They were probably sitting on the back burner of the stove the day my parents brought me home from the hospital.
If the house caught on fire today, they would be two of the things I would try to save from their place at the rear of my own stove because I am insanely attached to my cast iron skillets!
The provenance of the skillets goes back to just after WWII, when my parents and then-toddler brothers were living in a tiny student house while my father finished his college degree on the GI Bill. The story goes that one day, my father’s cousin showed up, announced he and his recent bride were divorcing, and randomly offered the two cast iron skillets for sale. My mother thinks they paid him $1 apiece which made them valuable assets in those lean days.
When I was a child, my mother used the two skillets for everything from breakfast pancakes to fried bologna for lunch (don’t judge, it’s delicious) to her famous cornbread for dinner.
It’s the same cornbread I make today using my mother’s secret recipe…a box of Jiffy cornbread mix. I have been mixing boxes of Jiffy cornbread for a long time and baking the yellow batter in the same skillet. I have served it at formal dinner parties, in bulk to my son’s starving high school football teammates and my own family topped with everything from BBQ to greens.
One of my favorite childhood memories is sitting with my grandfather, Pop, and eating leftover cornbread crumbled in tall glass of milk for dessert. “Its bad luck to have leftover cornbread,” he would philosophize.
Don’t worry, with the right cast iron skillet, you never will.
Mamaw (and Jiffy) Cornbread In A Cast Iron Skillet
Preheat oven to 400
Place a small amount of vegetable (not olive) oil in your cast iron skillet and put it in the hot oven for 3-4 minutes
Mix the Jiffy cornbread box according to directions (all you need is one egg and a little milk, buttermilk works great too)
Remove hot skillet from oven, pour cornbread mix in and put back in oven to bake until golden.
When cornbread is done, cut in pie shape pieces