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Advantages, Disadvantages and Uses of a cast Iron skillet

I'd like to have a discussion on cast iron skillets. I keep seeing people rave about them. I don't own one myself but could be talked into it.

It would seem to me that the best use for one is searing because of the heat distribution and it can take high heat. However, I can sear with a lot of pans.

ADVANTAGES:

A well seasoned skillet is stick free.
You can sear and move to oven with 1 pan.
They are very cheap.
They last a lifetime if properly cared for.

DISADVANTAGES:

They are very heavy.
They are a bit of a hassle to take care of and maintain.
They are a bit of a hassle to season but you can buy them pre-seasoned.
Storing a greasy pan in the cabinets just doesn't seem right so it has to be stored in the oven or on the cooktop.

Would anyone like to share their opinion?

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  1. Under advantages, I'd add the ability to maintain a steady heat, and also, you list the maintenance as a disadvantage but I disagree. My CI takes a lot of abuse, to whit, when I make 'cream gravy' after frying chicken, I spoon most of it out, leaving a pretty good layer in the pan, then (here's the kicker) set it on the cool stovetop overnight. The next morning I just peel out the dried gravy, give it a good swish with a sponge and HOT water, then dry it by placing it over medium heat for a few minutes. (As I smile about a magic kitchen and tip my hat towards the sky.. and Sam Fujisaka.) If it seems to need it, I'll give it a quick swipe with an oiled paper towel. It then goes into my cabinet, no problem.

    However, for only one thing I can think of, I prefer a nonstick pan (cheapo walmart special) - fried eggs. I like to be able to *immediately* control the heat when making eggs if I need to adjust something, which isn't so easy in cast iron.

    So really, its advantages also seem to be its disadvantages.

    14 Replies
    1. re: shanagain

      Forgot to add, conventional wisdom (ie, I haven't googled this to refute or confirm) states that iron leaches into food from cooking in cast iron.

        1. re: Becca Porter

          You know, I think in some cases it might not be - something scratching at the back of my brain that I *will* have to google... Ah, nevermind, that's iron poisoning which generally occurs from a child overdosing on iron pills.

          For the rest of us, yes, good for us!

          1. re: shanagain

            In some cases, it is not a good thing. Some people (myself included) have too much iron in their blood. I certainly don't need more. When that happens, you have to be careful about what you eat as getting too much can cause liver problems.

        2. re: shanagain

          How does a properly seasoned cast iron pan leach iron?

          1. re: pabboy

            I think small fragments chip off into the food...like iron dust. I could be mistaken. I didn't think it was leaching really.

            1. re: Becca Porter

              Seasoning is a layer of polymerized fat. How does the iron get through that layer?

            2. re: pabboy

              I'm not entirely sure, but here's a very informative link on the veracity of the claim (and yes, it does add iron): http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/does-c...

              1. re: shanagain

                But that article explains that to get a significant amount of iron into your food you would have to do what most of us would never do. Simmer an acidic sauce for a long time. Guaranteed to make your sauce taste terrible.

                It's also strange that they caution against frying in cast iron...

                1. re: kengk

                  I noticed that as well. It makes you wonder if by breaking down the seasoning via a long acidic soak you then jumpstart the "leaching" effect.

                  And yeah, because it can turn the oil rancid? That was weird.

                2. re: shanagain

                  GoAskAlice doesn't say whether the cast iron was seasoned or not. I'm unable to access the article cited in Journal of Food Science.

                  1. re: pabboy

                    It isn't necessary to read the full article. If seasoning were considered, it would have been mentioned in the abstract. Testing the effects of seasoning would be a lot of work, as there is a great deal of variation in how seasoning is done.

                    1. re: pabboy

                      Unfortunately that's the best I could do for you. You might consult google and see if you can find better information.

              2. re: shanagain

                Peeling the dried gravy off the next morning sounds like a good trick.

                Oh.... another advantage would be that you can use metal utensils such as spatulas and tongs, unlike with a non stick pan.

              3. <the best use for one is searing because of the heat distribution and it can take high heat>

                Probably not even heat distribution if you that is what you mean.

