**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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After the success of Round 1 of Waffle Testing, I was excited to get into Round 2, so without further ado, I’m going to quit my waffling and get into it!

The Batter

This batter was from well known chef Alton Brown and I found it on the Food Network, right here!  Like the last round, this recipe uses butter and not oil, but it also adds buttermilk, and mixes both whole wheat and all purpose flour.

Mix the dry ingredients first!

Once again, I made this first to give it time to sit, and once again, it came out really really thick.  Nevertheless, I let it sit, and moved onto heating my iron.

The Waffle Iron

For this round of testing, I used the super unique EC Simmons Keen Kutter Waffle Iron (No. 8).  It looks all innocent from the outside…

But once you open it up, you’ll know that your waffles will not look like all the other waffles out there!

There is no way I would have done waffle testing without using this waffle iron. It is just way too cool!

Let’s Cook!

With this pan, I did the identical  steps to the Griswold in Round 1.  I heated both sides for about 5 mins each on Medium – High, but it was immediately obvious that what worked the first time round wasn’t going to work in Round 2.  The pan was smoking!  The best time to put in the batter is when the pan is just beginning to smoke, but this was about to set off the smoke detectors. Clearly, the EC Simmons pan heats up faster than the Griswold.

I turned the pan down, and put in the batter.  It started cooking way to hard and fast, another indication of a too-hot pan. I took a picture as it was a clear example of what not to do!

A sign of a too hot pan

I reduced the cooking time down to 4 minutes, but I don’t think I reduced the heat enough for this (it was set at Medium), and the waffle ended up browner than I would have liked.

This pan not only heated up faster, but it produces a thinner waffle, so you’ll need to heat up on a lower temperature, and cook for less time to get a great waffle.

The taste, however, was fantastic!  Alton really hit the nail on the head with the flavor.  The waffle didn’t taste dense either, which I attribute to the thinner waffle size.

I tried adding some water too (a cup) and it became quite runny.  It impacted the cooking time (needing less) and it made the waffles almost too light to be able to cope with the toppings I had chosen for today (cottage cheese and blueberries).  In retrospect, Alton’s recipe was perfect the way it was written for this waffle iron.  When diluting batter, don’t do what I did and lump in a cup of water at a time, add it in 1/4 cup increments.  Learn from my mistakes!

Here’s a later waffle with the diluted batter.

And once again, nothing stuck to the paddles!  Clean up was going to be a breeze!

Lessons from Round 2

Use a really cool waffle iron, If your paddles are smoking like a chimney, they’re too hot.  Let them cool a little before pouring in the batter. You may need to play around with the heat time and temperature before you find the perfect setting, You may need to play around with the cooking time before you find the right time for your particular iron You’ll still need to flip the waffle iron to cook both sides of the waffle When diluting batter, add your water in increments and test. You may need to vary the density of your batter depending on your waffle toppings.


In Round 3, we’re making Chocolate Waffles, and they will be awesome!

Happy Cooking!


My first ever waffle!

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Waffles!

I’ve received quite a few questions recently about how to cook waffles in our irons, so I figured it was time for a blog that answers all the questions and lets you in on the secrets of making perfect waffles in a vintage waffle iron. I think that vintage waffle irons are some of the most unique and beautiful of the cast iron cookware. I love that they look nothing like waffle irons of today and I was excited that I could spend some time cooking with them!

First – a confession.  I have never made waffles in my life.  This wasn’t a matter of learning how to adapt normal waffles or waffle batter to the vintage iron, it was learning it all from scratch. Hopefully this will help me provide enough detail for all of you to be able to make your own vintage, but highly edible waffles!

Before we get into the equipment, it’s important to note that the conditions in your kitchen, such as temperature and humidity, will impact your results.  My kitchen was kept at 70’F with dry humidity, as being winter in Minnesota, I run our forced air heating 24/7.  I also cooked on a Viking gas range.

I used 3 different waffle irons for this testing, and 3 different batters!

Now for the fun part – the waffle testing!


My first batter was from allrecipes.com. It uses butter, not oil, and is rated 4.5 stars by nearly 2,000 people.  I figured it would be pretty good! You can find it here .

