Iron Skillet Love,”Patina”, and Emotional Connection

A few years ago we discovered the charm of cooking in an iron skillet, and I wanted to share the following photo of the after-effects of last night’s filet mignon — saut√©ed garlic and onions left behind.

Iron Skillet after Filet

I love the concept of “seasoning” an iron skillet — the idea that after cleaning it, one should dry it (using heat), and then spray it with an oil (we use olive oil). This of course makes the pan one’s own, which is an almost romantic notion if you love cooking.

This reminds me of the concept of “patina” in the vintage watch world. Over the course of decades, a watch dial will often change color, as can be seen in this comparison of a new Rolex GMT versus an older version.

Rolex GMT with patina vs new

The dial on the right has a brown tint, which watch obsessives refer to as “tropical” (as in “tropical dial”) and this feature actually increases the perceived value of the watch for many enthusiasts.

The mark of time certainly has an effect on the human psyche, especially when the object reflects in physical ways its interaction with the person (such as our iron skillet), and seems to facilitate an emotional attachment.

In recent years, some watch makers have chosen bronze as a metal for the express purpose of allowing a patina to develop in a much shorter time (months versus decades).

Here is a nice shot of Oris watches with some patina on the bronze case on the left.

Oris Bronze


Discovering Sauerkraut

I have never eaten sauerkraut and have actively pushed it off my plate in any restaurant.

Recently my wife got hooked on the Trader Joe’s brand and offered some to me for medicinal purposes (a good end-run) and I tried it, and liked it (it tasted so “healthy” as I crunched through it).

She then upped the ante and decided to make some on her own, and the chemistry behind sauerkraut is a lot of fun, as it turns out.

Apparently all you do is chop up some cabbage, add salt, and then wait a few days for the chemical transformation to work its magic. The salted cabbage plus the weight of a smaller jar causes a release of liquid that begins to expand upwards.

Her latest batch has red cabbage and you can see its intense color making itself known as time passes…

Sauerkraut Creation

You can also see the bubbles in the picture on the right — the process becomes quite animated, with active bubbling after a few days.

Good times.

Truffle Love

My wife signed us up for “membership” in a truffle farm in France, which entitles us to fresh truffles each year and a part of the farm that is “ours” (such marketing….), and upon receiving our first shipment we wasted no time in preparing a fresh pasta and cream sauce.

Truffle love

It felt quite decadent to shave the truffle as seen in the photo above, and it was very enjoyable of course.

I’ll say that one of the best meals of our lives took place in Italy, and the method of shaving was quite different: the truffle was grated into very small pieces, as if it were parmesan cheese, and I’d say that the effect was superior.

Regarding the pasta we made at home, the photo affirms that we succeeded in getting the sauce to cling rather well to the noodles, and I’ll count this among life’s small yet grand pleasures.

Mt Pleasant

We explored Mount Pleasant, South Carolina recently and it’s quite the booming town in the last ten years. ¬†Charleston’s many restaurants feature live music almost every night of the week, which is a great salvation versus the Northeast, where you’ll travel a lot of miles before you stumble on a decent jazz or blues group.

Mt Pleasant SC

Cappuccino love

My coffee love came late in life — never bothered with it until I was in my 40s (looking back, I can’t believe this). I remember my honeymoon in Italy years ago, when my wife would have a cappuccino every morning while I had…ice water. What tha….

But I caught on, and at this point, I crave it just a bit too much I think, and have an embarrassingly passionate reaction to certain cups of cappuccino while traveling in Europe (this excess seems to happen overseas more than here in the USA).

Here is one of my shots: