Of Iron Grandmas, Men & Iron (Skillets)

You know what gets Da-da hot? Like you care, but he'll tell you. It's someone's (anyone's) 85YO Sicilian grandma, with a lifetime's worth of incredible recipes and REALLY THICK WRISTS, so she can make pasta and knead bread and strangle Nazi generals for hours and never get tired. One who can keep you in line, buster, while jollying 15 young children into doing her bidding -- cheerfully, with love and aplomb -- and make a 12-course dinner from nothing but flour and a few inedible plants. THIS is a Supreme Being. And, as such, this is what Da-da dreams of: giving in to women who outrank him. Like his grandmas. And his mom. And his wife, yes dear. And because, let's face it, women are better at child-rearing than men. Most of them, anyway. And OLD SICILIAN GRANDMAS will kick everyones' ass all day every day. Jeez, there's a reason why the Nazis lost Sicily. Where was Da-da going with this?

Oh. One thing DREAM GRANDMAS used was... iron. Another reason for those thick wrists. She cooked with iron skillets, baby. Not wimpy copper core, stainless steel, teflon-coated, bad-for-the-environment blow-dried-show-dog marthastewartware (even though Martha Stewart is probably one mean-ass grandma). No, said senescent matriarchs used old fashioned iron skillets that you had to season yourself, not just unwrap from Sur la Table. And since it's unlikely that Da-da will bump into an elderly octogenarian matron fresh off the boat in his neck of the woods, he'll have to serve as his own Iron Grandma, which is admittedly a little weird, but the wig looks fabulous on Da-da.

Anyway, Da-da had been cooking with iron skillets for a long time, but after seeing a really big 20" monster pan in action at a friend's house, Da-da had to get his own. Here it is, unseasoned (next to his old 14" pan):

Aaaaaa -- and here it is three hours later after three seasoning passes:

This might not seem all that exciting (unless you're queer for kitchen equipment), but check out the iron levels in food, before and after cooking in an iron skillet:

"Researchers found that cooking in an iron skillet greatly increases the iron content of many foods. Acidic foods that have a higher moisture content, such as applesauce and spaghetti sauce, absorbed the most iron. As a matter of fact, the big winners in the foods tested were these two items. For 100 grams of each (about 3 oz.), the applesauce increased in iron content from 0.35 mg. to 7.3 mg., and the spaghetti sauce jumped from 0.6 mg. to 5.7 mg. of iron.

Food cooked for longer periods of time absorbed more iron than food that was heated more quickly. They also found foods prepared with a newer iron skillet absorbed more iron than those cooked in an older one. Foods that were cooked and stirred more frequently absorbed a greater amount of iron as well, probably because they came into contact with the iron more often. Hamburger, corn tortillas, cornbread, and liver with onions didn't absorb as much iron. This was probably due to the shorter cooking times, and the fact that they were either turned once or not at all, resulting in less contact with the iron.

Here are the changes the researchers found. Foods cooked at home may vary in iron absorption based on the age of the skillet used and the amount of time the foods are heated. This list can give you a general idea of the difference in dietary iron content cooking in an iron skillet can provide.

Foods tested (100 g./3 oz.). Iron content, raw, and Iron content after cooking in an iron skillet.

Applesauce, unsweetened - 0.35 mg./7.38 mg.

Spaghetti sauce - 0.61/5.77

Chili with meat and beans - 0.96/6.27

Medium white sauce - 0.22/3.30

Scrambled egg - 1.49/4.76

Spaghetti sauce with meat - 0.71/3.58

Beef vegetable stew - 0.66/3.4

So, if you're looking to increase your dietary iron, use a new cast iron skillet. After all, the iron in cookware is no different from the iron in our bodies — except we have much smaller amounts!"
Of course, this is nothing new. But since Da-da's last few posts were merely entertaining and overly autobiographical, he thought he'd throw in something that was actually useful -- like jacking up the iron in apple sauce. Yes, NUTRITION gets Da-da hot, too, but then again, he does own an accordion. In closing, here are some other tough-ass grandmas you need to make your life complete:

Don't mess with grandma, timmy.


Bobbi Kamil said...

Have we told you recently that we think you are a nut? But then again, I guess you are our nut!

A Man Called... Dada (duh) said...

of course you think i'm a nut. you're both SANE... though you're *never* at the meetings. hmm.

CraigM said...

I now totally have iron skillet envy. Time to get an early start on the Xmas list.

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