I made the batter first, as a lot of people recommend that your batter sits for 10 minutes or so.  It turned out pretty darn thick though, but for my first waffle, I was going to make it exactly as written!

Waffle Batter No. 1 (allrecipes.com)


Waffle Iron

My first waffle iron was this gorgeous Griswold American Waffle Iron No. 9, pictured below. The No. 9 is a bit larger than your average waffle iron, but this is a deliciously minty piece and I just couldn’t resist.  It has since sold (not surprising) but you can find all our waffle irons here.

Here it is sitting on my gas stove, ready for a busy day!

Let’s Cook!

So as with most cast iron cooking, the thing to always do is to heat your pan.  When it comes to waffle irons, this means both sides.  This is my biggest burner, and I had it set to somewhere between Medium and Medium-High. After about 4 – 5 mins I flipped the iron and heated the other side.  Another 4 – 5 mins later I sprayed Pam inside the paddles, and after another couple of minutes I poured in the batter.  As I suspected, it was way too thick. Batter had come over the sides, and I didn’t have a good feeling about this.

Next thing I did was turn down the heat!  I went to just between Medium-Low and Medium.  I let it cook for 4 – 5 mins on that side, then flipped it over and cooked it for another 5 mins.  I opened the iron, and I was amazed.  Perhaps a tiny bit dark, but it looked perfect!

It came perfectly out of the iron with no residue and was cooked perfectly all the way though.  The proof though, was in the eating, and it turned out to be too dense.  This waffle iron makes for thick waffles!

With a ton of batter left to test, I added water to the batter and tried another.  It was better!  I added again, until I’d put in about a cup or so, and it was perfect.  I also tried using melted butter instead of Pam in between waffles, but it tended to make the kitchen a bit smokey and I didn’t notice a difference in the taste.

Here’s our finished waffle, after we added water (and butter and maple syrup, of course)!

The biggest surprise was how good this waffle pan looked after a morning of waffle cooking.  All I did here was wipe off the dribbles of batter on the side. You can’t tell it had been used!  I had zero sticking issues.

No sticking!

Lessons from Round 1

Make your batter first so it can sit Heat your pan before cooking Always flip to heat both sides Turn down the heat once the batter is added If your waffle is too dense, dilute the batter with water. Always flip to cook both sides Don’t be surprised (like I was) if your waffles look awesome first go!

Stay tuned for Round 2.. a new waffle iron, and a new recipe!

Happy Cooking!



Hello Everybody!

As you may have heard, I’ve taken over The Pan Handler LLC from Mary, who is off on new adventures and will try very hard to be retired.

Now the initial flurry of activity from taking over is calming down a little, I wanted to introduce myself, and chat a bit about what’s going on with our pans!

First things first – like Mary, I live in Minnesota, though a different part of town. I’ve known Mary for about 9 years now, so The Pan Handler is an old friend. I’ve been fortunate enough to go on camping weekends with her when she brings her iron and does recipe testing on us, out over the open fire. She found me a wonderful, enormous griddle that we take camping. We use it for pancakes in the morning, and steaks and brats for dinner. We absolutely love it.

Although I’m originally Australian, I’ve been here for 11 years this year, and my husband Rob is from Wisconsin, so I’ve definitely settled in the Midwest. We have two fur children that we adopted last year, cats called Myst and Mango. One is black, and one is orange, so we call them our Halloween Cats. Both my husband and I love cooking, so you’ll be seeing recipe and pan testing from both of us.

Your big question might be – what’s going to happen to www.thepan-handler.com? There is nothing to worry about – we’re keeping this company just the way you love it, with gorgeous iron, lovingly cleaned and restored for future generations of Teflon-free cooking. I’ll be sharing recipes on Twitter and Facebook, of course, but also cooking, blogging and showcasing more of our products. Everybody LOVES cast iron skillets but there are so many other fabulous pieces that slip under the radar, and we want to make them shine.

