**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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2012 marks my first year selling cast iron as more than just a little “hobby.” This is my first December shopping season.

Wow. What a December it has been. For those of you who have bought from me – here, on eBay or Etsy, thank you so much for your business. I haven’t had time to count, but I think I have sold more pieces in the past 30 days than I have sold in all of 2012. It has been crazy! I haven’t been able to keep up with cleaning/seasoning and listing pieces, because I’ve been busy keeping up with the orders.

I know there has been a resurgence of cast iron cooking. I don’t need to preach to the choir on that point. The LA Times recently posted several articles about some of the the benefits of cast iron cooking. The articles were picked up by other newspapers across the country. According to the Times, “One of the hottest items on cooks’ holiday lists this year is one of the oldest types of cookware around: cast iron.” The article went on to talk about the many benefits of cast iron cooking.

I don’t know if it was the article that created this rush of orders, but I do know that next year I will be sure to have a jillion #8 skillets ready to go and people in place to help me with packing and shipping! I’ve basically been working two full-time jobs this month – my “real” job and The Pan Handler work. The Pan Handler is a labor of love for me and I enjoy it immensely, but…holy moley what a crazy busy month it has been!

To those of you who have bought pieces from me this month and this year, thank you so much for your business. It has been quite a journey for me. I value your business, and I hope that you love and enjoy your pieces and that they give you a lifetime of use.

To the cast iron collectors and experts who offered advice, encouragement, and education, thank you. The learning curve has been huge, and you’ve been very generous with your knowledge, experience, and advice. I have learned so much from you this year. In particular, thank you to the Wagner and Griswold Society members.  The WAGS member forum has been invaluable to me as I’ve delved into the world of cast iron cookware.

To my dear boyfriend Chris, thank you so much for your help with shipping. Chris went to FedEx and/or the post office just about every weekday this month to drop orders. Thank you. I appreciate you and I’ve told Santa about all of your help this month. 🙂

For me, it’s now time to slow down for a few treasured days of rest and holiday time with my family. I hope that you also have a chance to relax, reflect, and enjoy the season and your loved ones. And, of course, to do some cast iron cooking!

Peace, love, happiness and health to each and every one of you. Happy holidays!

Mary

 

 

 

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I was recently cast iron hunting and picked up a few pans. As is often the case, the woman from whom I purchased the pans had a conversation with me about cast iron cooking. She told me that she had recently heard on the “Dr. Oz” show that cast iron cooking was an easy way to add iron to your diet. I knew about some of the health benefits of cooking with cast iron cookware, of course, but hadn’t heard anything from Dr. Oz. I haven’t seen his show and don’t know much about him (okay, I don’t know anything about Dr. Oz…), but I did some googling to find the information provided to me.

Wow, what a lot of information came up!

Dr. Oz’s website recently posted an article addressing fatigue and iron deficiency. According to Dr. Oz, there are 5 particular signs of fatigue caused by iron deficiency:

1. Feeling fatigued for over a month;

2. Always feeling cold;

3. Particularly pale skin;

4. Inability to focus; and/or

5. Substantial hair loss and brittle or “spooned” nails.

To address fatigue caused by iron deficiency, Dr. Oz recommends sautéing vegetables and other foods, and simmering tomato-based sauces, in cast iron. Experts state that people who regularly cook in cast iron are rarely iron-deficient. Dr. Oz’s article states “Acidic foods with high moisture content, such as tomato sauce, will absorb the most iron from these cooking pans. In one study, the iron content in spaghetti sauce tripled after it had been simmered in a cast iron pot. Sauté vegetables and other foods this way as often as you can to rev up iron intake.” It also suggests restricting coffee and tea intake for three hours before an iron-rich meal, to assist with iron absorption.

I am a big fan of chicken pans. I use the term “chicken pan” loosely; to me, a “chicken pan” is just about any skillet that is extra deep. Some extra-deep skillets are specifically referred to as fryers or chicken pans; some are not. In any event, my Iron Mountain (made by Griswold) chicken pan is my most-used cast iron pan. From my perspective, a chicken pan can often be used instead of a dutch oven. They are a great versatile depth; perfect for sauces. I also like it because it goes from range to oven – I recently gave pan-seared steaks a try, and the chicken pan worked wonderfully! When I make a big batch of spaghetti sauce, it’s my chicken pan that does the duty. It’s a bonus to know that my use of cast iron cookware is providing  healthy benefits to me and my family!

 

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I made the 9-hour trek last weekend to St. Louis to attend a cast iron auction. Given the drive time, it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, but it was quite something to see. Over 600 pieces of cast iron were auctioned off.

The sale was from the estate of an avid collector. Apparently this auction was #2 of 3 auctions to sell his collection. I have never seen this much cast iron in once place before. It was amazing. I have posted some photos below.

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I picked up some long and round griddles, Martin Griswold and Wagner skillets, a few waffle irons (I have an abundance of waffle irons right now), some covers, and a few other pieces. A pic of most of my bounty is posted below. Most are in very good condition; just need some cleaning and re-seasoning, and they’ll be ready to go. Now I just need to clean those other few hundred pieces I have waiting around here… 🙂

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Oh. My. Goodness. I made a chocolate chip cookie in my Griswold slant logo 8 with heat ring tonight, and it was fabulous. My boyfriend said it was the best cookie he ever had, with tons of “gooey goodness.”

Here’s how:

1.5 sticks melted butter, cooled and combined with 1/2 c. white sugar 3/4 c. brown sugar 1-1/4 t salt 2 t vanilla

Mix together. Add

1 egg and 1 egg yolk

Mix until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together

1-3/4 c flour 1/2 t baking soda

Add flour to butter/sugar mix. Mix just until combined. Stir in

2 c (yes that’s right, 2 c!) semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spray Pam into your cast iron pan (I used a size 8 pan – a 9 or 10 would also work just fine) and spoon the dough into the pan. Spread it out and pat it down gently. Stick your cast iron pan in a preheated 350-degree oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cookie is lightly browned around the edge. I found that with my #8 pan, I needed to cook it longer than the 20 minutes, so watch it carefully.

Eat and enjoy!

 

 

Hi. Welcome to my brand-new website! I built the site as a means to sell beautiful vintage cast iron cookware.  In addition to this site, I sell on eBay and Etsy. On those sites I’m also known as seller tarapup (after my beloved Wheaten Terrier, Tara). Here and on Facebook I’m known as The Pan Handler.

The cast iron bug bit me hard in 2011. It began innocently enough, when I found a cool old cast iron muffin pan and began doing a little research to learn about it. That little muffin pan led to a lot of research and self-education, and a LOT of cast iron hunting and buying. I learned about the various manufacturers, the different kinds of pieces and markings, and how to clean and care for cast iron. I joined several forums and groups that focus on vintage cast iron kitchenware.

One thing I’ve learned is that I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m constantly gathering information and knowledge from the web, reference materials, and from other cast iron aficionados and collectors. Many long-time vintage cast iron collectors have been a great resource for me, and I am very thankful for their help and assistance.

My work with vintage cast iron cookware is a labor of love. It gives me great pleasure to take a sorely neglected or crusted rusted piece and restore it to its original beauty. My pans are painstakingly cleaned and carefully seasoned. They are ready for use or display. With proper care, they will provide a lifetime of use. When you buy a piece from me, you’re buying a piece of history.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your business, and hope to have the opportunity to provide you with a wonderful piece that you will enjoy and put to good use for many years to come.