**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. :)

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I got it into  my head that I should have a patty mold party. I think it is because I somehow became transfixed with patty molds – both cast iron and aluminum – and had a plethora of them but had never given them a whirl.

I decided to make both patty molds and rosettes. Before I became immersed in patty molds, I hadn’t even realized there was a difference. There is. Molds are basically cups in various shapes (round cups, shells, fish, hearts, stars, flowers, etc) that you fill with whatever your heart desires. Rosettes are little crispy cookies that are traditionally dusted with powdered sugar.

Griswold & Handi Hostess patty molds and rosettes.

I pulled out all kinds of Handi Hostess aluminum patty molds, shells, and molds. I also gathered my Griswold patty molds, rosettes, and patty molds sets. Gave everything a good scrub.

Let’s talk rosettes first.


There is an art to making rosettes. I haven’t yet mastered it, but I’m surely better than I was.

Sad first tries at making rosettes. Of course, I ate them anyway.

We heated canola oil in my Griswold deep fat fryer (which I have since sold). You can of course use a regular saucepan. We used a candy thermometer to watch the heat of the oil; the frying works best when the oil is at 375º.

Griswold deep fat fryer, patty bowl w batter, and candy thermometer.



We tried several different recipes for batter. The one I liked best is the old tried and true one from the Griswold patty mold manual. It had a nice light consistency, and made rosettes that were a bit lighter than the other recipes I tried.

Voila! Rosettes!


For about 40 rosettes:

2 eggs 1 t. sugar 1 c. flour 1/4 t. salt 1 c. milk

Lightly beat the eggs, add sugar, salt, milk. Gradually stir in flour, beat until smooth. You can add a bit more sugar if you prefer your cookies to be very sweet.

I poured the batter into the Griswold patty mold bowls.

Griswold patty bowl in foreground w batter; Handi Hostess aluminum molds and Griswold cast iron molds and rosettes.

When the oil reached 375°, I screwed the rosette form I wanted to use onto the handle, and placed the form into the hot oil. It sizzled!  Once hot, I removed it from the oil and placed it into the batter, being careful to come only about 2/3 of the way to the top (if you go over the top, the rosette will not easily come off the iron).

Heating the mold in oil before dipping into batter.









The batter easily adhered to the mold. I placed it into the oil and stood and watched it sizzle for between 20 – 35 seconds. Once it is the color you wish it to be (typically a nice golden color), remove the rosette from the iron. I found that if I lifted the iron partially from the oil, the rosette would drop off the iron. I could then evenly fry it to the color I desired, and remove it from the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon. Place the rosette on paper towels to drain. I lined cookie sheets with paper towels; this worked well both for draining and for transporting the cookies to a different location when I needed more room.

If you like, you can sift powdered sugar onto the top of the cookies. They are best eaten within a day, but you can store them, loosely covered, in the refrigerator for a few days if need be.


Now…on to patty molds! I made the same batter for the molds as for the rosettes, though I slightly cut down on the sugar.  Same procedure: 375° oil, heat mold, dip into batter 2/3 of the way, plop into oil, sizzle, drop off, brown evenly, take out with tongs or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. 

For me, the patty molds were more intriguing than the rosettes. What I learned is that you are really limited only by your imagination as to what you use for filling for the molds. Pretty much anything you put into a pastry shell can go into a patty mold shell. I consulted all kinds of sources. I queried my friends. I sent emails. I scoured the web and read cookbooks and wracked my brain. I tried to think of both sweet and savory fillings.

You can create just about any kind of filling for the molds. I came up with a number of fillings for the molds that sounded wonderful:

Savory (all cooked – preferably in your cast iron pan! – and then spooned into the mold):

Apple, blue cheese & bacon Mushroom, brie & onion Shrimp, garlic & lemon zest Mushroom, bacon, & cheese Turkey Italian sausage, spinach, cherry tomatoes, chopped olives & cheese


Cranberry & orange Apple, cinnamon, & cheddar Pumpkin pie filling with whipped cream Pudding with berries and / or chocolate chunks Jam, jellies, marmalade, lemon curd – topped with fruit pieces or orange, lemon, or lime zest Chocolate ganache and berries (I am a berry fan) Cheesecake with graham cracker crumbs and berries

Crab salad in Handi Hostess shell mold.

