Thursday, November 13, 2008

Products I love: Cast Iron

Hands down, dollar for dollar there is no better deal for cookware than cast iron. People can say what they want about any other cookware and short of some specialties like a carbon steel wok, some bakeware or the odd stainless saucepan I'm going for cast iron. Aluminum? No way, I'm not touching it, I've heard all I want to about aluminum. Teflon impregnated pans? Sorry, a long time ago I worked with Teflon and the warnings on the barrels were enough to never permit me to let food touch it. Fancy copper-clad stuff? Right, for the cost of one saucepan I could outfit an entire kitchen in cast iron and never miss the copper.

I'm opinionated when it comes to cast iron. I'm religious when it comes to cast iron. I come from a long line of down-home, swamp-yankee, cast-iron-cooking-and-loving people. Chances are if I'm cooking in it tonight, it is cast iron.

Cast iron, like wood, cotton and leather has stood the test of time. There's a weird purity and soul in that stuff you know? Cast iron is still out there and available. There's a reason for that. It is because it is SIMPLE and it WORKS. In fact it works well.

As I sit here typing this entry I am surrounded by my cast iron cookware. It inhabits every burner on my stove and there are seven pieces hanging on one wall alone! All manner of frying pans, friers, cauldrons, dutch ovens, griddles, comals and combos.

I love cast iron!

I LOVE cast iron!


There's no excuse not to use it. It holds heat, it's non-stick, it's inexpensive, and now it come pre-seasoned. Plus it's nearly indestructible! Sure, restaurants need stainless and aluminum because they need heat fast and they need it to cool fast. However, in your home kitchen, where food better than ANY restaurant can be cooked at your will, you want cast iron.

Hey single guys, do you want to buy one pan that you can cook everything in? Then grab a decent-sized cast iron dutch oven guys. You can fry, braise, boil, roast, stew, soup, sauce, sauté and almost every-other-dang-cooking-thing in it. Plus, you'll still be cooking in it when you're a grandfather!

In the old days like the 1980's you had a choice between a few well-known manufacturers. There was Wagner and Lodge. Today, in my opinion there is one choice: Lodge. Sure there's the fancy French stuff and one pan can set you back a couple of hundred dollars, but that same pan produced by Lodge can be had for about fifty bucks at your local Hellmart or other outlet.

Sincerely and honest-to-God, I only recommend what I believe in on this blog and I'm giving you my number one, hands down, first choice for a product I love. Buy cast iron folks! Buy it new, by it antique or ask your old aunts and grandmothers for the stuff they don't use. You will not be disappointed.

Oh, and if its rusted? If it looks funky? It can be refreshed, do not throw it away! Scrub it, sandblast it, do anything but throw it away! The stuff has soul people, It absorbs those who use it into it. It becomes part of your family. It deserves to.
Products I love: Cast Iron


  1. This entry is dated, but I am dying to respond to say that I completely agree!!! For a long time I had one large cast iron dutch rusted when I went into labor and left red beans and rice in it for two weeks......a few years later I finally sat down and got the rust out...and became addicted again! At first I slowly collected...a skillet here or there. I inherited a smaller dutch oven and it dawned on me that I could cook 90% of what I need in cast iron. So now my burners are also covered with cast iron. I just ordered a small butter melter. LOVE IT! A question for you: do you boil water (say for rice) in your cast iron? I'd like to buy a small sauce pan but am nervous re water boiling. Thanks and hope you get this long reply!!

  2. Hey SWB,

    I use cast iron for just about 95% of my cooking. That includes sauteing, braising, stews and all kinds of rice dishes. I'm not sure about your concerns, but I know that cooking in cast iron is considered a healthy practice for women because it actually does add a little iron to the diet.