**Please note: To see the photos contained within a post, you must click on the title of the post to open it separately. Why? I don't know. I just know that it needs to be done to see the pics. :)

Page 16

Have a Question?

Robert W. from GA wrote:

“”Age / mfg years/ worth of Wagner 14A bail griddle? Thanks for any help you can give me regards.”

Hi Robert. Thanks for your inquiry.

You did not provide photos with your inquiry, so I am unable to tell you the date/age of your piece. There are different markings on different pieces; these all help with dating a piece. As my “Ask The Pan Handler” contact form states, I cannot answer identification questions without seeing photos.

I would, however, like to give you some tips on how to find the answer to your question by doing your own research.

If you go to google.com and type in Wagner 14 griddle, over 77,000 links come up. Looking at some of the top links often will give you the answer to this type of question; particularly when you know as many specifics about your griddle as you do. You can often find photos (click on google “images” with your query) and find the same maker’s mark you are inquiring about.

Additionally, two great reference books for this type of question are: The Book of Griswold & Wagner, D. Smith and C. Wafford (5th ed. 2013) and The Book of Wagner and Griswold, D. Smith and C. Wafford (2001). There are a plethora of photos in those two books and you can likely find one that has the same maker’s markings and size that matches the markings on your piece, and find the information you seek. I also have other links in the FAQs section of my site that help you to do your own research. You can find that FAQs page here.

You can also search on eBay for completed listings. You can do that by going to eBay and clicking on the “advanced” button next to the search box. That brings up this screen:

If you click on “Completed listings” (under “Search including”), you can search for sales within the past 90 days. If you type in Wagner griddle 14 and search on those completed listings, you will find what this griddle has sold for on eBay in the past 90 days. Often, those listings also contain the information about date of manufacture, as well.

As to value: as the Ask The Pan Handler contact form says, I do not provide valuation estimates. That is far too subjective. Many, many factors go into a decision as to the “value” of an item or collection. If you ask 100 people, you will get close to 100 answers and a lot of animated discussion back and forth. You will have to make your own determination based upon your own research as to the value of your griddle.

I hope this information is helpful.

Happy hunting!

Parsnip Risotto14

I have been trying the Blue Apron cooking and food / meal / ingredient / recipe delivery, and so far I am really pleased and having fun with it. I am trying all kinds of new vegetables and cheeses, in particular. But of course I am cooking in my cast iron, as opposed to the non-stick pans (!! non-stick? yikes!!) that are suggested by Blue Apron.

Today I made a spinach, parsnip, and parmesan risotto with sage and crispy parsnip chips. If you had ever told me that I would enjoying eating crispy parsnip chips, I would have laughed out loud. But eat – and enjoy – I did.

Here’s how (original Blue Apron recipe can be found here):

Spinach, Parsnip, and Parmesan Risotto with Sage and Crispy Parsnip Chips

Serves 2 (I found it really serves about 3 – the servings are very hearty). Calories, about 640 per serving (if 2 servings).

Prep time: about 20 min. Cook time: about 40 min.

Pans used: #8 Griswold cast iron skillet (a larger size, up to 12, would have worked equally well if not better), Iron Mountain chicken pan for crisping parsnip chips.

Ingredients

1 c. Arborio rice 7 oz. parsnip (2 decent-sized parsnips) 6 oz. baby spinach 3 cloves garlic 1 medium yellow onion 1 small bunch sage (about 10 leaves) (Note: I would use less next time; I felt the sage taste was a little too bold) 2 T Mascarpone cheese 1?3 c grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry spinach (if not purchased pre-washed) and sage. Dry. Peel parsnip. Shave 1/2 of the parsnip into thin ribbons using the peeler. Grate the other half using a box grater or food processor. Note: Peel, halve and small dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Pick the sage leaves off the stems; thinly slice the leaves.

Garlic, onion, peels of parsnip, grated parsnip. Sage in the center. I would use less sage unless you really love sage.