Mini Handi Hostess molds filled with jellies and jams, topped with kiwi. Berries, because I like berries.

Griswold heart and cup molds, filled with chocolate and vanilla pudding and … again … berries. Because I like berries.

Griswold heart and cup molds.















And of course, you could also fill the larger molds with fruit, chicken, egg, tuna, shrimp, or crab salad. One thing I learned is that the size of the mold does to a certain extent dictate what goes in the mold. With little teeny-tiny molds, it’s easiest to just swipe some jam or jelly into the mold. They make cute and easy sweet appetizers that you can just pop into your mouth. With larger molds (such as the Handi Hostess fish mold or Griswold heart or cup mold), it calls for more of a salad that you eat with a fork. The larger sizes are not conducive to popping into your mouth.

One other thing I learned…fill the molds shortly before serving or you will have sad and soggy molds. And soggy party patty molds are never a good thing.

Happy molding!



The Pan Handler’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Oh my goodness, where to begin?

I know nothing about vintage cast iron and the choices on the site are overwhelming!

If you aren’t very familiar with cast iron cookware, a good starting point is to take a look at the FAQs section on the site.  Scroll down to see all of the topics. This information will give you a good starting point, along with tips about how to select a vintage cast iron pan.

If he doesn’t yet have vintage cast iron cookware, a “starter” skillet set with different sizes or a skillet with matching lid would be a great choice. Take a look at the “Gift Ideas” category  on the shop site, along with the shop’s “Skillet Sets” section.

If this is his first piece and you are going to get just one skillet:

*                If he cooks for one, consider a size 7 or 8 skillet.

*                If he cooks for two, consider a size 8 or 9 skillet.

*                If he cooks for three or four, consider a size 9, 10, or even 12 skillet.

*                If he cooks for a crowd, consider larger skillets such as sizes 12 and 14.

Remember, the size number of the skillet does not equate to the inches in diameter. A size 8 is typically about 10-1/2″ in diameter. Pans typically go up or down 1/2″ for each size, though manufacturers differ.

If your budget permits, a lid for the skillet is a nice luxury.

She already has one vintage cast iron skillet; I want to get her another piece. 

If she doesn’t have a lid for her skillet, that’s a nice thing to have. You need to know the manufacturer of her pan, though, so that you can be sure that the lid will fit. A size 8 lid from one manufacturer does not necessarily fit a size 8 skillet from a different manufacturer.

If you want to get her another skillet, it’s nice to have another that is up or down at least two sizes. In my kitchen, for example, I most often use a 5 and an 8, as well as my much-loved chicken pan.

Consider whether she would want to have the same, or different, manufacturer. Some people love checking out different manufacturers; others prefer the aesthetic of having pans that “match” logo-wise. Even with manufacturers, there are different logos. For example, she might have a Griswold “large block” logo with heat ring. She thus may want a pan that has that same logo, but a different size.

Griswold Iron Mountain Chicken Pan w Lid

If you want to branch out from skillets, consider a chicken pan (my personal favorite). In my kitchen, in addition to my number 5, I routinely use my Griswold number 8 skillet, and a Griswold Iron Mountain chicken pan and lid. The Iron Mountain lid fits both the Griswold skillet and the Iron Mountain chicken pan, which is a nice bonus. The lid is a “high dome,” so my chicken pan also does double duty as a dutch oven.

Long griddle.

A griddle is also a nice piece to have. If she cooks outdoors, a nice big round or long griddle is great for making camp breakfasts and grilling steaks. If she cooks indoors, look for a griddle that will fit over her burner(s).

He is very particular. 

