it's always the season for cast iron cooking

There are those who love cooking in cast iron, and those who don’t. Personally, I think a lot of the people who don’t like cast iron are those who just don’t understand it very well. Cast iron comes with its own rules. Don’t wash it in water. It needs to be seasoned, and sometimes stripped and reseasoned. It can be heavy and awkward and difficult to use. But cooking in cast iron has a lot of positives too.

Cast iron holds heat well and distributes it evenly. It can be used on a stovetop, in the oven, on a grill, or on an open flame. It lasts forever. It’s fairly inexpensive, especially compared to other pans that can last a lifetime. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, and they’re not all as heavy as they look. And as far as all those crazy rules, all you need is the right guidebook to help you find your way. Not Your Mother’s Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook is that guide.

Lucy Vaserfirer is a big fan of cast iron, and her down-to-earth writing helps you put all your concerns about cast iron aside. She goes into detail about what to buy and how to care for it, and she names names. She tells you what to use to clean it, what tools work best with it, how to store it, and how to use it to cook just about everything (her one exception: bacon; she bakes it). Basically, she breaks it all down and makes it accessible as she shares her passion for cooking with cast iron.

And the recipes! She includes over 150 recipes for everything from breakfast to dessert, including starters, snacks, mains, sides, sweets, and even sauces. You can start off with a Fluffy Omelet or Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, move on to Falafel with Lemon-Yogurt Dipping Sauce and Potato Latkes, to Beer-Battered Fish and Pork Carnitas, to finish with Funnel Cakes or a Pear Tarte Tatin. And that barely begins to cover the breadth of recipes here. Basically, Not Your Mother’s Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook is worth its weight in gold. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to get more out of their cast iron!

Galleys for Not Your Mother’s Cast Iron Skillet Cooking were provided by Quarto Publishing Group through NetGalley, with many thanks.