“A handmade family treasure waiting to be touched again.”

Griswold Frying panBeginning in 1865 in Erie, Pennsylvania, Griswold frying pans filled the kitchens of many American and European homes. With the advent of indoor kitchens, flat-bottomed cast-iron skillets became an essential piece of cookware and Griswold’s lightweight skillets became a universal piece of cookware.

My paternal grandmother was the consummate chef with her cast-iron frying pans. I had the most wonderful experiences living with her after high school graduation. I did not have a driver’s license or car to drive, so I walked to work from her house. Her frying pans were used morning, noon, and night for so many interesting meals. My grandmother, uncle and myself dined together. I did the grocery shopping and helped pick out the meats from the traveling butcher who drove up to the curbside. Gram loved her T-bone steaks fried in butter and they were delicious. She came to life when she handled her Griswold and the rest of us were treated to her culinary delights.

After she passed on to that great kitchen in the sky, my sister told me to take what I wanted. At the time, I treasured other heirlooms more than the frying pans. As time rolled on, my brother said to me, “I know you are into cooking. Do you think you would like one of Gram’s frying pans?” I said sure. However, upon seeing the family heirloom — ancient artifact, more like — I saw a pebbled surface of grime, rust, and what-have-you all over it. I quickly dismissed its useful services and stuck it in the basement for about five years.

My friend Randy mentioned he was into antique frying pans, and my interest in the family artifact piqued. I went to the basement and for a week straight I grounded, sanded and cleaned the mystery gift. Late one evening I could finally read and see the markings on the bottom and I realized I had a Griswold frying pan from 1916. This pan turned out to be my grandmother’s first frying pan after she married and, as I now recall, it was her favorite.

Today, this frying pan is my go-to skillet. Each time I pick it up, I can picture my grandmother standing at her kitchen range making sure that her T-bone was cooked properly. Each time I take it from my kitchen cabinet, I call out her name.

Please remember an object does not have to glitter to be gold. Merely having been touched with hands of love, something that you can touch and retouch again, makes it priceless.

Thank you, Gram. I love you!

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