Cast iron is resurfacing as the "pot that's hot" and is as popular as ever in many home and commercial kitchens
These heavyweights seem to always turn up in our cooking collections. Amidst the stainless and the all-clads are those blackened cast iron pots, Dutch ovens, skillets, and griddles. Indeed, we were once very excited to finally find a favorite - the cornstick shaped muffin pan. One of our favorites in the kitchen is the griddle - for our homemade flour tortillas.
They're stocked at Army Surplus and at fine gourmet stores. You can always spot a few treasures at a garage or estate sale. Don't let those rusty relics frighten you away, either. Grab 'em up and give them a good seasoning.
Lodge is probably the best-known of all cast iron manufacturers. They still sell the same traditional styles that our grandmothers were grabbing up. At one point, they realized their cookware was timeless and, in fact, was lasting a very long time. That was starting to hurt sales, so they began developing a pre-seasoned line as well as some enameled products. Those are strong sellers as are the originals.
Other manufacturers include John Wright and Le Creuset. These are pricier than most Lodge products.
Cast iron is great for serving family-style meals. They hold their heat so well, that it's easy to keep food warm at the table. Just set those big pots in the middle and let everyone have at it. We like the single-serve skillets for specialty meals. However, they do remain very hot to the touch and can make eating a bit touchy if you're not careful.
Most country cooks will swear by cornbread cooked in cast iron. Rice is also a delightful surprise for new users. Another wonderful things about cast iron is that it can go from stovetop to oven and straight to the campfire.
The main advantage to cast iron is its even heat distribution. It may take longer to heat than other cooking materials, but once it get there, it's easy to maintain and will stay warm on all parts, including up the sides.
The weight of cast iron outweighs its few deficiencies. If not probably seasoned, you should never use it to cook eggs. They'll stick. Sauces are also best left to other types of pans, regardless of seasoning level. Even the best cared for pot will sometimes require a full re-seasoning. That's typically back into the oven with a good coating of oil. Then, it's good for a few more decades.
In fact, this is
a great hand-me-down that will be treasured for years to come. And any
cookware made in cast iron will be a terrific gift.
2005-2006 C.K. Kennedy
Pittsburg, TX 75686
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