I’ll also be unveiling a “Before and After” page, where you can see pictures of how bad some pans can really look when we purchase them, and the wonderful treasures that appear once we’ve cleaned and seasoned them. Some of the transformations are amazing!

Mary will be doing some guest blog posts, and is coming to some auctions and cast iron meets with me to help find some gorgeous pieces for you. We’ve got some camping trips coming up this summer with her, Linda and some other friends, and we’ll be taking our iron and trying out some more fun ideas for campfire cooking in cast iron.

We have a big stack of every type of cast iron cookware waiting to be cleaned, I’ve been secretly hunting it down since Mary and I started talking about this last year, and there’s a lot of inventory waiting to come online. Linda has a busy time ahead of her! The first few pieces are ready and will be listed this week, so keep an eye out as there will be a lot more coming over the next few months.

Finally, if you have a question about any of our products listed online, or if you think there’s something we can do better, don’t hesitate to let me know!

I’m really excited about this year, and bringing you beautiful cast iron for your homes and family.


Happy New Year!

Firstly, everybody here at The Pan Handler (Anna, Linda and Mary) all wish you a happy and healthy 2017!

Whilst everybody else is writing articles about how to de-clutter your house, get washboard abs or pay off your mortgage in record time, we have written our own Cast Iron Resolutions for 2017!  We think they’re a bit easier, and more fun than 100 sit ups every morning.

The Pan Handlers resolve the following…..

To never put a cast iron pan in an open fire To always heat the pan before adding any food To bake more! To always use a pan handler (yes, I have the burns to prove I don’t) To put a piece of paper towel on the pan before putting it away with other cookware To always clean it after use To find all the special pieces our customers have us looking for!  We have a list of things you want that we don’t have on the site, so we can keep an eye out when we go hunting for treasures. To go camping more, and we’re taking our cast iron.  Our pans travel! To experiment with all our different bread pans – French bread pans, bread stick pans, bread fingers, corn bread…. the possibilities are endless! To search further and wider than ever before to find the best cast iron cookware for y’all!

Do you have any cast iron resolutions?  Feel free to share them with us on our Facebook page!


What I have loved most about my tenure as The Pan Handler:

Our Customers! We have wonderful kind and friendly customers, and it has been my pleasure to work with you. To everyone who has purchased a piece from The Pan Handler LLC to date, thank you so much. We couldn’t have made it to where we are today without YOU. The People We’ve Met! Though this cast iron journey, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with so many people, and have made many new friends. Many, many long-time collectors of cast iron have helped me in my cast iron education along the way. I’ve been invited into the homes of people for a cup of coffee, and cast iron stories have been shared with joy. Special thanks to members of the Griswold & Cast Iron Cookware Association and the Wagner & Griswold Society for sharing their vast knowledge of cast iron. The forums of both groups have been a wonderful learning venue for me, and I truly appreciate the opportunity to learn from the long-time collectors in those two groups. I have especially enjoyed meeting and writing articles about our cast-iron-collecting friends Marg and Larry O’Neil of Tacoma, Washington and Harold R. Henry of Hamilton Missouri. And of course I need to give great thanks to our excellent friend Randy Young of Springfield. Randy has been our champion since day one!

Randy Young, Maisie, and Linda. Somewhere in Missouri.

Randy with Maisie at an auction in Ozark, MO.

With Maisie at a GCICA auction.

Linda, Randy Young, Mary

Our dear friend Randy Young.

Marg & Larry O’Neil, Scott Price & friend, Linda, and Randy at the GCICA convention in Maine, 2016.

Larry O’Neil discussing the characteristics of a pan with Josh Miller.

Larry O’Neil showing Linda and Maisie an old Griswold pattern.

Linda, Larry & Marg O’Neil, Josh Miller (editor of Taste of the South and Southern Cast Iron magazines), me and Miss Maisie the Maltese.

Josh Miller, holding a blue enameled Griswold no. 20 hotel skillet.

Working and traveling with Linda, The Pan Apprentice! Linda has been a great friend to me throughout my time as The Pan Handler. She has turned into pretty much the world’s best cast-iron cookware cleaner. Linda loves these old pieces of iron. She and I have had the opportunity to travel across the country in our pursuit of the finest of fine cast iron cookware. We have had such fun and made such wonderful memories.

