Before the Seattle trip,
Clark and I were on the phone discussing plans for the upcoming week.
We each had a few ideas and
because I figured that Clark might assume that his mother had gone crazy,
I mentioned with some hesitancy that I'd like to visit a smithy/studio in Fremont
where someone was making hand forged skillets.
You know the saying "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree"?
Clark exclaimed that this sounded familiar;
he'd met a skillet maker at a cooking demonstration at his university!
Surely it was the same one...
after all how many skillet makers can one city have?
And yes, he'd love to go see where the skillets were made!
A partner in crime! I love that young man!
BluSkillet hand forged carbon steel pans
are the brainchild of blacksmith/artist Patrick Maher and partner Caryn Badgett.
Shortly before our visit, they hit the big time
and it couldn't have happened to a nicer pair.
An August review of their 13" pan in Cooks Illustrated
has had them sold out non-stop since the magazine hit the shelves.
An online order waiting list is periodically opened
and within minutes are all pans are pre-sold for shipment a later shipment date.
On Sunday afternoons, they have an open door policy
so that nutty people like us can wander in and pester them!
Since their website showed every pan as sold out
and because I really didn't need a new skillet,
I tried to convince the rest of the family that I was going only to look.
I think they'd heard this type of rationalization before.
|Photo lifted from BluskilletIronware.com website|
Repeat after me....
only going to look....
don't need to spend money on a skillet....
maybe I'll order one next year.
Since they're slammed trying to fill orders.
I expected them to nod and smile
and that's about it.
Instead they were SO gracious.....
explaining, demonstrating, showing off the tools and equipment.
|Tools and a stack of 13" pan bases awaiting handles|
They were understandably proud of what they're creating
and didn't seem a bit fazed that 4 people had crashed in to disrupt them.
|Various stages of handle shaping|
And to my delight they had a couple of skillets to sell!!
My plans to "look" flew out the door as soon as I touched one.
The handle is perfect, the balance and weight....
They're just gorgeous.... can a skillet be gorgeous?
I was tempted by a big 13" that someone was late coming to pick up,
and was equally torn between the French style pan with its deeper sides
or the traditional fry.
In the end a 10" fry pan came home to Virginia
and drew a quizzical look from airport TSA as it rolled through the scanner in my backpack.
|With my new pan.... all wrapped up to go.|
Carbon steel is a different animal from my All-Clad stainless and cast iron.
It's lighter than cast iron, quick to heat, browns in an instant
and with each use it gets a better patina.
From tuna steaks
to a simple breakfast of spinach and fried eggs,
it seems to turn everything into a gourmet experience
This is going to sound ultra zen and new agey,
but it's a pleasure to touch and look at as well as to cook with;
I realize that I just said that I like to touch my skillet!
There might be a rush to lock me away soon!
One day I'll probably put it away,
but for now it's living out on the stovetop
so that I can see it even when I'm not cooking;
An odd reminder of a special vacation
and also a son and daughter-in-law miles and miles away,
but close to our hearts.
Before leaving the studio,
I'd promised Clark the skillet as an inheritance....
He's his mother's son.