"You weren't that fond of it when I first brought it home," said my wife.
No, I guess I wasn't. I thought my instructions had been clear. I was thinking about stir-frying. I'd read an article written by some guy who said American stoves weren't constructed to properly heat a wok. He said anyone with brains knew the best way to stir-fry vegetables or anything was to use a large, flat cast-iron frying pan. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about, so I described the article to my wife and asked if she'd look for one in the discount store on the way back from work.
We'd been married for a month or two.
She phoned me at work to say she'd found a cast-iron pan. It wasn't exactly like I'd described, but she thought we'd use it just the same. Besides, she could always take it back.
"Great," I said. "Buy it."
When we got home, I stared at the chicken-fryer. "That's not really what I had in mind," I said.
"But don't you think we'd use it for other dishes?"
"Well," I said, "it's not really what I had in mind."
"I can take it back," she said. "I just figured we'd use it for other dishes."
There didn't seem to be any good reason to abandon my passive-aggressive strategy just yet. "We probably will," I said. "Let's keep it."
It's become my favorite pot. It is one of two pots we own that gives a dish the sort of character you want in a dish. Two or three times a month I'll roast a chicken in it. When it's done, I'll remove the bird and stir up some schmaltz for the wild rice. Whatever is left on the carcass is used for chicken stock. The chicken stock is used for risotto, which I make in the self-same pan.
The pan is also good for Bourbon n' Beans, and a host of other dishes. It's a great pan. We use it all the time.
As for the stir-fry advice, Mr. Magazine Article Writer didn't know what he was talking about. If you want a good stir-fry, nothing beats the hefty cast-iron wok her sister gave us -- the other indispensible pan in our collection.