Cook & drain the spinach:

In a number 8 (or larger) cast iron skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the spinach; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to a strainer; hold or rest the strainer over a bowl or sink. Using a spoon, press down on the cooked spinach to release as much liquid as possible; discard the liquid. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board; chop. Set aside. Wipe out the pan.

Spinach at the start of cooking.

Spinach at the end of cooking, after squeezing out as much liquid as I could in my small colander.

Start the risotto:

In the same number 8 (or larger) cast iron skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.

Onion and garlic a’cooking.

Add the rice and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequenly, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Note: I pretty much stirred the entire time. Remember that cast iron retains heat very well, so you need to watch the rice to avoid over-toasting.

Add the grated parsnip & liquid:

Add the grated parsnip and 3-1/2 cups of water to the pot; season with salt and pepper. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, 14 to 16 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Note: remember that the iron holds its heat. While Blue Apron recommends cooking over medium high, if you do that you will have a continual boil. I found that the heat needed to be turned down. If the mixture seems dry, you may add up to 1/4 c. water to achieve your desired consistency. Note: I did not need to do so.

Starting to cook the risotto in liquid. If the mixture seems dry, you may add up to an additional 1?4 cup of water to achieve your desired consistency. Note: I did not need to do so.

Mid-cooking

Almost ready!

Remove from heat.

Make the parsnip chips:

While the risotto cooks, in a cast iron chicken pan – if you have one – heat a thin layer of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the parsnip ribbons. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt and pepper to taste. Note: I used tongs to turn the chips as they cooked.

Parsnip peels in pre-heated chicken pan.

Parsnip peels and risotto cooking away!

Just about done.

Finish the risotto & plate your dish:

Add the spinach, sage, Parmesan cheese and mascarpone cheese to the pan of risotto and  thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the nished risotto between 2 bowls. Garnish with the parsnip chips. Enjoy! Note: I had about 1/4 of this dish for a lunch meal, and it was plenty. This will easily feed 3 hungry adults.

Ready: just prior to adding the cheeses and spinach.

Delicious!

Have a Question?

Amy M. from Vermont wrote me via Ask The Pan Handler and asked: “[M]y husband is requesting an cast iron skillet with a smooth cook surface. He says that the old ones had very smooth surfaces–possibly ground down? Which (if any) manufacturer would be best suited for him? [T]hank you!”

Amy, just about all of the great old cast iron skillets have smoother cooking surfaces than do pans of current manufacture. Just take a look at the cooking surface of a modern-day Lodge skillet, for example, and compare it to the cooking surface of an old Griswold:

Cooking surface of Griswold slant logo number 5 skillet.

Cooking surface of modern-day Lodge number 5 cast iron skillet.

Both pans had been cleaned to bare iron and then heat-seasoned with Crisco vegetable shortening. You can see the difference in texture. The same is true for the bottoms of the pans:

Bottom of Griswold slant logo number 5 skillet.

Bottom of Lodge number 5 skillet.

I dove a little deeper into the issue, trying to figure out why, exactly, the surfaces were different in texture. Obviously, one major difference is that the process is now largely automated, whereas human hands polished and ground the great old vintage pans. I found a Lodge foundry video which proved to be very helpful in learning more about how modern-day cast iron skillets are made. As you can see in the video, once the pans are released from the sand molds, they undergo a process where they are basically machine blasted to remove all remaining sand, and then blasted again to assist in cleaning. The cooking surface does not appear to be machined or polished at all.

Conversely, as shown in the little vintage pamphlet below from the Favorite Stove and Range Company,1 skillets were tumbled, then polished with a grinding wheel (or milled), which resulted in that beautiful glassy cooking surface seen on so many of the great old pans.

I was also provided two photos2 which were taken in 2003 at the Wagner foundry, prior to its closing. The photos show the grinding stone that was used on the cooking surface of a griddle during the polishing process. The red arrows point to the handle of the griddle, and to the grinding stone in the right photo. You can see even in this photo that the cooking surface is much smoother than that of a current-day Lodge.

Photo taken during a 2003 tour of the Wagner foundry, which shows the grinding stone used to polish / grind the surface of a griddle.

