Daily Archives: February 11, 2015

Cast iron vs Non-stick pans: which is better?

This was the first video I ever shot, because my friend Law Cummer asked me, “What is the difference between cooking in cast iron, or cooking in non-stick?”

I actually did a real-time, side-by-side comparison for him, which was apparently so persuasive that several of my friends who viewed it went straight out and bought cast iron frying pans! Which is a great outcome. In a well-seasoned cast iron pan, you actually need  LESS fat than you do in a non-stick pan; and food cooked in cast iron is higher in dietary iron (especially, if you are cooking tomatoes in cast iron).

Update: Health Canada releases it’s guidelines on metals and cookware. This is a great summary and confirms much of what I explained in the video.

maple syrup

Update #2: Thank you David Lindsay for posting these photos of a real sugar bush operation in 2015. I was a little worried that people would think my commentary was out of date because most sugar bush farms now use plastic tubing from tree to bucket – however as we can see from David’s March 2015 photos, they are still using cast iron to boil the sap! And the people who purchased that cauldron expect it to be in use for 100 years, or more.


Rita Smith’s Mashed Potatoes

For years, I thought I was making 5 pounds of mashed potatoes at a time…then I read the bag, and it was actually 10 POUNDS  of potatoes. I think I must have been in denial about the amount of mashed potatoes my family could, and would, eat.

Now my kids want me to leave the peels on the potatoes, buy in my heart I still believe that this recipe – which makes the potatoes almost as fluffy as whipped cream – is the correct way to make mashed potatoes.

Flat Chicken – fast & flavourful, and does NOT need to be expensive

chicken jamie

“Flat chicken” cooks relatively quickly and can be really delicious. However, if you buy your chicken “pre-flattened,” it can be outrageously expensive! The store-bought flattened chicken above was $25.71. A standard chicken, below, cost $14.40…and you can get these on sale for $7.00 on a good day.

Click here for my “Flat Chicken” video. I use my mammoth 15 inch cast iron skillet, but you can easily do this (with less vegetables) in a standard skillet.

A “flat chicken” is chicken with the spine cut out. You can do this yourself, very easily. Save the $10 on chicken, and use it to buy a nice bottle of wine. It’s win/win!

chicken sobeys

Mushroom Chicken – Kids love this!

Originally when I posted this recipe, I noted it was a good way to use up unfinished bottles of red wine.

Several friends wrote to ask me, “Where do you find this thing, an ‘unfinished bottle of red wine?'” That definitely made me laugh! Of course, you can buy wine just for the Mushroom Chicken if you need to.