Another Tool Tale – kitchen division


Daffodils are close to the peak, we’re now enjoying daily  bouquets. Small bouquets, it must be admitted, because I hate to cut any no matter how many there are, but still


it must be time to

Plant the second round of lettuce.

Find the bags of summer clothing. 

Wish Wordsworth had kept his mouth shut, and

issue another Neat Old Tool Alert.

Yard sale season is upon us, and although they’re not common any more, there’s still a chance you’ll run into one of these  pieces of

antique ironing equipment

antique ironing equipment

Though it probably won’t say right on it what it was made for –

In the 19th century, one meaning of “sad” was heavy; sad irons were the solid iron irons used to remove wrinkles from just about everything made out of cloth.

These early irons came in a huge number of shapes and sizes, but they had two things in common: a flat bottom, for obvious reasons, and the need to be heated in some way that would not deposit soot on the business end.

The heaters were as various as the irons, but this kind of almost-griddle was fairly common. Most came with their own little stoves, though you could put them on your kitchen range if you felt like it, and the size of the surface allowed you to heat 2 irons at a time, so there was always a hot one ready when the one you were using began to cool.

A minor convenience, but every little bit counts when you have to iron everything and use a sad iron to do it.

What’s convenient these days is a large (@ 18 x 6 inch) super-heavy, super-shallow ( 1 inch deep) pan that’s pretty enough to bring to the table. Its griddlehood is obvious; the oval shape fits nicely over 2 burners no matter what’s fueling them. And it’s a great space saver in the oven.  leslie-land-potato-cake-in-iron-pan

This potato cake baked between the oven door and the chicken roasting pan.

Because it’s black and heavy it puts a terrific crust on things. Also because it’s black and heavy it calls for a slightly cooler oven – pretend it’s pyrex and lower the heat @ 25 degrees.

Unless you’re making pizza, of course, when that heat holding mass just helps de-wimpify the common kitchen stove.

Update (of sorts): The art of cooking in cast iron has been extensively, expertly explained here – on the blog of the French Culinary Institute, a link I found at Next Avenue, my new blogging neighborhood. My posts for the site are about gardening and can be found in the Living and Learning section, under (what else?) Home and Garden.


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