Cast Iron memories & the nest empties

My oldest son moved out this weekend. A few friends told me I should be use to him not being around. He left home to live with his new band of brothers , the USMC, two short months after he turned 18. He lived on base states away and deployed. He at one point told me he was never moving back to Connecticut, he loved the south to much. I ate my way through those times. I cried a lot too.   Things happen and life tosses curve balls and after 4 years he was loading up a car and heading back to our home. Two and half years later, he’s nearly done with a good chunk of college, has an amazing girlfriend, a great job and just found an amazing deal of a home to rent with for mentioned girlfriend. So off he goes to start his life. I am happy as can be but I admit, I am a little sad but it gives me a chance to pass things on.

Both my daughters have moved out. Of course being women of our blood line, it was with the historical drama that comes with being women with broken history of female relationships.  I am convinced the pattern of this is actually years of karmic baggage. I use to think it was a curse. I see it is just a right of passage in our family.  The short of it,  there was screaming, and tears. More on my end.

For both I packed up what I had extra around the house and sent them into the world with a few things. Purchased what I could for them. Looking back I see it is always for the kitchen. I firmly believe the kitchen is the heart of the home. Growing up my mom rarely cooked but when she did, it felt like home.  Maybe it is me, memories of all of my family are around food. Not a bad thing. Some of the food was not the best but the memories crack me up. My mom burning fish sticks and putting the burnt side down, as if I wouldn’t see them. Me, hiding them in a napkin and later tossing them out the bedroom window. Plants grew well under that window. Places my dad and I always ate when I came to visit. My paternal grandmother’s cooking that still is hands down the best I ever ate. Her jars of strawberry jam looking like jewels as they cooled on the counter. The first dish my husband ever cooked for me that made me think “this one is a keeper”. Teaching my kids to cook so they could learn math, history, and geography.

My son, who if you ask me, loves to cook just as much as he loves to eat, and also has a girlfriend who cooks amazingly well. I sat listening to him at dinner one night and decided the right thing to send off with him was my 20+ year old cast iron Dutch oven.

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My Dutch oven has been my favorite kitchen tool. I’ve cooked many a gumbo, stew, and chili in it. I’ve braised oxtail and cooked chickens in it. I’ve deep fried and baked in it.   We took it on camping trips when the kids were small where it cooked up “mountain breakfast” and even baked a cobbler over an open campfire. We have even used it over in our firepit in the backyard (that this son built for us) when we have lost power due to a hurricane.

I have a lot of memories and happy thoughts when I look as this hunk of black cast iron. I see silly faces of little kids waiting for dinner. Teaching the how to care for cast iron and the crazy looks of “don’t use soap mom?”

I hope this old but well loved and cared for Dutch oven will give my son many more memories and years of service as it has me.  I also hope that maybe as he cooks with it, he will remember some of the dishes I cooked and he and his siblings helped me with. Maybe it and him have many adventures together.

 

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