Remember my cast iron skillet? The one that beat me down and made my cry until I was just a shadow of my former self, the one that prevented me from making the best home fries on the face of this planet and thus having a truly fulfilled life?
I didn’t throw it out because I didn’t want my garbage man to get a hernia. I hear they hurt something awful.
I didn’t blow it up because while I found some dynamite at a local black market, they wouldn’t accept MasterCard and as usual, I didn’t have any cash on me.
I didn’t run over it with the Durango because Nate wouldn’t let me.
It’s alive and well and living in my oven. And if it had knees, I’d tell it to drop on them and worship the ground my mother-in-law walks on because if not for her, it would be dying a slow, agonizing, corroded, rusty, miserable death at the center of the earth’s core, provided I didn’t get too tired digging. Otherwise, it would have been tossed out with last week’s trash, the hell with my garbage man’s groin.
My mother-in-law came over to show me how to whip that skillet’s ass. Figuratively, because much like the knees, I don’t think it has an ass.
Why can’t I be more like my skillet?
My mother-in-law whipped my skillet’s figurative ass because she is very laid back, relaxed, informal and easy going and her nature manifests itself in her seasoning method. She poured buckets of olive oil in my skillet, swished it around willy nilly and slopped it up with a bunch of napkins, all while chatting with Helena about school and gymnastics and cheering on her splits and cartwheels. Helena’s splits and cartwheels, that is. My mother-in-law doesn’t do splits and cartwheels, unless she’s holding out on me. What a sight that would be! I’ll have to ask her.
I’ve got a very laid back, relaxed, informal, easy going nature as well, except that it’s disguised as tense, rigid, anxious and anal-retentive. When I season, I pour a small, measured amount of oil into the skillet and carefully and methodically wipe it all around with a clean cloth, making certain to cover every last inch with a thin, even coverage of oil, lest my world come crashing down on me because there’s more oil on the left side than on the right, so FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, HELENA, KNOCK IT OFF WITH THE HANDSTANDS ALREADY BECAUSE I CAN’T DEAL WITH THEM WHEN I’VE GOT MY HANDS FULL TRYING TO KEEP THE UNIVERSE FROM IMPLODING DUE TO LOPSIDED COVERAGE.
I don’t think I have to tell you that my method wasn’t working, hence The Bane of My Existence moniker.
Thanks to my mother-in-law’s casual, laid back style, I now have a nicely seasoned skillet in which I made home fries the other night which, for the first time ever, did not morph into a brick of scorched, burnt-on ick commonly referred to in this house as YOU SERIOUSLY EXPECT ME TO EAT THAT? The power washer and sand blaster that I had on stand by were ultimately not needed which made me so happy, I didn’t even care that Nate forgot I had eyes in the back of my head and absconded with them into the garage. I made home fries that didn’t make anyone hurl so go forth and blast away, Nate! You’re welcome!
My cast iron skillet got itself whupped by a mild mannered grandmother of seven and now it falls to me to keep it in line by sloshing and slopping olive oil all over it in a haphazard, disorderly, messy manner and pretend that it doesn’t make my vascular system twist itself up into one gigantic knot and burrow through my ear. But under no circumstances will I let my skillet see me hesitate or flinch or shudder or have a seizure, no matter what’s oozing out of my ear, because it can smell fear. So I suck it up, grit my teeth, and slosh and slop away, all the while muttering YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.
I simply ignore my family’s stares. They have no idea what I go through.
Once I finish the seasoning and my veins and arteries are friends again, I return the skillet to my oven, until next time.
I’m all for positive reinforcement so every so often, I will pass by the oven, open the door a smidge and remind it who’s boss by yelling WHO’S YOUR DADDY?
Just in case it forgets.