookware and you're just as likely to find it at the hardware store as you are at a cookware store on Michigan Avenue.

And apparently cast-iron isn't just for making food, you can make music with it, too. Dance music. He kindly sent on this tidbit of information that didn't fit in the Sun-Times article:

"Not everyone uses their cast iron for cooking, at least not exclusively. Local professional chef and percussionist [and Drive-Thru contributor] Alan Lake makes music with his. In 1986 while working as a sous chef at the East Bank Club, lake got a call from Pat Leonard, a boyhood friend who'd scored a gig as a music producer. Leonard told Lake to pack up his equipment and move out to LA to be part of his recording band. Part of Lake's "equipment" was a set of cast iron pans. Lake says, "Back then you couldn't just buy samples, so we had to make our own. I hung my skillets from s-hooks, rolled rubber bands around chopsticks to make drumsticks and played them like steel drums. Though they're not tuned, they (the pans) have different pitches by virtue of their size." These weren't just any samples though. Lake says, "You can hear those samples all over (Madonna's) La Isla Bonita and Papa Don't Preach and (Ferry's) Bette Noir album."


Donny B / February 12, 2009 9:22 AM

Sorry, but cast-iron skillets are not literally indestructible. I used to work at a cookware store and some items fell off a delivery package. They fell maybe two feet to our cement floor. What broke in half? A cast-iron skillet. What didn't? A 4-pack of wine glasses in a box.

But, you know, they're still pretty awesome.

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