Unless you want to run out and buy a half dozen red-and-white 1961 Thunderbird ragtops as beachmobiles for the couple, which I recommend for maximum splash at the weddings, there’s just one other answer to this seasonal conundrum: good iron skillets for everybody. Forget where the people are “listed”; no gift has the soulful reach or versatility of a skillet. Although it’s hard to beat the antique Birmingham Stove & Range “unmarked” skillets from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the brand doesn’t matter. You’re giving them a piece of iron, an apt metaphorical hope for a marriage if there ever was one, to be used in nourishing their families as they learn to cook together. All the saucing, braising, and simmering, the fried chicken and country ham, the smothered quail, all the eggs and bacon, the thousands of piping hot rounds of skillet-baked cornbread, every last bite of food that traverses these cooking surfaces, will nourish and uphold, and all of that work will also improve the pans. Not many presents get better with time. Their kids will fight over your skillets when their parents, and you, are long gone.
BY GUY MARTIN
PS At PJC we’re pretty smitten with Butter Pat iron pans