                I like to iterate that a well seasoned cast iron skillet is stick free and can take on high temperature. This is somewhat unusual. A Teflon pan can be much more nonstick, but it cannot take on very high temperatures. A stainless steel cladded cookware can take on relative high temperatures, but is not stick less at such conditions.

                <Storing a greasy pan in the cabinets just doesn't seem right so it has to be stored in the oven or on the cooktop.>

                Storage really shouldn't be a problem because you really don't need to store a very greasy pan.

                A disadvantage of seasoned cast iron cookware is that they are not suitable for prolong cooking of very acidic foods. The acidic condition will degrade the seasoning surface.

                1. I take exception to your list of disadvantages, in some respects:

                  "Heavy" is only a disadvantage when you pay postage to mail it, or when you take it backpacking. In your own kitchen, it's no disadvantage at all. If you can't lift it, you need a smaller one.

                  My iron skillet is the easiest to maintain of all my pans. Just hand wash in hot water, rinse, dry with paper towel and heat. Done.

                  Pre-seasoning is useless. The seasoning is not the hassle some here make it out to be. I think some people just like fiddling with it, so they pretend it's something akin to sorcery.

                  Your iron pan should NOT be greasy when it's stored! Mine is always clean and dry. Even so, I often leave it on the stovetop where it's handy,

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: GH1618

                    They are heavy. They get even heavier when filled with food. Ergo, a disadvantage. We don't need to pretend being heavy is not a disadvantage. There seems to be plenty of genuine advantages to counter balance the disadvantages.

                    Ah,,, another disadvantage is a hot handle...easily dealt with but another type of pan has a cool handle but can't be put in the oven.

                    Your method for cleaning your pan sounds like what everybody else does with their non stick skillet. Well, minus the reheating to sweat any residual moisture out. To be fair, I season my non stick electric skillet after washing. I find the non stick coating and it's ability to stay non stick lasts longer.

                    What do you do with your pan? I assume there are other uses beside searing.

                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                      I just discovered a new use for my iron pan. Instead of baking a couple of potatoes for dinner in the usual way, I now cut one potato in half the long way, and place it in the skillet open face down, then bake. It cooks faster and more evenly than baking it whole. I started this just because I wanted smaller portions, but I like the result better.

                      I also reheat leftovers in the oven in the iron skillet i preference to the microwave.

                      Breakfast potatoes, and especially corned beef hash, are best done in cast iron. That is reason enough to have one, I think.

                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                        No, I'm sorry I'm still not getting it. I just don't see what is wrong with "heavy". My CI pan isn't big or that heavy really. I like the way the weight sits it firmly on the stove top.

                        The way the handle gets hot is a disadvantage, I concede that. It's a very small disadvantage sorted by using a cloth.

                        1. re: jhamiltonwa

                          Some people have physical issues preventing them from lifting/moving heavy pans.

                      2. re: GH1618

                        Exactly. Mine is the easiest thing to clean and I use it everyday for almost everything. It is not dirty or greasy. Other pans just never cook right. Mine was bought in 1918 by my grandmother. You can't get more value than that.
                        Do you own wooden salad bowl? You have to season that at the beginning and not wash with detergent. If you can look after a salad bowl you can look after a CI pan.

                      3. I have four CI skillets of varying sizes including a flat one and I use them all fairly regularly. I can't remember the last time I had to reseason them in the oven. After rinsing them with hot water and giving them a mild scrub if necessary (never any soap), I wipe them out with a towel. If the spirit moves me, I some times wipe them with an oily paper towel, but I do that rarely. I hang them from a rafter in the kitchen when not in use. If I had to store a skillet in the cabinet and I had just oiled it, I would put a clean paper towel in it, but that's not an issue for me. I don't use them to cook high acid foods like tomatoes and don't use them for scrambled eggs.

                        I can use higher heat to sear meat than I can in my other skillets and can finish cooking in the oven without using another dish. CI makes great grilled sandwiches with another one to weight it down. I use my flat CI to make crepes and to heat tortillas.

                        I think that nice seasoning comes from usage over time. Sure, you have to preseason it initially, but I think it only gets good after a lot of use,

                        The one exception I've had to using CI is the Dutch oven I bought years ago. I detected an iron taste in the food I made in it and stored it away some place. I've had thoughts of resurrecting it to use for making no-knead bread.

