I love cast iron.

I always have.

I think it’s a requirement for a girl with Southern roots.

I shed no tears over the diagnosis nor the learning curve required to survive.  I shed no tears over the bags of groceries that left my house, having been deemed poison.  I shed no tears over the grocery bill that first trip, nor the three hours it took me to gather the few ingredients that sat lonely in my rattly cart.  I took it all in stride, until I read that cast iron was virtually impossible to remove all traces of gluten from.  Suddenly, there were tears.  Cast iron is best aged and worn.  It’s meant to have a lifetime of stories attached.  The batches of fried chicken and chicken fried steak shared with friends should flood the memory banks when that pans weight is felt in your hand.  The cornbread baked to a golden brown perfection for the dressing at Thanksgiving should make you long for fall to arrive as you pull the pan from the cupboard.  Cast iron, it’s a sacred thing.

“I can’t lose the cast iron” I sobbed to Sweet One on the phone.  “Well get you a new one”, he assured me.  “NO, it has to be THIS ONE” I asserted with all the vehemence of an angry toddler.  “You’ll find a way.  You always do”, he replied.

It took me nearly a week of scouring the internet.  It took search after search before I found it, buried in a post about cleaning grill grates.  The protein that triggers the reactions breaks down at 600 degrees.  Self-cleaning cycles on ovens heat to 900 degrees.  Problem solved.

I might should have thought about the pie that had overflowed in the bottom of the oven before I tossed the skillet in with a prayer.  It might have saved me from the smoke alarms ringing out their warning at nearly midnight.  It might have saved me from the eyes rimmed in red from the smoke that filled the house.  It might have saved my pup from the panic attack those alarms sent him into.

It didn’t matter in the end though, my pan was safe.  A southern rooted girl needs her cast iron.