Of course you can always ask him what exactly he wants, but if you want to be a bit more mysterious…

Give him a gift certificate for merchandise from The Pan Handler! We have a new option this year that permits you to buy a store credit in any amount and gift it to a lucky recipient. Gift certificates are not redeemable for cash, and must be used on or before November 1, 2015.

For someone who is very particular, a card for merchandise credit is a great gift. It enables the recipient to get exactly what they want.

Another nice thing about the gift certificate option is that you can instantly email it to your recipient. The Pan Handler emails you the coupon code; you can send it to your lucky recipient. Or, if you prefer, we can mail out a physical gift card to the recipient with the coupon code printed on it.

Another idea is to ask him to make a wish list on The Pan Handler website. When looking at a piece on the site, there is an option to “add to wish list.” A wish list enables the recipient to select various pieces they would like to have, and then gives you the option to select from that group. This narrows the field quite a bit for you.

She cooks with modern-day cast iron, and I want to turn her on to vintage. 

Look for a skillet with thin walls and a satiny smooth cooking surface, such as the early Griswold, Wapak, Wagner, Vollrath, and Favorite Piqua Ware pans. She will be amazed at the difference in weight, and appreciate the smooth cooking surface.

Know what kind of cooktop she has. If she has raised burners or primarily uses the pan on a grill or outdoors, a bit of a wobble in a pan is not a big deal. For a convection cooktop, it is more important that the pan “sits flat,” so that all areas of the bottom of the pan are in contact with the cooktop.

He loves to bake.

Griswold Santa Mold.

Look at the “baking pans, cake molds” section of the site, as well as the “patty mold” section. You will find a dizzying array of pans for bakers. From gem and muffin pans to bread and cornstick pans, to patty molds galore, there is something to please every baker. We also have the manuals for the various patty molds available.

We also have the Griswold cake molds; the Santalamb, (including the leg-forward lamb, which is the largest and hardest to come by), and the rabbit. Those are very fun and also quite decorative and special.

We also have some of the more scarce and collectible Griswold pieces, including: the large turk head pan and the small turk head pan, a variety of wheat and corn stick pans, French waffle iron, and the heart and star pan. These pans are wonderful for baking and beautiful for display.

For bakers, it is always nice to have a trivet for your hot pots, too!

She already has everything!

Griswold Breakfast Skillet – 5 in 1

Sure, she might have a selection of vintage skillets, but does she have a chicken pan? Dutch oven or Roaster? Large skillet? Small skillet? Waffle iron? Long griddle? Round griddle? Breakfast pan? Oval skillet? Fish skilletSquare Skillet? Grill panSad iron? Trivet? Patty mold or cake mold? Gem or Muffin Pan? How about a Plett or Aebleskiver pan? Bowl or kettleGriswold ash tray? Citrus squeezer? Does she need a trivet to fit into one of her Dutch ovens or skillets? Chain mail scrubbie? Panhandler?

Take a look around the site at the shop categories other than “skillets.” There are a wide variety of vintage cast iron pieces. Also check to see if she has lids for her vintage cast iron pans; they can be hard to come by and are often sold separately.

He is a foodie.

Griswold small logo and Iron Mountain skillets are praised as great cookers. Other pans can also be great cookers, of course; look for pans with satin-smooth glassy cooking surfaces.

If he has a ceramic cooktop, consider a smooth-bottom skillet (instead of one with a heat ring) and make sure the description says that the pan sits flat. If he has a gas or electric range, it doesn’t matter as much if the pan has a slight wobble.

If he already has a vintage skillet, consider something a bit more esoteric such as a cake mold or patty mold, corn bread or baking pan. How about a cool waffle iron?

She is a collector.

Go for a Griswold unless she already has accumulated pieces from one of the other brands, such as Wagner, Favorite, Lodge, Martin, or Wapak. Griswold is the most commonly collected of the cast iron cookware lines.

Griswold Chuck Wagon Set.