                        1. Another Disadvantage: Takes a long time to heat up

                          Another Advantage / Disadvantage: Holds it heat

                          For me, it's a great tool for the right job. But as most things in life, it's not the best tool for all jobs.

                          The only things that even comes close to meeting that requirement is cold hard cash.

                          1. I love my CI. I can't imagine cooking corned beef hash, hash browns, or a frittata (sp?) in anything else.

                            And I'm going to try GH's idea for baking potatoes!

                            1. I use it to sear, fry chicken, have a recipe for peach upside down cake that I have made, corn bread, bacon and eggs, I have had some heat more evenly than others for some reason and you can tell if you make gravy in it how evenly it heats. The fact that heat transfers slowly in cast iron also is what makes it great for searing. All of mine are old and machined. I have also read where people preheat a skillet to make pizza. There are many versions, some with the skillet upside down.
                              http://www.theatlantic.com/health/arc...
                              They are heavy especially the bigger ones and I do tend to cook with bigger pans. I suppose for some it wouldn't be an issue but the older you get it is or if you have any issues like arthritis.

                              1. I have well over a dozen pieces of heirloom cast iron pans that have been handed down to me.

                                I have a little skillet that my great grandmother used to bake cornbread in that I use for the same purpose. It's at least a hundred years old but It may have been that old when she got it!

                                I have another skillet that I use to fry fish or chicken in because it is the widest pan I own, will fit a whole cut up fryer without crowding in one batch.

                                Other than those two things, my cast iron sits and gathers dust because I greatly prefer the All-clad and a few other more specialized pieces.

                                My wife has a non-stick pan that she uses for eggs. I don't have any use myself for a non-stick pan so it is a non-issue to me.

                                I have seen several posts comparing new to old and the new pre-seasoned stuff. I really dislike the new rough finish they are turning out now. I bought a piece of Lodge 3-4 years ago because I wanted a slightly bigger corn bread pan. Ended up using it for a lead pot.

                                1. I have a couple of additional questions:

                                  1. Do some come with lids and is there an advantage or use for a lid?

                                  2. When people talk about seasoning, they are talking the inside cooking surface of the C.I. skillet. However, the skillets I have seen are as black outside as in. I assume that just naturally happens over time. Should you go ahead and season the outside too when you get a new pan?

                                  3. Are the nes pans rougher than the old pans as Kengk indicates?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                    1. I don't use a cast iron lid but another lid that fits except for my dutch oven. I use that lid. I suppose it would slightly increase the pressure inside the pot but not sure if it is significant

                                    2.I would season inside and out initially.

                                    3 Almost all new pans that I have seen are rough. It seems like someone on these boards talked about some made in Japan that were machined but I can't find it now.

                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                      Answers for

                                      1) No, my skillet does not come with a lid. A lid can be useful, but it does not have to be a cast iron lid. Thus, the advantage of a matching lid is not important to me

                                      2) I seasoned the exterior anyway, because it does not take much time to include it. However, you are correct. The exterior will get seasoned over time from spilling oil.

                                      3) Yes, the modern cast iron skillets have rougher surface than the older ones. However, I don't see that as being a huge disadvantage. If you really prefer a smooth surface and lighter weight, then go for a carbon steel fry pan instead. Usually made thinner and therefore lighter. The surface is always as smooth as mirror.

                                      http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I...

                                    2. a couple more plugs for cast iron:
                                      1) For blackened fish (not as popular now as in the 80's, but just as good today), it's the only way.
                                      2) For intruders climbing in through a window, I'm going with the cast iron rather than the non-stick.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        I have #2 taken care of... Never heard it called a Cast Iron skillet. I have a Glock "Cast Iron Skillet". Did I mention I'm in Texas? .... where lil old ladies pack heat.

                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                          >I have #2 taken care of... Never heard it called a Cast Iron skillet. I have a Glock "Cast Iron Skillet".<

                                          LOL, I understand. But it doesn't hurt to have a handy cast iron skillet back up.

