Monday, January 11, 2016

Seasonal mettle

Friends and I have been trading
thoughts on culinary metallurgy,
as a result of someone's report
of acquiring his first, classic
"heavy-bottomed cast iron pan."
This weighty subject is exactly
the sort of thing that's likely
to sway our speculations in win-
ter especially, given the redis-
covery we tend to make of rooms
and what can be done in them to
resemble an active life. I keep
a rowing machine, as a hedge a-
gainst domestic misadventure, 
but like my friends, I take an
interest in the damage that can
be done in the kitchen.

That confession about cast iron 
threw us all for a loop, seduc-
ing us into a discussion of the
properties of metals, more than
of technique. But it's all much
in line with conjectures about 
compression ratios in engines,
that sustain the allure of cars
outside their carbon footprint.
Moreover, there's something un-
deniably gratifying about being
incorrigible in one's play. And
in proving everything all over
again, pleasantly inconclusive.

Winter, we like to say, doesn't
have to last forever; but while
it's here we know its metabolic
impact shapes the appetite with
tastes that correspond with be-
ing snug. The volatile conduct
of copper and aluminum belongs,
gastronomically, to the instan-
taneous more than to the steep-
ing transformations of ingredi-
ents we savour in this season.

What immortal luck it seems, to
latch on to a cast iron pot, at
the very hour a braise suggests
itself. As one of these friends
remarked almost in passing, it
could even lead to the revival
of butter, cream, and Calvados.

i, iii  Guillaume Babouin


  1. Laurent,

    In my neck of the woods, cast iron is used to cook in.

    For flights of fancy? Not so much.

    1. Oh, then move right now. A golf club, you'll find, is not merely an implement to relocate a ball. You deserve a better lie.