If she already collects cast iron cookware, try to see what her collection is missing. Does she have a fish skillet? Square skillet? Chuck Wagon? Dutch Oven? Waffle iron? Baking or muffin pan? Lids? Is there a particular size skillet or lid that she doesn’t have that would round out her collection?

If she already has all the cookware she needs, how about a sad iron or ultra cool Griswold cast iron sundial or mailbox? How about Miniature / toy / smalls or something else out of the ordinary?

For the highest quality pieces on the site, do a search on the site for “minty” “near mint” and “excellent” pieces.  Of course, sometimes I get tired of using the same lingo and start throwing out “superb” and “spectacular” and “collector’s quality” or “gorgeous” and “lovely”, but those three terms will give you a good start. Also, searching for “scarce” or “rare” is a good way to get right to some of our highly collectible pieces. I don’t throw those two words around loosely, so if I use them in the listing you can be sure that the pan is indeed “scarce” or “rare.”

If you know she does collect a particular brand of cookware such as Griswold, check to see what the logo looks like and try to find a pan with a matching logo (i.e. large block logo, slant logo, small logo). You can see photos of the various Griswold logos in the blog post “Griswold logos.

The Pan Handler Chain Mail Scrubber.

If all else fails, you can always get an accessory for her cast iron, such as the chain mail scrubber or panhandler. Perfect stocking stuffers!

He prefers things that are offbeat.

Consider one of the lesser-known makers, such as Wapak or Favorite or Griswold’s Victor line. Look for some of the really old pieces, like Waterman, Filley, and Griswold’s old ERIE line. Also take a look at the “unknown makers” category on the site. The Sidney cursive logo pans are amazingly cool.

Consider a piece other than a skillet. View our  “scratch and dent” section, which has some pieces that have history and have lived a life (as have we all) and need a new home where they will be well-cared-for and of service.

Wapak Indian Head Medallion

We have some ultra cool waffle irons, including hammered, heart, and funky unknown makers. The Wapak Indian Medallion skillets are very cool. How about a sad iron or hatmaker’s iron to be used as a paperweight or door stop? An ashtray as a spoon rest? A wonderful outdoor stove / hot plate? Or do like I did and get a variety of Handi Hostess kits and patty molds and  have a patty mold party! How about a decorative kettle or bowl filled with candy or popcorn or fruit? A Griswold heat regulator? Skillet grill? Quaker panCitrus squeezer? Look for some of our more esoteric pieces.

Only the best will do. 

Griswold #130 small Turk Head Pan

Do a product search on the site for the words “minty” “near-mint,” “excellent,” and “collector’s quality.” Search for the words “scarce” and “rare.” As noted above, I don’t throw those two words around lightly. If I say a piece is scarce or rare, in my opinion, it is.

Griwold French waffle iron

You might also consider something high-end such as the Griswold fish skillet with lid, Griswold sun dial, Griswold French waffle iron, Griswold #14 skillet with lid, Griswold #13 oval skilletGriswold #13 skillet, Griswold heart star pan, Griswold turk head pan, Griswold hammered waffle iron, Griswold #11 Dutch Oven, Griswold square skillet with lid, a Griswold mold set, Griswold skillet set, or Griswold skillet with lid.

Griswold Sun Dial

You can also do a product search on the site by price from high to low, or low to high, if you wish.

I don’t care about a name brand; I just want to get her a really old piece.

G.F. Filley Gem Pan No. 5

Do a search on the site for the word “antique.” Those are pieces that I believe to be more than 100 years old.

I don’t care about a name brand; I just want to get him a good “user.” 

See above info in the first section relating to “I know nothing about vintage cast iron and the choices on the site are overwhelming!”

To pick a skillet if you do not care about the manufacturer, first narrow down the size (see the “I know nothing…” section). Then consider the factors noted above that matter to you (cooktop type, aesthetics, logo, pitting, wall thickness, heat ring, condition, etc.) and do a search for skillet by size. Then, to the extent that you budget is at play, sort the products in that size by price from high to low or low to high. Pick through the skillets until you find one that has the qualities that you want, at a price that works for you. You can save skillets and compare them with each other to help you decide by clicking on the “compare” button on each product page, too.