                                          As for storing the cast iron. Mine is never ever stored greased. They are always dry. I wash them in soap and water if needed, and don't think twice about scrubbing if necessary. I always use metal utensils.

                                          I use my CI skillet to cook anything that I would use a skillet for. Unless the dish calls for simmering a long time with something acidic, then I use something else. I fry, saute, and make gravy's in mine. Grill cheese sandwiches and most any bread (particularly cornbread) is the best in cast iron. Fried eggs, scrambled eggs and omlets are done in my cast iron. One of my new favorite things to use my cast iron for is roasting vegetables. Another favorite dish in my cast iron is greens. Turnip greens, collards, mustard greens are the best, I think.
                                          I guess the only thing I don't cook in it is tomato dishes that need to be cooked long. I will use my enameled cast iron for that. If it is just tomatoes thrown in at the end of the cooking, I will go for it in the CI. I just love the taste of food in the CI.

                                          Fried green tomatoes and fried okra must be cooked in a CI skillet.

                                          Oh and I almost forgot. Green beans are great in the CI too. As well as other beans. These are cooked in the CI dutch oven though. Unless they are refried beans. Then they are in the skillet.
                                          I guess it just depends on the kind of cooking you like to do. The weight isn't a problem for me with the helper handles on the new skillets.

                                          The seasoning that comes on the skillets is awful. It is best to get it off and start over. It always pops off anyway, in my experiance. Don't worry about the roughness. They smooths over with use and more layers of seasoning. If you have no experiance with CI, it will probably seem like a pain at first. But with time, you will likely come to appreciate it.

                                          I love it and find it very versatile. It can go from the inside kitchen to the outside kitchen without a hitch. CI works great on the grill or campfire.

                                          I do have one CI lid, but usually use one of my stainless or glass lids from one of my other pans.

                                          Oh thought of another dish. Corn. Fried corn in a CI skillet is divine. Popcorn in a CI dutch oven is great too.

                                          My aunt made caramel for her caremel icing in her CI skillet. Pineapple upside down cake is yummy fixed in a CI dutch oven. And then there is pan cakes..........

                                          Though CI is pretty much non-stick once the seasoning as progressed enough and you learn how to cook in it, it is not as non stick as a new teflon skillet. I don't think anything is as nonstick as that.

                                        2. re: Veggo

                                          My DIL got a shower gift of a cast iron pan with a label made up and attached calling it the "Smith Kerbonker". I guess for her husband's head.

                                        3. The question about the lid was probably unnecessary. I have one of those lids that will fit an 8 inch, 10 inch or 12 inch pan.

                                          I'm glad to see some recommendations for seasoning the outside of the pan, too. It is gonna get black anyway and I certainly don't want it rusting.

                                          I hate to but if I get cast iron, I think I will have to get 2. When I cook steaks, I usually make 3. Two ribeyes would fit in one 12 inch skillet but I would have to have a second one for the third.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                            There is a restaurant in Santa Fe where the chef makes his famous rib eyes in a cast iron skillet....
                                            Never have tasted a ribeye like that...probably never will.
                                            He should be doing commercials for the company.

                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                              >I'm glad to see some recommendations for seasoning the outside of the pan, too. It is gonna get black anyway and I certainly don't want it rusting. <

                                              Yes the outside needs to be seasoned the same as the inside. The handle too.

                                              Ribeye steaks and any steak is great in CI. I have cooked all kinds of steaks in mine. As well as roast, chicken, fish, venison (yuk) rabbit and squirrel (yummmm). My mom even cooked frog legs in hers. Not me. I don't do frog legs. Though I would cook them for someone else, I guess. They freaked me out when I was little. They jump around in the skillet. I am thinking now that maybe cutting a ligament or something would have prevented that................

                                            2. I store my seasoned CI in a cabinet drawer. They are wiped down thoroughly before storing.

                                              If you want to mess around with one, just buy a smaller size Lodge and see for yourself.

                                              Though heavy, CI skillets are not impossibly so for this 65 year old female. And, the most useful size for you might be one of the smaller sizes anyway.

