Why Black Is Green – Another Great Lesson From South Louisiana Cooks
If you have never gotten one from your Grandmother you either didn't grow up in South Louisiana, your Grandmother didn't like you or you aren't a very good cook. I am speaking of a black iron pan.
For centuries the tried and true recipes and flavors of South Louisiana and the Cajun and Creole cultures have mixed and mingled in the black iron pot.
Who knew while we were creating all of these delicious treats we were also using one of if not the most eco-friendly cooking pot known to man. Why is this vaunted cookware that is passed down from generation to generation like a family heirloom considered to be so green?
When seasoned properly a black iron skillet is naturally non-stick. That means you can make a delicious cornbread, scrambled eggs, roux or stew and never use a non-stick spray. Not using the non-stick sprays helps reduce the amount bad stuff in the air. It also removes the need to use harsh and toxic chemicals to create the substances that make the non-stick surfaces in today's fancy fry pans.
The black iron pot is also easy to clean. All you need is good hot water and stiff brush and you're good to go for the next time around. There is no need for harsh detergents and soaps. In fact one of the worse arguments my wife and I ever got into started because she put on of my black iron skillets in the dishwasher. She grew up in the city what can I say?
Black iron pots and pans also distribute heat very efficiently making the need for higher cooking temperatures and the need to burn more energy to get those higher temperatures unnecessary. Another good thing about the black iron pot of your Grandmother is the fact they never seem to break or need to be thrown out. Even an old and rusted skillet can be reconditioned and seasoned to be good as new. Or good as old might be the proper choice of words.
There is one other health benefit that I wasn't aware of until I saw this article on the Live Green website. When you cook with cast iron, a little bit of the iron leeches into the food that you cook. That iron then gets into your body and iron is one of the important things our body needs.
We all knew our elders were smart and good cooks, we just didn't know they were the first environmentally friendly cooks on the planet, at least we didn't know that until now.