Friday, February 4, 2011

Margaritas and Cast Iron

I had a conversation with my grandpa over the phone yesterday--this would be, the grandpa on my mom's side. He told me that he likely still has some cast iron skillets somewhere, two of which were made by his dad. Grandpa said that if he can find them, I am welcome to have them. Can you imagine? Cast iron made by my great grandpa.


Until two and a half years ago, I wasn't able to cook anything at all. My greatest achievement in the kitchen was a kick ass margarita, which actually, I would love to share the recipe for. I'm putting it below.

A few years ago, my family moved across the country and for a slew of reasons that had to do with new schedules and driving time and homework and evening commutes, I became the family cook. The Other Adult in the family is probably still much better at cooking, but I've learned a trick or two and I can hold my own.

Until that time, I thought I was a dim-wit in the kitchen, so discovering that I could prepare meals that real people would eat (and survive) was a bit of a shock. More surprising was that I liked doing it.

In fact, I want to cook all the time. And I want to talk to people about recipes, try new recipes and share my favorite recipes.

Then a few months ago I realized I'm obsessed with making bread, and that's a whole other thing.

I believe my deep interest in cast iron may be related to my reasons for enjoying cooking in the first place. Cooking is an activity that all people have done, for a very long, long time. I'm trying to find words that are less cliche than "time honored tradition", but I'm having a hard time of it. It's just that, cooking is a basic human experience. And It's an honorable thing to do. I feel like making my own food is a...privilege. A human privilege. Like drinking beer. No other animal gets to do what we do. And when I cook, I'm standing in the footsteps of many people who have cooked before me. I'm using their recipes. It's awesome.

And cast iron is what my ancestors used, yes? Teflon wasn't invented until like...the 80's? And cast iron lasts forever, and someday I can pass my cast iron down. Maybe someday my kid will own a cast iron skillet hand made, by my great grandpa, her great great grandpa. Woah.

Blended Margarita

  • 1/2-3/4 canister of frozen limeade
  • 1/2 C triplesec (the original recipe called for Grand Marnier, which I can't afford)
  • 1/2 C tequila (Jose Cuervo--as my dad says, life is too short to drink bad tequila)
  • 1/3 bottle of cheap beer (Bud Light works well--nothing with distinct or overwhelming flavor)
  • juice from a lime or lemon
  • salt to taste. start with a little, add more as needed. The salt takes the bite out of the margarita. It doesn't take much, but makes all the difference. Add salt until the bold citrus flavor has been replaced by a flavor that is mellow and smooth.
Combine ingredients in a blender, all but the salt, fill with ice and blend until smooth. Add salt last, a few shakes at a time, until it tastes right.

I used to consider these margaritas my specialty. Now, I consider failing at making sourdough my real specialty... I'm very good at it.

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