                                              1. The pan shouldn't be greasy. I have no problems storing my pans. But then I actually wash them.

                                                1. One point on the acquisition of a good cast-iron skillet - you can find great 100-year-old Griswolds on eBay for $50 or so, shipping included. Seems a shame to buy a brand-new pan when you can find one that was much better-made in the days when people relied on them.

                                                  I keep my #8 on top of the stove because I use it so often. As others have mentioned, it's not good to cook acidic foods in it, but I find it's superior to non-stick for heat retention and I can fry just about anything in it, transfer it to the oven if I need to, and it's easy to clean.

                                                  1. Unless you are collector looking for a specific piece for your collection or clearly understand what you are buying beyond the Griswold name, I would avoid eBay like the plague.

                                                    There are a few there that put outrageous prices on skillets re-listing them again and again until a rube shows up and purchases the item. Also the use of shills to drive up bidding is common enough to be a problem.

                                                    If you live in an area that has a decent flea market, garage sales or even an iron scrap yard you can get a good pan for less than 10 bucks.

                                                    In the past week or so I have picked up skillets in the following denominations: a #12 BSR, a #10 WagnerWare, a #10 Griswold, a #8 Griswold, two #5 WagerWare, a #3 Griswold, a #3 Wagner Ware, an unmarked #8 chicken fryer with a Wagner glass lid. Come to think of it I also got three #24 Le Creuset pans (two with the black bottom and one entirely enameled) along with my best find… A vintage Toas Tite.

                                                    The total cost of the above? $43.75 and a sore shoulder from lugging all that back to my car.

                                                    The prices that most people are seeing on eBay (and antique shows) are inflated because folks are spreading a mythology around the mystical properties of Griswold skillets. When in fact the market spoke about the quality of the pan and the preference for more durable skillets as produced by Wagner, Lodge and BSR. That preference effectively drove Griswold out of business. The Griswold mythology is also driving prices up on non-collector pieces and as long as folks pay inflated prices, well, the prices will continue to rise until they hit the scream point for the uneducated buyer.

                                                    Griswold are great looking skillets and they work just fine. But goodness, paying more than 20 bucks total (shipping included) for a used cast iron skillet that will sit on your stove? That's a head scratcher for me…

                                                    Get outside, get some fresh air, have some fun and get a pan you can hold before you buy. It's cheap fun - made even less expensive by haggling.

                                                    21 Replies
                                                    1. re: slowshooter

                                                      slowshooter, if most of us could pick up the kind of things you seem to be finding, we would. I live in upstate NY, and I virtually never see a single cast iron skillet at a flea market or in a thrift store. I'd love to know where you're shopping - Le Creuset at a flea market?

                                                      Yes, you have to be a discerning buyer on eBay, but it's like any other transaction: you have to be aware of feedback, and you have to look at the description closely. If you don't like what you see, you pass and look for a better deal. It's all about patience - eBay isn't about "getting it now"; it's about pouncing when you finally see what you want.

                                                      As for the quality of Griswold - I can only tell you that I own quite a few, and the slant Griswolds are lighter, seem to conduct heat more quickly, and are aesthetically more pleasing than any other cast-iron skillets I own (and I do have a few modern Lodges and such).

                                                      1. re: caravan70

                                                        Try some of the antique malls as well and yard sales. I have found all kinds of cookware at these types of sales.

                                                        1. re: caravan70

                                                          No swap meet cast iron available? That's messed up. I used to call it "cast-cast iron" because people were just trying to toss it out. I'm on the other side of the country, because of the weather here you can throw a rock in any direction and hit a swap meet or garage sale.

                                                          Every once in awhile I go to a thrift store to look for one particular thing but never find what I want. Also, out here estate sales seem to be overpriced as it's usually descendants trying to turn Mom's stuff into as much gas money as possible. As always, Craigslist is a crap shoot with a few folks trying to turn every pan into a giant liquidity event…

                                                          At swap meets some folks try to use the highest Ebay price to justify their pricing - but when I hear "that's listed on eBay for XXX.00" I just keep walking.

