I have two beloved Griswold cast-iron Dutch ovens that my parents bought decades ago at an antique store. They are at least 80 years old and look like something out of Little House on the Prairie. Every time I lug out these very heavy pots, I think of my late parents: My mom was an American history teacher (and a great cook), and my dad, a jewelry designer, restored the cookware himself. Thirty years later, the surfaces still have a glossy sheen. The pots immediately connect me to my parents and inspire me to cook in a comfort zone they would have loved. My root-vegetable soup is a hearty version of minestrone; beef-goulash soup is fragrant with caraway and paprika. Chicken with biscuit dumplings is my only nod to old-timey traditional Americana; it’s something the pots’ original owners might have cooked themselves.