Ann Kroeker wrote about cast iron skillets for Food on Fridays. In the spirit of recycling good old sturdy things, I’ll add my skillet to hers with this piece from a while ago.
I never met Cora Chacey, but I know two things about her: she liked to make sweet things, and she gave credit where it was due.
The evidence comes from recipes found in her green metal index card box:
Date Nut Roll Candy (Mother’s)
Pink Lemonade Pie
“Smacking” Angel Cake — Blytheville
Lemon Supreme Cake
Sandwich Cookies — Eliz. Guthridge
Virginia’s Apple Pie
Mother’s Orange-Raisin Cake
Fluffy Brandied Mincemeat Pie
Uncooked Fruit Cake — Annie Mae Griffin
Christmas Rainbow Poke Cake
Apple Skillet Cake
Fruit Bars — Gene Smith
Chocolate Covered Raisin Cake
Blue Berry Pie
Jane’s Favorite Apple Crisp
Virginia’s Pecan Pie
Jan’s Fresh Apple Cake
There are also vegetable dishes (Spinach Casserole and Crooked Neck Squash Casserole, both attributed to Jane Keeney) and a single entree (Stir Fry Chicken — Ella Mae). But the majority of these recipes — whether in her printed handwriting on a “Here’s what’s cookin’” recipe card; typed on a manual typewriter; cut from a magazine or newspaper; or, in the case of Jan’s Fresh Apple Cake, typed on the back of a workplace’s Absentee Report form — are for desserts and candies, things you’d make for holidays, or when company’s coming, or to take to a potluck.
I came by Cora Chacey’s recipe box while looking in a thrift store for a cast iron skillet. There were no such skillets on the shelves of pots and pans, but there the green metal box sat, incongruously, probably the closest place the Savers workers could find for it when they sorted the donated items.
At Savers, price tags have colored strips, and each day, items tagged a certain color are half price. It was yellow tag day, and on the bottom of Cora Chacey’s recipe box was a yellow price tag for $2.99. For $1.50 plus tax, the box was mine.
I had wanted a cast iron skillet for a while, partly because I’d tried several recipes lately calling for a heavy skillet, and partly out of an atavistic longing, perhaps to return to or recreate some home-and-hearth security from the past.
To read the rest, and get a handy PDF recipe card for a puffed pancake, go with me over to Art House America.