Cast Iron Skillet

A blog about teaching, English, and teaching English

Cast Iron Skillet

Teacher: cast iron skillet. Gotta be tough, durable, solid—a certain undeniable mass. As a cast iron skillet is passed down and treasured through generations, a teacher receives the ideas, experience, labor of family and culture past, and brings them to the classroom. As the skillet is partner to the chemical transformations of the kitchen, so the teacher infuses energy, mixes, and invites growth. And the kitchen: the creating, nurturing, warm, fragrant, private but open heart of the house. Teaching is the smell of onions and garlic frying in olive oil, the crust of curry scraped from the griddle, the dancing of water drops flicked by a child’s hands onto the hot surface, the fried egg “spatched” (my daughter says) with the spatula. Teaching is my wife sipping red wine as she dices beets, and grandma (her cracked fingers muscling the dough) telling me “you know from feel,” as the luminous indigo of twilight seeps through the back door screen.  And the cast iron skillet: noble, silent crone, nestled in the blue crown of flame: turning black powder, cow’s milk, oil and garden . . . into spirit.

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