When Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings he invoked the image of “one ring to rule them all.” You are unlikely in this life to encounter a hobbit, though they surely exist. But you are going to face times when you need the perfect pan to do some intense cooking. Howie Southworth and Greg Matza know just what you should use: cast iron. This book One Pan to Rule Them All presents a persuasive argument that, if your kitchen had only one pan, then it should be cast iron.

Why cast iron? The book begins with a list of eleven reasons, including being indestructible, perfect for browning, low cost compared to those stainless steel gems, and easy to clean. You get advice, too, for how to buy and how to do that all important “first seasoning.” Although, more and more cast iron pans come preseasoned, ready for you take home and begin make stuff.

What kind of stuff? The recipes are organized by time of day and type of dish. The ideas cover:

  • Breakfast
  • Snacks
  • One-Pot Meals
  • Main Dishes and Sides
  • Desserts
  • Campfire Favorites

The suggestion is that your cast iron pan, or pans, can be employed from dawn to your midnight snack, like s’mores over a campfire. The authors have traveled the world, so there is more than American cowboy food here. The “world” recipes include

Manchego and Mushroom Spanish Tortilla

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Supreme Japanese Pancakes

Spaghetti Pie

Veal Marsala

Italian Festival Sausage and Peppers

Beijing Iron Skillet Eggplant

French Onion Soup for Two

Don’t worry. Your American favorites reside here, too:

Cream Country Gravy [made with sausages and milk]

French Toast

Apple Crisp

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

If you crave comfort food, then One Pan to Rule Them All will have you warm and toasty. If you want something elegant, but without fuss and kitchen mess, then recipes like the Veal Marsala will bring you superior satisfaction.

You do have a cast iron pan already, right? If you don’t, one look at this book will have you out shopping. That very excellent buying guide begins on Page 6!