Wild Cowboy Banjo Picture

Hans and I took a series of pictures for the cover of our new CD.  Here’s one of me without Hans:


I have no idea why I’m posting this.  I just kind of like the picture.



Frying pans: cast iron or forged iron?

Here’s a copy of my email to fellow Americans in the town in Germany where I live:

Hello everyone. Since our forum seems to be dead (which is too bad) I have to take my problems here to the group at large.

I’m obsessing about cookware.

Oh, yeah, I obssess about everything I’m currently engaged with, from bicycles to banjos to playing cards…but eventually I buy what I want (read: after hundreds of hours of research) and am (usually) happy in the end.

But the PERFECT FRYING PAN has been a life-long search from which I have yet to recover.

#1 I, personally, will never buy a coated pan again. Never. My wife can buy one, but I won’t. Not from T-Fal, not from NASA, not from anyone. You end up eating the coating and your food sticks after 3 – 5 years. Who knows: maybe all the Teflon in our bowels helps prevent colon cancer. Regardless, I’m not buying another one.

#2 Forget copper and aluminum and stainless steel. All are compromises. There are only two choices for rational enthusiasts (contradiction!): cast iron and forged iron.

#3 Forged iron. I would love to have a forged iron pan. If I had a professional gas stove like Chris and Tom (and yes, Chris and Tom, I have had truly lustful thoughts about your range with not four but FIVE burners, and if I could somehow knock you both on the head with a (cast iron?) skillet and steal it I ssurely would. Alas! How would I fit it on my bike?) then forged iron would be my choice. Many of the advantages of cast iron, with none of the disadvantages—how could I lose?

But where would I buy such a creature as a forged iron frying pan? There’s here:


Which seems convincing and reasonable. A bit of history and something to tell your friends when they ask about your pan (and doesn’t everybody as about your pan?).

I could go here:


But I think I’d rather get the former, because of history and all that. The problem is that forged iron—ideal for gas—is perhaps not ideal for an electric range. Now, my wife and I have wanted to have our kitchen totally rebuilt and a gas line put up into the kitchen so that we can install a gas range. But that’s a ways off, and I need my new pan NOW. So forged iron will have to wait. (Or until I get a cast iron skillet and a souped-up suspension for my bicycle.)

#4 The obvious choice is that I want a high quality cast iron skillet. Easy enough. Except: I’ve looked around for years and haven’t seen a single cast iron skillet in Goettingen, much less one of high quality.

Sooo… to the internet. What do you find out? Well, here in Europe, one can get fine quality cast iron pans from this company in Sweden:


BUT: I don’t want a wooden handle, because if I’m going to use forged or cast iron, I at least want the possibility of sticking the thing in the oven now an then. But Skeppshult doesn’t have pans with a simple cast iron handle: no, they’ve got to get all pretentious and put a steal handle on the things. And, by the way, I’ve yet to find steel-handled Skeppshult cast-iron pans on the German internet market.

So, alternatives?

I could buy this, for example:


which would fit the bill, I think. What’s the problem? well, it’s IMPORTED, from America. Look here:


I know the damn thing’s heavy, but why should I pay 60 euros for something I can get it America for 20. Hold on, that’s not true. Look here:


Fifteen bucks. Order a couple of books and I don’t even have to pay shipping.

I usually go to the States for Thanksgiving. I could just bring one back, I suppose. Would they allow it in my backpack, or would it count as a possible weapon? Look, my dear friends: IT WOULD ADD ABOUT TEN POUNDS TO MY LUGGAGE!!!!!!!

So, my fellow Americans, that is the puzzle. Should I go back to the forged iron possibility? Do any of you have experience with forged iron? Have any of you seen cast iron at a store in Goettingen? Do you know of a good German cast iron pan manufacturer? Should I just lug the thing back from the States? That would be idiotic if Bovenden turned out to be the cast iron frying pan capitol of the world without my knowing it. Or Waake. AND: what kind of frying pans do Chris and Tom use (or is that 5 burner range just for show? Don’t tell me copper: I’ll be very disappointed…)

That’s it. Of course this is a topic much more suited for a forum. But y’all haven’t supported the forum. So I must harass you here.

Oh, by the way…unless someone offers me a ride tomorrow, I can’t go to reconnoiter Chris and Tom’s 6 burner range…

Love and horses,


Okay, that was the email. So far, the responses tend to be: buy one in the States and bring it back. So that’s what I’m planning to do.

But with a kind of brainstorm, I remembered something VERY INTERESTING. My sister (whom I would like to visit again at Thanksgiving, if I can afford it and don’t stumble onto a new job) has a Cracker Barrell just down the street from where she lives. Walking distance, even. And I remembered that the Cracker Barrell has cast iron skillets. So I checked it out on the net here: Cracker Barrell skillets.

They’re made by Lodge, and they have the pre-seasoned variety. So they’re ready to go as they are. And by the way, don’t forget to look at all the Cracker Barrel cookware page here: cookware. I mean, I would like to see my sister, of course, but I’m itching to go to the Cracker Barrell. That’s the next stop after buying a cherry pie.

I wouldn’t be surprised if just a universally interesting topic as this one brings me a few more hits than usual from the search engines. So by all means, advise me if you can.


I’m a lazy-assed blogger…

…aren’t I?


I have been strangely active in writing things other than my blog. And yes, I’ve been back from vacation for a while. But I’ve been working, as I must until the position ends at the end of October.

In spite of not blogging much, I’ve had a bit to write about. Lately I’ve been obssessed with frying pans, for example, and I’m sure it will interest both my readers. In fact, I sent an email to our local American email list, and all I would have to do is cut and past the damned thing. Maybe I will. I’ve also got an idea for a new blog, but that would make me feel guilty since I write so little in this one.

The blog I set up for our softball team is currently the 74th most popular German language Blog at WordPress.  We still came in last in our league this summer.

Anyway, my aplogies for not writing more. I shall try to do better.