I spend half my time trying NOT to become my mother, and the other half wishing I were half as good as her at some things.
For example, I didn’t want her wide hips and flat chest, but no one asked me. Likewise, I’d have loved her singing voice and brilliant blue eyes; again, no one asked me.
So when the potato and sea-salt video from HuffPost lit up Facebook last week, I hitched up my britches and decided it was time to rescue my rusty iron skillet from the bowels of the garage.
After all, my mother and all of her ancestors wouldn’t dream of cooking in anything but an iron skillet. She bakes in them, fries eggs in them, makes cornbread in them.
I’m a decent cook and can follow a sewing pattern, both things my mom excels at. But I’d burned something in our one iron skillet over a decade ago, and let it soak and rust.
Oh, the shame.
When the magic video made the rounds, I thought I’d redeem myself and my pan. Thank God for HuffPost, right?
I called mom to ask about the potato and sea salt method.
I told her I’d heard I shouldn’t use soap.
We had two potatoes. Well, there were two slightly mushy, alien vegetables with tentacles in a basket on the counter. And, I had purchased a new box of kosher salt in December.
(I’d had an Etsy-spasm a month before and was determined to make organic olive oil facial scrub to give as gifts. Instead, I bought anti-bacterial soap and tubes of Chapstick in bulk.)
The box of salt remained full.
I sliced off the bulging potato eyes and filled the pan with salt and water and started scrubbing.
For 90 minutes.
Until the skin peeled back from my cuticles and the potato was mashed.
Still, rust remained. I watched the video a second time.
The part of my brain that is like my mother’s kicked in. I chucked the slimy potatoes, recycled the empty $3.50 box of salt, and reached for a .30 cent SOS pad.
Fifteen minutes later: Voila, my pan was restored.
I spent the rest of the day seasoning it. Baking in it. Fried two eggs in it. Took selfies with it. Compared it to my hips and chest and then called my mother.
She was proud. My family’s bellies were full. Mom: 1, HuffPost: 0.