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The cooking lesson

  • Posted on June 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

Well, I did it. Jody Worsham ( no longer holds the title of World’s Worst Cook. She earned that title when she cooked a chicken with wine recipe that Wanda Argersinger ( taught her. Somehow the chicken turned purple. My dish was edible but I killed the pan.

This is what happened. I bought a brand new, shiny stainless steel skillet from the Calphelon store at Williamsburg Premium Outlets. (I know TMI, but I’m trying to make as many connections as I can.) I carefully read the instructions: wash first, moderate heat and wash again after pan cools. Okay, got it.

I sautéed some green beans and they were delicious. Upon washing the pan
I noticed a huge light brown scorch on the bottom. Apparently, there had been some grease on the burner. After scrubbing for two hours the bottom was finally clean, but my arm felt like I’d tried out for the Milwaukee Brewers or (insert your favorite team here).

The next day I made hash browns and eggs. This time I had a small light-brown scorch spot inside the skillet. Trying to avoid an additional two hours of scrubbing I turned to the time-tested method of cleaning burnt pots and pans. “If it gets cooked on, it can be cooked off.”

I filled the skillet with water, added a small squirt of Dawn and put it on medium-high heat. While waiting for the skillet to clean itself, I sat down to read The Daily Press, our local newspaper, and promptly fell asleep.

Sometime later the Fire Safety Angel awakened me. I ran to the kitchen in time to see a crusty skillet, just beginning to smoke. I quickly turned off the heat and moved the skillet. When it cooled I drew a sink full of hot sudsy water and let it soak a while.

Upon returning to this depressing project I found that the light-brown scorch had turned into a big black burn, which I scrubbed as long as my pathetic muscle development held up. Now the skillet had black splotches all over the bottom and a few brown ones on the sides.

The good news is that I didn’t kill the skillet. It still does a good job of cooking food – if I watch it carefully. It just looks really ugly.

How I could have nearly killed my new skillet was a mystery until I thought back to my childhood. When I was in elementary school my parents purchased a beautiful set of copper-bottom stainless steel cookware. My mom was still using that cookware when she passed at age 82. But – – I don’t recall ever seeing a stainless-steel skillet. One or more must have come with the set. What happened to them?

I’ve developed a theory that Mom killed her stainless skillets and disposed of them while I was at school. That’s the only scenario that makes sense. It means that my incident was not an isolated one.

Killing skillets is genetic!

© by Sharon D. Dillon, June 9, 2012