He’s really outdoorsy; the pan will be used for camp cooking.

Oh Chuck Wagon, I hear your name. 🙂

Big griddles round and long, skillets. Scratch and dent skillets, griddles, and Dutch ovens are often a good choice for this type of cooker; it matters little if the pan sits flat and it’s okay if there is a hairline crack or a bit of pitting. The purpose is to get the job done….campfire cooking!

I have a tight budget.

As noted elsewhere herein, you can search any of the shop categories by price. That will help to narrow down pieces that are in your price range.

Vintage Lodge 3-notch Skillet

You might also take a look at the section of the shop marked “scratch and dent.” You will find pieces in that category that have flaws and have been substantially marked down. The section for “other /unknown / unmarked” pieces also has some budget-friendly pieces. Also, Lodge and Birmingham Stove & Range pieces are often more budget-friendly than those of some manufacturers that I consider to be more collectible. Additionally, smaller more common-sized skillets, such as 3, 5, and 6 are typically more budget-friendly than less common and larger skillets.

At check out, you have the option to pay via credit or debit card, in addition to paying through PayPal. PayPal offers the option to “buy now, pay later.” This is a financing agreement between you and PayPal (not The Pan Handler); details are available when you check out.

I don’t know what kind of cast iron he already has, but I know he has some. 

If you know that he has cast iron cookware and you want to supplement what he has, you are best off asking him, nosing through his cookware, or asking someone who cooks with him what he already has. If you don’t want to any of these things, I’d suggest that you consider something other than a size 8 skillet. Skillets are typically the first vintage cast iron purchase that a person makes, and a size 8 is a common first purchase. Either go for a larger, smaller, or deeper (chicken pan) skillet, or move away from skillets altogether.

I want to get a lid for a pan that she already has.

“Fully Marked” low-dome #6 skillet lid

You need to know what size and make of pan she has before you try to buy a lid for that pan. Lids do not have a universal fit. A #8 Wagner lid, for example, will likely not fit a #8 Wapak pan. Even if the same maker of the lid makes the pan, the fit can vary. For example, Wagner skillet lids do not necessarily fit Wagner chicken pans. Moreover, Dutch oven lids are different from skillet lids.

Griswold skillet lids fit Griswold and Iron Mountain skillets regardless of logo; look for the number on the lid that matches the number on the pan (i.e. 8, 9, 10).

I want to get him something amazing that he can pass down to his children and grandchildren. 

All of the vintage cast iron pieces on the site are made to last a lifetime and then some. Many of the pieces of the site already have lasted through at least one lifetime.

#8 Griswold cast iron skillet large block logo EPU smooth bottom.

If you are looking for pans that are the most collectible and will hold their value, I recommend Griswold (including “ERIE“, Victor, and Iron Mountain). As to the different Griswold logos, see this blog post

My recommendation after Griswold is Wagner.

Another option, of course, is to look at the various pans and see which ones “speak” to you (e.g. a lot of folks really like the Favorite “smiley” logo); go for that one. Of course, what he will use and enjoy and love, is what you want to get him.

Oh geez, I dilly-dallied too long…I need that gift RIGHT NOW! 

If you need it now…as in right now…as in immediately via the web, then your best option is the gift certificate / merchandise credit. We can turn that around VAVOOM. When you purchase, the coupon code for redemption will automatically be emailed to you. You can then email it to your recipient, or print it off and wrap it. Or, if you prefer and there is time, we can mail the gift card to your recipient.

If you are purchasing a cast iron piece and … ooops you should have started looking earlier … be sure to email me right away upon purchase. I can check into the cost to upgrade your shipping so that it arrives sooner than it typically would via USPS Priority Mail or FedEx. Around the holidays, Linda and I put our Santa hats on and work pretty much around the clock to pack and ship your packages just as fast as we can. We will do our best for you!