I have also read that the texture of the sand used in the sand molds was more dense than that used at present.3  This  makes sense when you think about it. Given the process by which cast iron skillets are made, the texture of the sand in the sand mold would replicate the texture of the product once it is removed from the mold.

I found an interesting British instructional video that showed how small iron pieces – there stovetop burner pates – were manufactured in the 1940s. I imagine it was a similar process in the United States. It provides a nice overview of the sand mold casting process.

Wikipedia also has a nice discussion about the sand casting process, with some nice illustrations that make the process easy to understand.

Amy, thank you for your question. It provided a great learning opportunity for me, and hopefully the information will help some of you, too!

 

Pamphlet scan provided courtesy Steve Stephens Photos and reference courtesy Steve Stephens D. Smith, Kettles ‘n Cookware, vol. 6, no. 2 (Mar-April 1997)
SkilletXmas09

When visiting my nephew Bill and his lovely family around Thanksgiving, 8-year-old Lucy talked to me about how much she loved cooking. She had made the cupcake dessert we had that day, and I saw that her face just lit up when she talked about cooking with her Grandmother.

It got me to thinking about what I could get Lucy for Christmas that she would really enjoy, that centered around her love of cooking. I knew that we would be celebrating the holidays in mid-December with both Bill’s and my darling niece Rhonda’s families, so I asked Rhonda whether her 6-year-old daughter Kylie also enjoyed cooking. Rhonda said she did. Bill’s wife Beth had given me a #3 Wagner cast iron skillet and asked me if I would clean and season it for her. I kept looking at it…voila! An excellent Christmas gift idea was born!

Off  I went to the grocery store; heading straight for the baking aisle. There I found a wide array of mixes suited perfectly for baking in a cast iron skillet. I picked up chocolate chip muffin mix, Jiffy corn bread mix, chocolate chip cookie mix, and peanut butter cookie mix. Some of the mixes called for eggs, so I picked up two cartons of egg beaters.

When I got home, I split the mixes in two, placing each half in a labeled zip lock bag. Using the instructions on the mixes, I prepared a document that set out the instructions for making the dish in a #3 cast iron skillet. Basically, I halved any additional ingredients required by the mix, and guesstimated the cooking time. I also had the ingredients at home for Steve’s Artisanal Bread made in a #8 cast iron skillet, so I halved that recipe and put the ingredients in zip lock bags.

Before I went to celebrate our family Christmas, I emailed both families to make sure that they had other necessary staples on hand – butter, spray vegetable oil, and regular vegetable oil.

I made two gift bags – one for Lucy, and one for Kylie. Each contained a #3 cast iron skillet with Nepalese panhandler, along with a round cork trivet. They also contained the ingredients and instructions for making: (1) Jiffy corn bread with honey (I put some honey in a little container and included it with the ingredients); (2) chocolate chip skillet muffin; (3) chocolate chip skillet cookie; (4) peanut butter skillet cookie; and a (5) mini artisanal bread with agave nectar and chia seeds. I enclosed the directions for all of them (I have reprinted them below).

It is so much fun when you give a child a gift and they really love it, isn’t it? We were in the middle of gift opening; Kylie stopped short when she opened the skillet gift bag, marched straight to the kitchen, and insisted on immediately making the chocolate chip muffin. And so we did, and it was delicious!

And a chocolate chip muffin in a #3 skillet was born. :)

Over the next few days, I received photos of both Lucy and Kylie baking in their #3 cast iron skillets. It is so sweet to see! And it is fun for me to get to share my love of vintage cast iron cookware with my family.

Lucy at work!

Kylie’s corn bread.

Kylie’s corn bread batter.

A warm and fuzzy Christmas for me!

Happy holidays, all!

~Mary

********

Chocolate Chip #3 Skillet Cookie Cake

Note: for both the Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter cookie mixes, I split Betty Crocker 17.5 ounce cookie mixes in half, placing them in a labeled zip lock bag. Be sure to watch the baking time carefully, as the time will vary because of the size of the cookies.

