My aunt is from the South. Yeah, capital “S” south, that South, not quite Bible-belt country but close enough. Since I’ve known her as Auntie Dianna from the time I was seven, it doesn’t seem weird to me that she’s this blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman originally from Corpus Christi. The story of how my Philippine-born uncle and her fell in love is probably too long and not food related enough for this blog; however, I will quote their son/my cousin by saying: The South and the Philippines have way more in common than you’d think.
Namely, if y’all must know, they both likes their food fried. So bring it on because the oil is hot and ready!
That said, it’s been long that my Auntie D has praised the wonders of cast iron. Tonight, at a writers’ group meeting, I fried up a batch of lumpia (that post coming soon, I swear!) in a friend’s cast iron skillet, and My Lawd, I do declare, but I’ve never seen these fry up so perfectly golden, nevah evah!
How long have I been frying food and never done so in cast iron? It’s almost shameful, when I think of it: flashes of fried chicken sizzling in their floury skins suddenly bring it all back. Whose fried chicken? I don’t know. I keep thinking of that scene in Ray when Jamie Foxx is cooking a batch of it in the dark. Auntie Dianna knew, my friend Rose knew, Ray Charles knew!
Geez, if a blind man can trust frying to cast iron, surely I can, too.
Then, Rose and hostess of the meeting, being a seasoned cook as well as foodie, said she had two skillets the same size. My delight at the fabulously fried lumpia so apparent, she said, “Go ahead and take one of those pans home with you.” This one? Home? It’s fantastic! It’s perfect! It weighs 20 lbs!
And so here it is: my new frying pan. I can see why angry wives threw these, bet this 10-inch pan sure could pack a wallop. Maybe I’ll even keep it by the back door next to the baseball bat (our “security system”); in the meantime, baby, I’m ready to fry (or bake). A batch of chicken or lumpia or cornbread wants this skillet. This skillet dreams of them.