If you’re a hardcore outdoor cast iron cook, or a beginner wannabe, the new “Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook: A Treasury of Timeless, Delicious Recipes” is a must read.
by Leon Pantenburg
I love cast iron cookware in all forms, am a charter member of a Dutch oven cooking club, and a Dutch oven cookoff competitor. At last count, I own seven cast iron camp ovens, three Dutch ovens, a stack of skillets, a square cornbread pan and a two griddles. My antique cast iron includes several Griswold skillets, a deep gumbo pot and a fish cooker.
I believe a camp oven (the style with three legs, and a lid designed for holding coals) is a must-have in any preparedness or survival kit. Further, I contend that simple, tasty recipes that can be cooked outdoors are survival tools.
With that background, I would have to classify the latest slick stock, full-color cookbook from Lodge as cast iron porn. It’s like free heroin to an addict, or a “Drinks on the house!” to an alcoholic. As soon as I got a copy, I sat down and read it cover-to-cover.
Lodge, FYI, is the only cast iron cookware manufacturer in the United States. Founded by Joseph Lodge in 1896 in South Pittsburg, TN, the company continues to manufacture a full gamete of cast implements.
Lodge quality is a given. While I own other brands of cast iron, most of my camp ovens are Lodge. I rely on the Lodge even heating, overall quality and consistent cooking times in competitions as well as family reunions.
The cookbook is divided into several useful sections, which include breakfast; soup, stew, gumbo and chili; the main course; desserts, breads and biscuits and caring for cast iron.
The recipes come from all over and the ones I’ve tried are fantastic. The book is also a good read. If you’re like me, you love reading the stories behind the recipes, and the ways they may have originated. And any good cast iron cook will look at the book and immediately start thinking about how they can tweak or improve certain food selections.
There is also a heating chart that suggests the number of coals for different-sized camp ovens to obtain certain cooking temperatures. A section on taking care of your cast iron is also invaluable.
I give this cookbook two thumbs and five stars. There is something in it for the beginner or the experienced Dutch oven cook.