Ingredients

Chocolate chip cookie mix 2 T eggbeaters ¼ c (1/2 stick) softened (but not melted) butter or margarine Optional: Vanilla ice cream to scoop on top!

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray your #3 cast iron skillet with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Spread dough evenly in skillet, pressing to flatten and cover bottom. Bake about 25 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Do not overbake; cookie will continue to cook once out of oven. Use a heavy potholder to remove pan from oven. Cool 5 minutes on cooling rack; cut into wedges. Serve warm; put a scoop of ice cream on top if you want!

Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie Cake

Ingredients

Peanut butter cookie mix 1.5 T vegetable oil 1 t water 2 T eggbeaters Optional: Ice cream!

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray your #3 cast iron skillet with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Spread dough evenly in skillet, pressing to flatten and cover bottom. Bake about 25 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Do not overbake; cookie will continue to cook once out of oven. Use a heavy potholder to remove pan from oven. Cool 5 minutes on cooling rack; cut into wedges. Serve warm; put a scoop of ice cream on top if you want!

Chocolate Chip Skillet Muffin

Note: I used Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix in a pouch, splitting it between two zip lock plastic bags.

Ingredients

Chocolate chip muffin mix ¼ water or milk Optional: Ice cream!

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray the bottom of your #3 cast iron skillet with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir muffin mix and water or milk until just blended. Spoon into skillet. Bake about 25 minutes or until it is light golden brown (watch it carefully to avoid overbaking). Do not overbake; muffin will continue to cook once out of oven. Use a heavy potholder to remove pan from oven. Cool 5 minutes on cooling rack; cut into wedges. Serve warm; put a scoop of ice cream on top if you want!

Skillet Corn Bread

Ingredients

½ package Jiffy corn muffin mix (equals ¾ cup) 2 T eggbeaters 2 T + 1 t milk Optional: Butter or honey (I enclosed a small amount of honey in a little container with the packaging mix)

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray the bottom of your #3 cast iron skillet with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir muffin mix and water or milk until just blended. Batter will be slightly lumpy; that is okay. Let batter rest 3-4 minutes. Spoon batter into skillet. Bake about 15 minutes or until it is golden brown (watch it carefully to avoid overbaking). Use a heavy potholder to remove pan from oven. Cool and cut into wedges. Serve warm; top with honey or butter.

Artisanal Bread in #3 Cast Iron Skillet

Note: I used the recipe and methodology for Steve’s Turbo Bread in a Cast Iron Skillet, which I have previously blogged about. It was easy and did not require a lot of ingredients; I had them on hand.

Ingredients:

Scant 6 oz warm tap water 2 T Agave nectar Zip lock bag containing 1-3/4 c. bread flour and 1/8 t. salt 2/3 t. active yeast About 1-2 T chia seeds for dusting

Directions:

Preheat medium glass bowl for 20 seconds in microwave. Pour 6 oz. warm water and 2T agave nectar into bowl. Add yeast and stir. Add 1-3/4 c. bread flour and salt. Stir until mixture forms a shaggy ball. Place dough ball in a warm draft-free area, cover, and let rest and rise for 1.5 hours. Pull and stretch dough using the handle of a wood spoon for about 2 minutes. Cover with a lint free cloth and let rest for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray number 3 cast iron skillet with Pam. Sprinkle ball with chia seeds and dust lightly with flour. Roll dough ball into skillet. Bake about 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Let cool, remove from pan, slice, and ENJOY!
SCIWinter2016

I wrote a little article on identification of vintage cast iron cookware for Southern Cast Iron Magazine, and it is published in the Winter 2016 issue. I am sending a brand-spanking new issue down to my beloved mama Betsy, who lives in Texas.

Photos in the article provided courtesy S.Lamb Photography, except for the gate marked piece, which is mine.

And remember – if you have questions about vintage cast iron cookware, we are starting the “Ask The Pan Handler” series on the blog. You can find the contact form here.

 

Reprinted with permission.