Cooking with Salt & Fat

sf.jpgSalt & Fat is a lovely food blog maintained by two guys, Neven Mrgan and Jim Ray, who spend their days developing software and web products and every other moment, apparently, thinking about food, and the making and eating of it. The name tips you that this isn't going to be a one of those oppressively good-for-you food-blog experiences. It's also not one of those sites that paints cooks as a kind of priesthood and cooking itself as something rarified, distant and difficult. In fact, as Ray noted in an introductory post on the day he and Mrgan started the site three months ago,

...people think cooking is too hard. Or takes too much time. I'd say the biggest marketing message is that we're constantly being told we're too busy (not necessarily too stupid, but I suppose that's an implication in all mass marketing) to bother to cook a meal, here's a meal-in-a-box full of sodium, preservatives and saturated high fructose whatnot. Let's put a stop to that.

Today's entry on the cast-iron skillet is a good example of what the site does so well -- deliver a large quantity of useful information in a way that's brisk and sensible. There's a food-lovers' maxim to the effect that if you want to judge a new restaurant you shouldn't order the most complicated thing on the menu, you should order the simplest, because a kitchen that can turn out perfect scrambled eggs probably has its house in order. That's the sense you get from reading Ray's post on the iron skillet, which is the scrambled eggs of food blog topics -- the sort of basic entry that underpins everything else. When Ray answers, once and for all, the question of how to clean your iron skillet (and debunks the "Grandma never cleaned hers, not once, and she lived to be two hundred" myth) you know you're in good hands.

Full disclosure: I clean my skillet just as Ray advises. It's a huge, hulking, heavy thing I bought at Target, because there's another old maxim -- I've seen it attributed to Michael Ruhlman, but haven't been able to confirm that independently -- that anybody who pays more than 12 bucks for a skillet is a freakin' idiot.