Cast Iron Stories: Kevin Gillespie

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Photo courtesy of Caroline Petters

Kevin Gillespie
Author of Fire In My Belly and Chef at Gunshow
Atlanta, Georgia

The men in my family are big into camping, hunting, and fishing. We go camping several times a year. It’s more like survival training. We find our own food, sleep on the ground, and shave down our toothbrush handles to keep the pack weight down. But we also have an entire arsenal of cast-iron pans with us. Everyone draw straws to see who has to carry the Dutch oven.

We camp in the middle of the woods deep in the mountains of South Carolina and have built an underground bunker of sorts. It’s a big hole with rocks around it, and it’s filled with a large assortment of cast-iron pans, Dutch ovens, and griddles that have been buried over the last 50 years. One year, someone forgot to mark the spot, and it took five years of digging before we found it again. That was about two years ago. That was rough.

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