Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do you love cast iron cookware?



I am going to indulge in some reminiscences here, so if you get bored, just quit reading, ok? :) As I was frying some potatoes in my smallest cast iron pan this morning for my husband's breakfast, I was thinking about how cast iron cookware has impacted my life. My first memory of this was in my parents' home. Mommie had a standard sized skillet that she used for many things, including cooking the best T-bone steaks in the world, fried chicken (which she did every Sunday) and pork chops. I loved how she did the pork chops. She fried them until they were very very done. Oooo! How good they tasted and salty! Back in those days, we still worried about trichinosis from undercooked pork. I think that is much less of a concern now.

When my very Dear Husband and I got married, someone gave us a cast iron Dutch Oven with a lid. At the time, I had NO idea how important that particular item was going to be to me. I have used it hundreds of times, to make soups, breads and stews.



The photo above shows you the HUGE cast iron skillet I have. It is the wonderful old Griswold brand, a 12 inch skillet. Back in 1976, we rented a house in Aurora, Nebraska (USA). When we moved in, the house was nice and clean and there was nothing left behind in it, EXCEPT, this wonderful old skillet was in the basement. I guess the people that lived there before just didn't want it. We cleaned it up and it has been so useful. Above I'm browning some pork chops in it. I've made huge batches of pasta, used it for baking large loaves of bread, made stir-fries, pot pies, cooked outside over a fire in it ~ Johnny cakes, pancakes, biscuits, steaks.... One of my daughters loves this skillet so much that we joke that when she hears of my demise, she will rush to the house and take it away before anyone notices. ;)

And then there are all the other pieces I have accumulated, most of them at garage sales and thrift stores through the years ~ a 12 inch Dutch oven with a recessed lid for outdoor cooking, a round flat griddle, a 10 inch skillet, a corn dodger pan, a large wok, 5 bread pans, a pie dish and a footed round bottomed soup pot that I use on a tripod over an outdoor fire.



...and I LOVE cast iron. It is nearly indestructible, very versatile and pleasant to use. For a long time, I bought into the notion that your cast iron had to have a proper "seasoning." Not that there is anything wrong with having your pans seasoned, but I have found, thanks to Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS, that if you use sufficient fat, you don't need to be concerned about things sticking and getting ruined. Now that I know that such things as butter, extra-virgin coconut oil and kettle-rendered lard are actually GOOD for us, it makes cooking much easier.

Do YOU love cast iron? Do you have any?

20 comments:

  1. I have just 1 pan (12 inch?) that I received as a gift in 2008. I LOVE it, but my love didn't truly develop until late last year when I really learned how to use it!

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  2. I love cast iron, I just got a cornbread pan and I love making pizza in my skillet:D

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  3. I didn't grow up with cast iron. I received 2 pans when I got married, and I am still learning to use them. I count on tips from bloggie-friends like you!

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  4. I use cast iron for cooking all the time now, I have 2 smallish skillets, 1 large one, and a stir fry pan that is cast iron.

    I dont think I would like to go back to cooking with anything else.

    Tania

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  5. I love my cast iron. I have one Griswold and the rest are other brands, no matter, I love them all. I have a small one like yours and the girls love it for making an egg or two for themselves.
    I have an expensive set of Lifetime cookwear that I use but nothing will ever replace my cast iron.

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  6. I love my cast iron as well! My cast iron pans and pots are my favorite!

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  7. Hope all is well! I am emailing you because I have a few questions about the awesome sewing machine that you gave me. Did you ever quilt a quilt on the machine? If so how did you do it? My second question is how do I service my machine? You said it was so easy and I am sure it is beyond time to clean it and oil it. I really do love it! I am very happy to have it. It works like a charm We are coming to Indiana this weekend so I hope we will see you on Sunday!

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  8. Can you send me your email? Mine is bootstrapdko@yahoo.com

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  9. ast iron is the best. I have several as well, and I think that they have all come from yard sales or Goodwill. There is at least 2 Griswolds in the mix. I have at least one 8 inch skillet, two 10inch skillets, one 6 inch skillet, one 10 inch dutch oven, one 10 inch griddle. And when you meet your demise I will have all of yours too! Just kidding. I would much rather have you around then to take your cast iron. Love you Mom!

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  10. I just recently got my first cast iron skillet. How do you clean yours? The directions say not to use soapy water on it and to oil it when finished cleaning it. Any tips on cooking/using cast iron would be great!

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  11. Renee, I just wash my cast iron like my other pots and pans. For a long time I tried to apply and maintain a good "seasoning" but for me it never worked out too well. As soon as I'd cook something with tomatoes, the seasoning would be gone. Now, I just make sure that when I fry, I use plenty of lard or other good healthy fat the can stand the heat. And I don't use any cooking oils other than extra-virgin olive oil in most of my cooking. I have ordered some cold pressed sunflower oil, and plan to mix it half and half with the EVOO for making mayonnaise. Good luck with your skillet!

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  12. I have two dutch ovens, a standard skilled an a large grill/griddle. The only piece I use in the house is the grill/griddle. The rest we have packed away with the camping supplies. I guess I need to bring it out. I have to admit that even though I like cooking with it, I don't like cleaning it. I find it a pain.

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  13. If you use enough fat, it is usually a breeze to clean up.

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  14. I have a Favorite Piqua Ware griddle that had a wooden handle . I have about half of the handle to use as a guide to make a new one, is there anyone who knows about handles?

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    Replies
    1. Nancy, have you checked online to see if you could purchase a part? Or is that item too old. Good luck.

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  15. I recently purchased a Wagnor 1891 Orginal Edition of the 5quart cast iron Dutch Oven!? Upon reading info on another site I read that these 1891 editions were Wagnors last go at making them and they were all made in early 1990's if they say 1891 is this correct? On the very bottom after the logo and instructions it just says 5 Qt. DUTCH OVEN MADE IN USA THEN UNDER ALL THAT HAS JUST THE LETTER. ....Z? I WAS JUST WONDERING THE VALUE IF ONE because the previous site states they hav no value and i bought it because i like old antique collectibles? Thks!

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    Replies
    1. Carrie, I suggest you contact this man:

      https://www.facebook.com/theculinaryfanatic?fref=ts

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  16. I just bought cast iron and i am really proud and impressed of it, really made it easier with the cooking food!

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