Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast

Cookbooks and cultural conversation starters top our summer reading list

Food, Foodies, Foodways

Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast

by the Lodge Company
Oxmoor House, 288 pp., $24.95

I am of two minds about this cookbook, a collection of cast-iron-centric recipes featuring the best of regional American cookery and, as this is a product of the Lodge corporation, a celebration of all things cast iron.

The recipes I tried in this cookbook, many of which are supplied by regional food luminaries from across the country, were uniformly delicious. It had never occurred to me to roast a chicken in a cast iron skillet, and while I was a little skittish about the method (roasting the chicken in a hot oven for 30 minutes, then turning off the heat and leaving it in for another 30), it came out fully cooked and juicy, the skin succulent and crisp. The Wiener Schnitzel was simply delicious, and devoured by everyone in the family. While the baked spaghetti was also a winner, the yield indicated in the recipe seems a bit off. When I told my husband that it was meant to feed six, his response was, "Six what? Football teams?"

The major complaint I have about this cookbook is that it operates from a baseline assumption that its audience possesses cast iron cookware in a variety of shapes and sizes and serving individual functions. To wit: The recipe for Texas fried catfish calls for a Lodge 7-quart cast iron Dutch oven; Gooey Chocolate Skillets call for six Lodge 5-inch cast-iron skillets; and Upside-Down Meatloaf calls for a Lodge 10x5x3-inch cast iron loaf pan. To that end, for anyone who has just one measly 10-inch cast-iron skillet, many of these recipes are simply out of reach. That said, it's likely that the meatloaf can be made in a regular loaf pan, and the catfish fried in a regular skillet, and so on. If the user is willing to seek out adaptations to the recipes that don't involve the specific cast-iron tool indicated, they will be rewarded with a simple yet hearty meal with an impeccable American pedigree.

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to food@austinchronicle.com

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More cookbook reviews
In Print
In Print
Colette Rossant's The World in My Kitchen

Kate Thornberry, Jan. 12, 2007

In Print
In Print
The Brass sisters' Heirloom Baking

Kate Thornberry, Jan. 12, 2007

More Food Reviews
A Trio of Mediterranean Dining
A Trio of Mediterranean Dining
Just when you thought you couldn't possibly get any shawarma, right?

Wayne Alan Brenner, Sept. 4, 2020

Hot Sauce: Your Lifestyle Is the Target
Hot Sauce: Your Lifestyle Is the Target
What does your favorite condiment reveal about who you are?

Wayne Alan Brenner, Aug. 28, 2020

More by Melanie Haupt
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Local sotol makers offer the critical commodity free of cost

March 20, 2020

Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Dishes for sharing (or not) at this tiny Nepalese restaurant

Feb. 14, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

cookbook reviews, cookbooks, summer reading, Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast, Lodge Company

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle