"You're on the list" - the invitation from Dr Annie Gray to attend the recording of BBC Radio 4's The Kitchen Cabinet made us feel a bit like rock stars. Hosted by the inimitable Jay Rayner, the Kitchen Cabinet is a food panel show, which travels around the country, visiting interesting places and meeting local, food-loving prople.
The last in the current series was at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Ironbridge, a location close to our hearts. We drew inspiration for our range of cookware from the original iron masters of the Gorge; have been known to seek advice from the knowledgeable, current day iron masters at the museum and adopted the iconic iron bridge for our logo.
The invitation was irresistible and the opportunity to talk about seasoning iron cookware was the icing on the cake. To appreciate fully the reference to icing, listen to Dr Gray talking about Victorian sweets and the lifting of the sugar tax - history coming full circle.
In this short clip, Jay asks Neil about the seasoning and care of iron cookware.
The programme covered a range of topics and questions from the audience; there was talk of Victorian sweets, including jubes and jellies; a recipe from Fanny Cradock's Common Market Cookery Book; the debunking of the myth of Shropshire Blue cheese; nose to tail eating and a concise and informative history of the local area and its importance to the Industrial Revolution by senior museum curator, Georgina Grant, which led on to a discussion about the emergence of cast iron cookware. Which is where we came in and were delighted to answer Jay's questions about seasoning and washing of iron pots and pans. Whilst the programme talked about cast iron, the same principle applies to all our iron products, from the cast iron casseroles to spun pans and iron bakeware. None of which would look out of place in the museum, but is equally at home in a professional or domestic kitchen today.
On the panel were:
Dr Annie Gray, food historian and author of The Greedy Queen: eating with Victoria, and owner of a Netherton griddle plate (of which more another day)
Sophie Wright (right), chef and food writer with numerous radio and TV appearances to her credit. Her quote of the show for us was "I ONLY cook with cast iron pans", though we do think that she should consider adding a bit of spun iron to her batterie.
Tim Anderson (Right), after winning Masterchef in 2011, American born Tim has gone on to write books about his love affair wth Japanese food and open the Nanban restaurant in London. He can always be relied on to add an element of quirkiness and left field thinking about food. We are definitely going to be trying his beer float, a grown up take on an ice cream soda float.
Rob Owen Brown (left), chef at the Hinchcliffe in Hebden Bridge, is a man after our own hearts; passionate about the provenance of his ingredients and of the opinion that his "product", the meals he serves, should be "honest". By the way, he is also a staunch advocate of cast iron cookware.
Oh yes, we were also pleased to spot our friend Lajina of Masala Magic renown in the audience.