Ode to the Cast Iron Skillet

Depending on who you ask, on what day, during which season, you might get a million and one different answers to the question: “what is your one essential kitchen tool?”

I myself have several answers: a fork for example (what can’t you mix with a fork?), or a sturdy spatula. While rushing through a batch of fresh basil pesto, I might say a food processor.

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But what if you change locales, step out of your sterile kitchen environment, and go minimal? No dishwasher, no four+ burner stove, no cupboard full of pots and pans. What is your one essential cookware for camping?

Hands down, no question, you must be crazy if you don’t say: the cast iron skillet!

Cooper recently purchased a new one, so we took it on a all-too-quick camping trip to Hermit Island in Maine, near Bath, where we endeavored to season the skillet as it should be: with bacon grease, fresh air, and few stray pine needles.

I’m not exactly sure why this is, but when we go camping our commitment to healthy eating and quality ingredients seems to go by the wayside without a second thought. Chips, hotdogs, cheap beer… bring it on. This particular morning we cooked up one of our favorite, hearty camping breakfasts to get us ready for a day of adventuring. (For me, this meal is also reminiscent of a Pierce family camping classic, “Camp Pie”, the recipe for which is so top-secret I feel slightly uncomfortable even naming it here. Forget I even mentioned it.)

Standing at our picnic table, looking out at a picturesque Maine bay, we set to work on an epic one-skillet meal:

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One of the secrets to eating well on a camping stove is doing as much prep work at home as possible. For this breakfast we pre-steamed the potatoes and chopped the garlic and onion, so that when it came time to Skillet all we had to do was dump out the bag.

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This is not the kind of recipe that requires measurements or directions, really. The gist of it is as follows: heat up the skillet, line it with as much bacon as you can fit, once the bacon is about half-way done scoot it off to the side, and dump in your potato/onion/garlic mixture. Season it with salt and pepper (and whatever else you might want!), and remove the skillet from the heat only once the potatoes are fried golden brown and the bacon is to your liking. Serve with ketchup and Sriracha!

Maine was beautiful, camping was a perfect getaway, and our one-skillet breakfast was even better than it looks.

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One Response to Ode to the Cast Iron Skillet

  1. Em says:

    Ha ha you’re camp pie reference made me giggle. I agree w your cast iron skillet assessment! And what about the cast iron Dutch oven?!

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