Enough already! I don’t have time for a crash course in vintage cast iron; I just want to buy a gift…now!

If you feel lost in a sea of pans, email us through the “contact” form at the bottom of the home page and give some detail on what you’re looking for; we’re happy to make suggestions!

Wrap it, please! 

We offer two gift wrap options at checkout. One is for the “rustic” burlap with felted ornament; the other is for the pretty gift bag with tissue paper and raffia bow. Both are $7. We wrap the piece in the burlap; for the gift bags, we enclose the folded gift bag, tissue paper, and raffia. 

Please note that we’ll do our best, but if it the gift is being sent directly to the recipient, it will need to be the burlap, as the bag would get all crumpled and yecch in shipping. Also note that sometimes one just will not work (i.e. too large for the gift bag). In that case, we automatically substitute.

When you purchase gift wrap, we do include an enclosure that talks about The Pan Handler’s pans, and lets your recipient know just how very special and collectible the piece is.

Happy holiday hunting – thanks for stopping and shopping!  



I am often asked whether vintage cast iron is really “non-stick” as is claimed.

My answer is that a properly cared-for, properly cleaned, and properly seasoned vintage cast iron skillet will be non-stick once seasoning is built up.

The Pan Handler pieces are sold only after being cleaned to bare iron and then subsequently heat-seasoned with Crisco (and sometimes Pam). Therefore, when you purchase a piece from The Pan Handler, it has just one layer of seasoning. To achieve full non-stick properties, it needs more than that one layer. I typically recommend cooking fatty foods in the pan when first received to help build up that seasoning. Generous use of your preferred cooking oil also helps with this process.

Sometimes you will see a vintage piece offered for sale with a claim that the piece is “well-seasoned.” Unfortunately, that is often code for “I didn’t know how to clean this pan” or “I didn’t want to take the time to thoroughly clean this pan” or “OMG, this pan is a mess…I know, I’ll call it SEASONING!”  The pan may have decades of burnt on food, carbon, and rust. That is not “seasoning.” That is decades of crud that needs to be removed.

I made a little video of me cooking my morning scrambled eggs in my vintage Griswold Iron Mountain #5 skillet. You will see that this pan is indeed non-stick; it’s not just hype! Just be sure to thoroughly clean and dry your pan after use, and then put a light layer of protective oil on it. I use a quick spray of Pam on a paper towel; that works well for me.

Enjoy the vid!

In the vid, the 2 eggs were cooked on a pre-heated skillet without the use of additional oil (hello, waistline!) Plopped two eggs into a bowl, sprinkled on some seasoned salt, gave it a few stirs with a fork, and into the skillet they go.

Once the eggs are removed and the pan cooled a bit, it’s quite a simple task to pour in a little water and give it a rub with the chain mail scrubber til any bits are removed. Be sure to remove any bits; otherwise the next time you cook, your food will stick to the bits, and there goes your non-sticked-ness! Dry the pan thoroughly with paper towels, then spray a bit of Pam on the cooking surface and give it a rub with your paper towel to coat the entire surface.

Voila! Your new old non-stick pan! And doesn’t it feel better to be eating off of your cast iron instead of your scratched up old teflon pan that is leaching chemicals into your body? Give yourself a pat on the back for being healthy!

pinterest cast iron cookware cooking vintage antique old pan fry fryer frying pin save recipes for sale


Screenshot of my cast iron cookware Pinterest page.

The holidays are coming, and that’s got me thinking about many things – and of course many of them revolve around pans. And food. Not that I’m into pans or anything. 🙂

I go through bouts and spurts of Pinterest pinning. I love Pinterest because it enables me to save things that look interesting to me (especially recipes!), and come back to them later. Have you checked it out? I especially like saving recipes, and then when I am entertaining (hello, Thanksgiving!) I can go back and plan a menu based on things I had previously saved.

