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Monday, January 25, 2016

How To Season Cast Iron

As most know, Florence is the antiques capital of Colorado. And among the many dealers, from all around the state and beyond, are people with lots of knowledge about antiques, collectibles and doing things old school.

One of the new dealers at The Iron Gate Antiques Mall (109 W. Main St.) has a sign posted in their booth about seasoning cast iron. I, as many of the customers and browsers, found this dealer's method of seasoning cast iron, quite comprehensive. I was given permission to post his method on this blog.

* Cast iron is placed in a preheated oven at 200 degrees F and allowed to warm up.
* Once cast iron is at 200 degrees F, a coating of Pam (spray canola oil) is applied to all surfaces of cast iron.
*Cast iron is placed back into over and temp raised to 250 degrees F. Once temperature has been reached, timer is set to 15 minutes.
* After 15 minutes, cast iron is removed, "wiped down," placed back into oven and the temperature raised 50 degrees. This step is to make sure seasoning doesn't pool or run.
*The process is repeated at 300 and 350 degrees. 350 degrees is the final "wipe down."
*Cast iron is continued to be gradually heated up to 500 degrees. At 500 degrees, the cast iron has the last 15 minutes of heat applied. After the time has ended, the oven is shut off and the cast iron is kept in the oven and allowed to cool down to room temperature.

I recently have virtually switched to cooking exclusively with cast iron. No more peeling non-stick surfaces!

Cast iron has been enjoying another surge in popularity. I've had customers share that they enjoy the potential benefits and durability of cast iron cooking.

Florence has a good selection of cast iron in most of its 20 plus antiques stores.

And that's what I learned in an antiques store today!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Everything I Learned, I Learned In An Antiques Store

Everything I learned, I learned in an antiques store. Not totally. I learned plenty of other things in other places I worked. But I’ve learned much working in an antiques store. Not only do the browsers and customers teach and share volumes—the actual antiques in the store tell their own stories too.

One story the antiques tell and teach is that the more time goes by—things stay pretty much the same. There is truly nothing much new under the sun.

We know that the generation that fought in WW II is considered the greatest generation—and what we are going through today in can’t compare totally to what that generation went through. But today I stumbled across an ad in a 1943 magazine that spoke to me, and taught me, that wars, battles, 
conflicts and politics change—but  basic human nature and deep feelings of most Americans, change only minimally.

The ad sponsored by Nash-Kelvinator—yes, the folks that made cars and refrigerators—might be a bit sentimental for today’s tastes. A bit dramatic. But I read between the lines and found the emotions in this ad to be timely.

The ad shows a gaunt American soldier, a prisoner of war in Japan. He is behind barbed wire and is clutching a letter from home as an armed guard looks on.

The American’s response to his letter from home is: “Reading behind the lines of your blessed letter, I feel again the warmth of your love, and your unshaken belief in our future together. Just to know there is still in the world such faith as yours is enough to keep me sane…”

The American soldier writes of his hopes that, as he and his other fellow captives look to the sky, that the Americans will deliver them from evil and bring them home again.

He goes on to write, “Home—where I want unchanged, just as I remember them now, all the things that I hold dear. The right of a man to think and speak his thoughts, the right of a man to live and worship as he wants, the right of a man to work and earn a just reward! Don’t ever let these be lost. Keep everything just as it is until I come back...back to American where no armed guard bars the door to liberty…where there will never be a barbed wire fence between a man and his opportunity to work and build and grow and make his life worth living—this war worth winning!”

Yes, going back over 70 years, or 300 years ago—even though our conflicts and wars have changed—the reasons why we fight (even on the home front) and in our hearts and minds, does not change. And what America was hundreds of years ago—and even decades ago, should not change because other outside forces want us to change.

And that’s what I learned in the antiques store today.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Florence, Colorado: The Chili Bowl In The Chilly Museum

The Chili Bowl In The Chilly Museum? Is that like: Col. Mustard in the library? No, it's simply a brilliant fundraiser for the Pioneer Museum and Research Center in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.

Brilliant, I say! It doesn't get much better than wrapping one's lips around a delicious bowl of chili. Oh yes it does! For a suggested donation of $5 (or more hopefully) chili aficionados will be able to keep the chili bowl.

                                                                     Chili! Yum!

Of course the bowl will be MUCH better than what is pictured above, because the bowl will be a handmade pottery bowl, created by the local P & G Pottery.

Really, it doesn't get much better than that. Delicious chili AND a lovely handmade chili bowl.

Oh yes it can!

One gets the satisfaction of assisting the Pioneer Museum and Research Center, at 100 Pikes Peak Ave., to match funds to apply for a grant to assist with the museum's infrastructure.

The Pioneer Museum is a touch chilly and needs a heating system, among other upgrades.

The Chili Bowl In The Chilly Museum is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 30.


The Pioneer Museum and Research Center is one of Florence's many historical and cultural gems and the museum has a new website at:

So, grab your jacket, hat, gloves and other cold-weather gear and head over to the museum. There might not be any heat on at the museum in the way of a furnace. BUT there will be plenty of heat from the chili, the nice pottery bowls and the warm and toasty glow you'll get from helping a worthy cause.

Have fun on the 30th--and as Hank Williams used to sing:

 I don't care who thinks we're silly, you be daffy and I'll be dilly
We'll order up two bowls of chili, settin' the woods on fire