'Tis the season to whip out all your festive family recipes, and in the south, a lot of those are cooked in cast iron skillets. Taste of Home, which is one of my go-to's for great new recipes that are easy and inexpensive, has some tips about what not to cook in your cast iron. Ever.

Full disclosure: I have never mastered the art of cooking in one of these, even though my dad was an unbelievable master when it came to preparing delish meals in cast iron . I inherited a lot from him, but not this. And frankly, I've ruined more than a couple of meals trying to up my cast iron game. Sorry, Dad.

So, even if you think you know everything there is to know about the skillet that was passed down to you from your grandmother, pay attention to the list below. And don't even think about cooking these things in cast iron. You're welcome.

  • Things that smell. If you don't want the taste of lingering garlic in that pan of cinnamon rolls that you're preparing next, avoid cooking anything with a strong smell. Onions, peppers, and even strong cheese are also a no-go.
  • Anything sticky. Like eggs. If you pan is well seasoned, then these are ok. But since that takes a while, you are best off not cooking items that might have to be scraped off the bottom of the pan with a shovel. A seasoned pan is the key.
  • Fish. Not every fish, just the delicate ones like tilapia and trout. They will stick and fall apart. But the bigger, meatier fish are OK. Salmon is a yes.
  • Anything acidic. We're talking about things like tomatoes, and lemons, which can take on the taste of the pan. This is controversial, we know, but best to not ruin your dish if you are not certain.