Linda, The Pan Apprentice

Pan Apprentice Linda working on a waffle iron base with a small brush as it comes out of a vinegar and water solution.

Linda holding a Griswold #20 hotel skillet, me holding an ERIE spider skillet, and Maisie hanging on for dear life!

Linda popping an upside-down cake out of the skillet

With some new acquisitions, at the home of Randy Young in Springfield MO.

Maisie supervising Linda as she cleans.

Restoring neglected pieces of American history, and sending them off to new homes where they will be admired and used. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is, but there is something sublimely gratifying to me about acquiring an old piece of cast iron – especially those from the late 1800s to early 1900s – that may have decades of crud and carbon built up, perhaps some rust…it may have even been found buried in a farmyard, and cleaning it back to its original state. These old pans have beauty and worth, and I feel privileged to had the opportunity to restore these old pieces and to put them back into service.  Kind of like preserving American history…one pan at a time.  The opportunity to personally learn and grow. When I bought one pretty Griswold gem pan some years back, I had no idea where that little spark of interest would lead. I have always loved learning new things. In this journey not only have I learned how to clean and restore vintage cast iron cookware, I’ve learned the history of the cookware, how to identify, care for, and maintain the cookware, how to establish a business, how to properly pack pieces for shipment, how to create and run a website, and oh…so much more. I learn something new every day!

My version of heaven – at the O’Neil residence in Tacoma Washington surrounded by cast iron and ephemera.

The opportunities I’ve had to share my love of and passion for vintage cast iron cookware. Back in 2013, a writer reached out to me to talk about The Pan Handler LLC and vintage cast iron cookware. Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to spread the word through a variety of other media venues – both by writing and by interviews. Thank you to all who have given me that opportunity! I am excited to continue writing and blogging about vintage cast iron and cast iron people at vintagecast-iron.com, even as I step back from sales and the business end of The Pan Handler LLC.

First photo shoot. :)

Emergency photo shoot with Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb Photography. I recall it was over 90 degrees this day, and we ran outside from the air conditioning to take the shots and then ran right back inside.

The very talented Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb Photography hard at work.

The food we have cooked, and the fun we have had! Oh my, the food we have cooked in cast iron, and the fun we have had.

At the Trader’s Market with niece-in-law Beth, and Maisie.

Excellent friend Lori helping me haul an old barn door for use as a photo prop. Cart full of vintage cast iron just acquired at an antique spectacular.

Excellent friends Debra and Jerry with shepherd’s pies made in Griswold patty bowls.

John and Mary hard at work on a recipe for individual beef wellingtons made in a Griswold French roll pan.

Deconstructed apple pies made by Linda LU and Chris in Griswold Aebleskiver pans.

The cast of the cast iron cooking competition! Anna and Rob are at far right.


Doug making camp breakfast in his Griswold #20 hotel skillet.

Drizzling vinaigrette over roasted veggies.

Perhaps the best roast beef I’ve ever tasted. Made in a Griswold no. 5 oval roaster.

Darling grand-nieces Kylie and Lucy, cooking in their #5 cast iron pans!

Starting tomorrow – January 1, 2017 – Anna will take the helm as The Pan Handler, and I will step back into a consulting role. You will love Anna. She is smart as a whip, sassy as hell, and ever-so-enthusiastic and excited about the business. She loves these old pans just as much as I do, and I know she will continue the tradition of excellent customer service that we have established. I am very excited to see where she brings the business in coming years!

Anna and her husband, Rob.

Anna and Mary celebrating the transfer of The Pan Handler LLC.

Anna, Mary, Linda, and our friend Harold R. Henry of Hamilton, MO.

You’ll still see me around. I will continue blogging at vintagecast-iron.com, and I will consult and collaborate with Anna and The Pan Handler LLC. I just won’t be at the forefront of the business – Anna will be. So from me to you…thank you from the bottom of my heart, for all for the memories. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to have worked and shared with you all.

Best to you and yours in 2017! ~Mary (and Maisie)