What’s the best treatment for your cast-iron cooking ware?

I say bacon.

Cooking bacon in them, I mean. Slowly, at a low temperature. It keeps them well-seasoned and rust-free. Soap never sullies their blackened sheen.

All that scary no-stick stuff isn’t necessary if you’ve got a decades-old No. 8 seasoned with bacon grease. There’s no substitute in my book.

Vegetable oils, except olive, are the enemy. The congealing stuff never comes off,  providing a scary example of what might be in store for your arteries. Bacon grease seems benign in comparison. Cleans easier. Smells better, too.

Above are my two skillets and a small griddle. The griddle was hung on my door one snowy day almost 40 years ago, left by a pissed-off girlfriend apparently mellowed by Chrismas spirit.

It is a treasured possession, at any rate, and a relic of Mr. Lujan’s eclectic little mercantile store formerly gracing Galisteo Street between Alameda and Water in Santa Fe. Mr. Lujan’s store was where you could find such things, in addition to saddle blankets, ropes, bridles and nose bags, big jars of dried herbal remedies, sharp, new hand tools and Desert Water Bags.


I also have a sets of blue enameled dishes and cups, which I refer to as Lujan-ware,  that I think were given to me by the equally eclectic David Steinberg, formerly of Santa Fe.

All of which reminds me of this relic, skilletsan aide to my dreams for many a moon.


And none of this, by the way, should be considered an endorsement of a New York Times recipe calling for three-quarters of a pound of bacon to flavor a single pot of beans.



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