Kitchen Things (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013), by master photographer and respected novelist Richard Snodgrass, celebrates well-loved objects and recipes and showcases them in an unexpected way — a way that touches upon the science of food, the physics of cooking, the sensory pleasures of eating, and indeed the very nature of life itself. The following excerpt is found on page 226, “Griswold Skillet.”
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Griswold Cast Iron Skillet
Bill met the Legendary Chub when he was testing milk at the White Family Farm and she was home from college. Later, when he saw her at the Washington County Fair, he asked her to ride the Ferris Wheel, and a romance began in that swinging basket. Afterward, he would stop in to see her when she worked at The Shantee, the restaurant the family ran in conjunction with the farm, because it was a good way to get to know her, and flirt with her, without the local God-fearing church folk tucking her back into the folds of righteousness. Their prospects weren’t all that good, but they vowed to make a go of it. For a wedding present, they were given a calf, which seems quaint now, but at the time was quite a thing. It also sent a clear message as to which trail the Whites expected their new son-in-law to take. Accordingly, Bill and Chub settled in a small cement block home on the hill above the farm where they started their own family, living there in one room until they could afford to build a proper home over the hill. Not a farmhouse, mind you—Bill didn’t have the heart physically to be a farmer, but he kept close to farm life, among other things inseminating cows and raising Bluetick hounds—but close enough for the kids to take a walk down the lane to their grandparents’ house every day. Which is why Marty has mixed emotions to this day about the beauties and hardships of life on a farm. The day they returned from their honeymoon at Niagara Falls, Bill bundled Chub in their pickup truck and drove into Hickory to Alison Brothers Hardware, where she picked out their first kitchen thing: this square cast iron skillet. When Chub dug it out of the basement for me to photograph, she said proudly, “It’s a Griswold.” She also said it was great for making grilled cheese sandwiches, which was about all she knew how to cook when they started.
Reprinted with permission from Kitchen Things: An Album of Vintage Utensils and Farm-Kitchen Recipes by Richard Snodgrass and published by Skyhorse Publishing, 2013. Buy this book from our store: Kitchen Things.