A frying pan, a guitar and the challenge of mindful mothering

25 03 2010

Where to start?

Breathing maybe? In and Out slowly.  The key to moving through the world mindfully is breath.  When I hit a wall, I breathe and it somehow seems to disappear.

I have been playing my guitar more and more lately, getting really excited about creating community song circles of different varieties: folk, spiritual, kids… Today, little A was playing a song she wrote on the guitar and left the guitar on the floor and then proceeded to climb (or try to climb) onto a coffee table to read a book.  The result was that she fell back onto the guitar she had left, and cracked the guitar fairly seriously:

So, I breathe, put the guitar away and search the internet how to repair guitars.  Metal rulers and wood glue?  I don’t know if this is something I can do and still have a nice sounding guitar.

Patience gets low. Breathe and move on.

My instinct is to retreat away from her, so that I can calm down by myself, regain my bearings and then come back to her all shiny and new.  However, in mothering, I rarely get that opportunity.  Her instinct is opposite: be as close to mama as possible and fill up on mama’s love.

Mindful mothering seems to me to be about finding space in total attachment, finding order in the midst of chaos and finding breath instead of panic.  Mindful mothering is the art of non-attachment to things but total attachment to a little human(s).  It is a balancing act that seems impossible to me sometimes, but really, its just inevitable.

So, today, I get yet another lesson in the art of mindful mothering, doing my best to be present, engaged and loving to the little being that chose me as her mother (a total honour that is!!).

And today, I give you a lesson in the art of (re)seasoning cast iron frying pans.  I have a little cast iron frying pan that is perfect for frying two eggs – one for little A and one for me.  It is also great for crepes, small amounts of left-overs and frying one onion.  Chris uses it to heat up little A’s “cream” (local, organic goat’s milk) at night.  It often gets left in the sink, soaking, and then scrubbed with soap.  It had come to the point where it needed some serious attention in order to keep functioning as a pan.

Cast iron frying pans are amazing little (and sometimes big) creatures.  They increase your intake of iron just by cooking with them! Also, they are non-stick, after several seasonings, and, with proper care, only get MORE non-stick.  Who needs teflon, when you can use cast iron?  The other great thing about cast iron frying pans is that most people don’t know how to care for them, and so dump their rusty old ones at thrift stores, to be picked up for a couple bucks by one happy customer!

The thing about cast iron is care.  Like anything in this world, if you want it to stick around, you need to care for it properly: the Earth, your body, your clothes, cast iron frying pans… Seasoning is key, as is proper washing.

Luckily, both of these are quite easy to accomplish.

To (re)season a pan:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

2. Wash your pan (new or old) with warm soapy water.

3. Dry out your pan completely and add some vegetable oil, lard, shortening or beef tallow.  I used olive oil because that it what I had and sometimes I feed vegetarians, but generally it is not the best optioon.  Canola, sunflower, safflower or coconut are much better options for vegetarians.

4. Rub the grease into the entire pan, inside, outside and sides.  I used a piece of old kraft paper from an old paper bag full of holes, but you could also use newspaper or paper towel.

5.  Place your pan, upside down, in your oven with a baking sheet below it to catch the drippings. (there’s no pan in this picture, but I added one later….)

6.  Set a timer for 1 hour.

7. Turn off the oven and open the oven door to let pan cool.

8.  Take out your beautiful newly seasoned pan!

9.  Repeat several times if you want to get a really nice seasoning.

Now that you have a wonderful new pan, you will need to care for it properly, in order to continue to have a beautiful, non-sticking surface.  Do not wash your pan in soap, or if you feel you must, wash it with a small amount briefly and rinse.  Dry out your pan immediately with a towel.  Heat up an element and put your frying pan on it.  Once it has heated a little, add a little oil/lard and swirl around.  Remove from heat and wipe out the excess of oil with paper towels or newspaper.

Also, never put really cold things, or cold water into a hot pan.  It will cause it to crack.

Enjoy!

(now, after little A’s dad is about and I have had three minutes to myself, finished this post and breathed, I feel much better)

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2 responses

25 03 2010
Sarah Christina

You are truly amazing!!! Beautiful post. Way to take an otherwise overwhelming situation in Motherhood and turn it into not only a lesson and opportunity for growth for yourself, but to also share that with us!
I am grateful!
Thank you!!!

25 03 2010
mamameme

awwww! thanks! You are always an inspiration to me too!
Sometimes, the challenge of being present and loving is a lot. but then I snuggle up with her and know that its all worth it. every breath. 🙂

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