Favorite Things: Crystal Mioner and her cast iron pan

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Crystal Mioner, a DJ who performs as ETTA, helps promote other artists’ creative endeavors with her organization, the Mioner Agency.  

My favorite thing is my cast iron pan. I got it from my mom, who got it from her mom. It’s been in our family for 30 years. It saw a lot of food. It fed us really well during my childhood. 

It’s one of those items I couldn’t imagine cooking without just because it’s so versatile. I remember when I was kid I got in a lot of trouble, because my mom misplaced it. For some reason, she thought I had misplaced it. I remember being 11 years old and being told, “Crystal, I know you took the pan.” And I was just thinking, “I literally have no idea where this pan is.” I did end up finding it, because just the week before we had got a new oven. She mostly stored her pans in the oven, and she had never taken the pan out of the old oven. Luckily, it was still in our backyard area. That was quite a moment in our family.

I use it every day, if not every other day. I use it for my breakfast. I roasted chicken with it last night. My mom passed away about six years ago, and it’s one of the few things I have left from her possessions. There was a bit of a mishap when I was cleaning out her house. There was a lot of stuff I got rid of that I was supposed to keep, but I made sure I kept the cast iron pan in a safe place. 

She was Midwestern and a big proponent of fried food. My favorite meal she would cook for me was her fried pork chops. She would usually serve it with corn and white bread. I could eat that meal every day. Even though my better-self says, “Hey, that’s probably not super great for you.” I would still eat it every day. 

I definitely feel like there is a lineage within the item. It was hard for me to conceptualize what my favorite thing is. I don’t assign too much value to most material possessions. I DJ, so I thought, “Should I say my record player, or a record?” I thought about what I actually use in my everyday life; what has utility to me. I ended up choosing the pan, possibly because I don’t think about it at all, because it’s always there and present. That’s also kind of true about family, we can take it for granted. We can forget about how their presence impacts us and how much we rely on it, until it’s not there anymore. I recalled the history of the pan — my mom got it from her mom right before I was born. I’ve always had it, and it’s really special to me. 

Interview edited and condensed by Skyler Ashley. If you have a suggestion for Favorite Things, please email Skyler@Lansingcitypulse.com

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