In my current frenzy of cast iron cooking, I have a jones for recipes that are well-suited to cooking in cast iron. Wanted to share my Cast Iron Cookware Pinterest board with y’all…if you’re interested, follow along!













Boy, did we have fun!

I had decided to add more “in action” cooking shots to the site and listings, to show how some of the pieces are used. And what better way to do that than to have a party?

I had six friends over for the cast iron cooking extravaganza. Everyone pulled out old tried-and-true recipes and made a dish or two in cast iron. The very talented Sarah Lamb, of S.Lamb photography, was on hand to take pro shots for a magazine piece that is in the works. Sarah is also the talent behind the famous Playboy sexy pan photo. More and better photos of the party will be forthcoming from Sarah, along with recipes for many of the dishes detailed herein. 🙂

Sarah, Linda, Bonnie, me & Maisie, Doug, and Mike.

Linda and I started out on Friday night by making a ton of rosettes and patty molds in my Griswold deep fat fryer. We used all of the Griswold molds and rosettes, as well as the Griswold patty mold bowls. We also used a myriad of the Handi Hostess molds; I’ve been on a bit of a Handi Hostess bender, though I haven’t yet listed any of the sets for sale.

Griswold deep fat fryer heating; Patty mold bowl with batter.

Oil should heat to 365 for perfect patties.

Griswold patty bowl; Handi Hostess aluminum molds and Griswold cast iron patty molds.

Handi Hostess molds and Griswold molds and handles. Lil’ Frankie in the left rear.

















It took a little while to get the hang of it, but once we did, we were on a roll. We must have about 100 shells and rosettes. I haven’t had time to fill them yet, but have ideas and product and hope to get to it soon. Thinking chocolate, berries, pudding, jams and jellies, crab salad, cream cheese…the possibilities are pretty much endless!

Linda hard at work!

Frying away!

Just a small sample of our bounty.

Handi Hostess cast aluminum rosette molds in the forefront.

Griswold cast iron patty mold.

Fresh off the mold.

























I did also give the Griswold deep fat fryer a try earlier in the week; I used the Handi Hostess “Lil Frankie” set to make mini corn dogs. I used a recipe I found on the web that had a little more “jazz” than the Handi Hostess recipe; they were fabulous and decadent albeit messy. I don’t often eat hot dogs and even less frequently deep fry anything, so it was quite an fatty fried adventure. Linda agreed that they were very tasty – we both think they’d be a huge hit with kids.

Coming out of the deep fryer.

Frying the lil’ Frankies in the Griswold deep fat fryer.

Dipped in batter; ready to fry!

Corn bread batter.

Hebrew National Beef dogs, cut into thirds and dipped into the batter.




















Back to the cooking extravaganza. Saturday started early with me making a tart in a cracked #9 pan. This was an interesting revelation for me. So often people (me included) are terribly disappointed when cleaning a pan and a crack is discovered. I think that often such pans are discarded as worthless. This little experience proved, however, that pans with defects can have new life! You just have to think outside the box.


Cooking up the bacon bits in my Griswold Iron Mountain #5 cast iron skillet.

Shiitake shrooms in Linda’s Griswold small logo #8.

Tart before popping into the oven.

Yummy veggie and bacon tart with Gruyere cheese slivers.

The pan worked great for baking the tart. I roasted some Roma tomatoes, sautéed some shiitake ‘shrooms and asparagus, cooked up some bacon, made cream fraiche, added eggs and goat cheese and thyme, popped on some Kalamata olives, topped with Gruyere cheese slivers, and heated the whole thing up in the oven on a pastry.

Voila – it was fabulous!

I cooked up the remainder of the asparagus in a skillet, hit it with some seasoning salt and lemon zest, put a

Sautéing asparagus in a Griswold 8.

bit of parmesan shavings on top and … yum. That was my breakfast and a tasty start to the day.

Asparagus with lemon zest and parmesan.








