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Feb 22, 2011 02:25 PM

I beg you, can we stop all this hand-wringing and snobbery about cast iron

Look, I use cast iron almost exclusively....and my stuff is not vintage. I cook two to three meals a day in it for the last six years. I didn't inherit heirlooms or bid on Ebay; I bought mine piece by piece. I own LC, Tramontina, Lodge, and el cheapo-beepo from who knows where.

I won't discuss my seasoning routine or my cleaning routine because what I've learned is that there are as many different routines as there are pots and pans. They all work. Just find one that fits your cooking style. I found mine.

Suffice it to say....yes the modern stuff is HEAVY, probably much heavier than those Griswold's you inherited from your grandmother or great aunt Tilly. And yes, when new, the finish on the non-enamel cast iron pots and pans were a little rough at first. .

But here's what you don't know....the more those pans are used; the more they season, and guess what? Those rough surfaces smooth to a slippery deep black finish to which nothing sticks....and to which you can occasionally rinse with a little soap or in which you can cook a tomato or two. Last night I actually deglazed some chicken and onions with orange juice....and the pan was smooth enough to slide a fried egg this morning,

Cook, bake, roast, and fry. That's all you really need to know....and maybe don't ever put a pan away wet.

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  1. well said ambimom. to each there own regarding cooking cuiring and cleaning their own cast iron pot or pan. i have never had any problems with the ones i own some are cheap and some are brand names but they do get better with age and use. dont over do it trying to cure the problem by over seasoning the pan time will make things better

    1. Do the pans themselves (separately from the seasoning) get better over time - e.g., does the rough CI even out, so that if you had to re-season one of the newer pans, over time the bare CI would be smoother and easier to season over?

      1. Bravo, bravo. Cast iron pans are great for many things. Maybe we could all just agree on that.

        1 Reply
        1. re: escondido123

          I agree with that! Cast iron--good. Snobbery--bad.

        2. Hi, Ambimom: I'm sorry. I missed your point about snobbery. Who's being snobbish and about what? The people who have the French and older American CI?

          Personally, I think the thicker and heavier cast iron is, the more even heating it allows. To this degree (and extent), I think modern CI may be qualitatively better *performers* than the older stuff that was designed for woodstove use. The older and French stuff is preferred by many for reasons they themselves may not know or fully understand. And in some ways they are superior. But *you* shouldn't be made to feel inferior for having something else that works for you.

          I sympathize how you might tire of the endless comparative discussions. Me, too. Not long ago, I offered a free piece of LC to anyone who could cause the "LC vs. Staub" thread to be locked down permanently.

          Still, there is a sizeable community of folks here who will--despite your plaintive cry--go on discussing, in all its arcanery, the vaunted makes and brands, seasoning, etc. You will find it's like trying to hold back the tide.

          4 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu

            Actually Ambimom does have a point about the snobbery. I have seen people get the LC and just hang them for show, almost like copperware. I guess these are the people who spend gazzillions remodeling their kitchen and putting in a Viking or similar range but never do much in the kitchen. I see people get great french copperware and never use them. What a waste. I'm more interested in showing off the taste of the finished product than the cookware. My copperware has never been polished and looks real funky.

            1. re: Mikecq

              My absolutely and most favorite pan is a small, copper pan (commercial weight) that I use for everything from boiling eggs to pasta. It heats boiling water almost instantly and nothing else I own (le creuset, staub, Calphalon) can say that. I agree Mikecq that my copper is definitely not polished and the cast iron handle is pretty rugged by now. I love it.

              1. re: ellequint

                Have you had to re-tin your copper-ware? I have one in for over 6 months and hoping for it's return.

              2. re: Mikecq

                As long as they're not wasting MY money, then I don't care. Their house.

            2. Hi Ambimon,

              Gosh, no need to get yourself all worked up!

              If you don't like reading the cast iron threads, don't. Last time I checked, Chowhound wasn't holding a gun to my head forcing me to read threads I didn't want to read.