Mike was the first to arrive. His job was to make a roast and Yorkshire pudding. He selected the fabulous Griswold No. 5 oval roaster & trivet for his roast, and it was a perfect fit for the 4-lb prime chuck roast he had selected. After working some magic and dredging and tying the roast, he popped it into the roaster along with some vegetables and secret spices. This was the first time I have seen a roast cooked on the stovetop.

Mike hard at work prepping the roast.

Ready for the stove top!

Mike sautéing onions prior to adding the roast.

Linda arrived next, with Sarah following shortly thereafter. Linda and I busied ourselves by changing wardrobes and posing in picturesque settings while holding my chicken pan (a request of the magazine for the article). Sarah took a lot of snaps of us and the pan. Linda and I then set out to collect a sampling of pans and bring them to a room with good natural lighting, so that Sarah could start photographing part of my collection.

The very talented Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb photography, assisted by Maisie.

In the meantime, Bonnie and Doug arrived. Doug’s job was fried chicken (in my faithful Iron Mountain  chicken pan, of course). Doug had prepared the chicken the previous evening. Bonnie was to make a vegetable side dish.

Doug’s prepped chicken.

Bonnie’s veggies ready for roasting (Griswold #12) and sautéing (Iron Mountain #5).

Bonnie got to work making a beautiful roasted vegetable dish in a Griswold #12 skillet. Bonnie roasted parsnips and turnips, carrots and onions and peppers and garlic, and dressed it all with capers, spices, lemon and oil, and fresh herbs from Mary M’s garden. The veggies roasted uncovered in the oven, and she sautéed the grape tomatoes in my trusty #5 Griswold Iron Mountain skillet.

Linda then started making a pineapple upside-down cake in her small logo grooved handle #8 Griswold skillet. The last time Linda made a pineapple upside-down cake was with her much-loved “Nana” when she was a child. It meant a lot to Linda to duplicate the experience that she had such fond memories of with her Nana.

Linda’s pineapple upside down cake, pre-batter.

I have some great shots of Linda’s face as she popped the cake out of the pan; a few of the pineapple rings didn’t easily separate from the pan and she was worried the recipe was a failure.

The pineapple upside down cake cooling.

It was not; it just required a little extra prying with a fork.

Oh no! Oh no!

And…how is it?

Added some maraschino cherries and it was a beautiful and tasty treat! In the photos, you see it pictured on my Mom’s cake stand; that stand was a wedding gift to my Mom and Dad in 1946.

Mary M. arrived a little late, after having had a few unplanned mishaps at the grocery store. She passed out fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary from her garden, and got right to work making some fabulous cranberry orange muffins.

Mary M hard at work making cranberry-orange muffins.

The recipe was from a Williams Sonoma cookbook. As Mary forgot the nuts, we decided that when we reprint the recipe, we can say it was “adapted from Williams Sonoma.” 🙂 Mary cooked the muffins in a Griswold #10 cast iron muffin mold. They were delicious!

Delicious and done!

Ready for the oven!

Cranberry orange muffin batter.












We couldn’t wait for the main dishes to be completed; we ate the muffins right as they came out of the oven.


Doug started frying the chicken in my favorite pan – my Griswold Iron Mountain chicken pan.

















I am a fan of fried chicken, but not an expert by any means. Doug told us that one of the secrets to good fried chicken is to not crowd the pieces as you are frying.

As Doug was frying the chicken, Mike removed the pot roast from the roaster and used an immersion blender to blend the vegetables and other magic ingredients into a gravy.

Working quickly, he then whipped together Yorkshire pudding in two Griswold No. 18 6141 cast iron muffin pans.

Yorkshire pudding.







We then sat down and had a feast. The roast was probably the best I have ever had, and the vegetables were a perfect healthy complement. The chicken was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, just as it should be. The pineapple upside down cake was to die for; Linda said it was almost as good as her Nana’s. I contributed two bottles of 2005 Turley Zinfandel; we all had purple teeth and filled tummies by the time we were done.

Games and merriment followed; a good time was had by all!