                                                          Occasionally you run into someone that is just flat out trying to rip people off. Once I picked up a #8 Wagner and asked the price. Was told it was a rare size and it was worth 60 dollars. I asked what size it was and the woman pointed to the -O- on the back of the pan and said it was a rarest of rarities… A near-mint condition size "zero". Didn't want to dispute her by telling that the -O- stood for Ohio… So I asked about the number 8 on the handle. Watching the wheels turn was like watching a 1880s steam-powered NASCAR race. Finally she blurted out that it wasn't the size I was looking at but that the 8 stood for 8th of a set of 10 - and it was even more collectable since it was a high number. Lol. Wut? 30 minutes later I had the same pan from a guy down the block for 3 bucks.

                                                          Glad you like your Griswold, I like mine too. IMO, if folks are in a place where they can't get used skillets then eBay as the place of last resort is okay - but a little education can save folks a bunch of dinero online.

                                                          When I did my addition forgot I purchased a 3 quart Guardian Ware pot (no lid) for a buck and will have to up the number to $44.75…

                                                          1. re: slowshooter

                                                            . I used to call it "cast-cast iron" because people were just trying to toss it out.
                                                            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                            Yep, this is the case where I live. I mentioned under another thread that women of my grandmother's generation threw it under the cellar stairs (or in the barn) as soon as they could afford "modern" pots and pans.

                                                            The Griswold mania is creeping into the area though as I just recently learned there are people looking to buy the large ones.

                                                            1. re: cleobeach

                                                              It's happening around here as well. I see folks offering #8 Griswolds (the most common one) online from 75 to 125 bucks. The reality is that if someone had to do an advertising campaign for Griswold today, the first ad would have the headline:

                                                              "Pans so good - we went out of business."

                                                              Conversely a Lodge ad would read:

                                                              "Pans so bad, every household has one and that's why we've been around for over a hundred years."

                                                              What is driving Griswold mania is perceived value and relative scarcity. They're decent pans but they got passed over by previous generations for a reason. Folks wanted durability and weight because those are the top benefits of having cast iron in the first place.

                                                              Lodge won the market by eventually delivering the clunky, heavy and heavy duty cast iron that Grandma recommended we all buy as our first pan. Why did Grandma recommend that? Because it worked the best as a cast iron cooking implement.

                                                              Buying a light and thin cast iron pan reminds me of buying a futon. No matter how finely manufactured, when you buy a futon all you really get is a lousy bed and a lousy couch.

                                                              Griswolds are fine for cooking over medium heat. But when I want to bang pans together, use high heat or just go car camping with a skillet in trunk - those Griswolds are the last pans I would reach for. They just don't hold up as well as other pans despite the craftsmanship that is apparent in their manufacture.

                                                              1. re: slowshooter

                                                                When do you want to bang pans together? Is that some sort of hillbilly band instrument?

                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                  You should see me with spoons. I whip my mullet back and forth.

                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                    >Is that some sort of hillbilly band instrument?<

                                                                    Now, now, now. Some of us 'hillbillys' take offense to that term. The politicaly correct term is 'Appalachian American' ;o) (not that it changes who we are)
                                                                    We are creative enough and so musicaly inclined that we can and have made music out of most anything. As well as creative enough that we can cook anything we want to in our cast iron pots and pans, no matter what the name or mark or number or lack thereof, is on the pot or skillet.

                                                                    I am quite certain that I can cook anything in any one of my lard seasoned, new Lodge skillets, than anyone else can do in a flaxoil seasoned Griswold.
                                                                    And should it turn out that I can't, then it is because I don't have the ability or knowledge to do it.

                                                                    1. re: dixiegal

                                                                      No offense intended. There are plenty of Appalachian Americans in my ancestry.

                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                        In PA, banging pans was also an activity when newlyweds returned from their honeymoon.

                                                                        1. re: REFFI

                                                                          Ah, yes, banging newlyweds......

                                                                    2. re: GH1618

                                                                      Banging pans together is a PA New Year's Eve tradition.

                                                                    3. re: slowshooter

                                                                      Thank you slowshooter. My sentiments exactly. If lodge is so bad and the griswalds and wagoners so great......well lodge is still in business for some reason. If thinness, lighter weight, and a glass smooth surface was so important to me, I would just go with carbon steel. I always choose my lodge over my vintage ci for cooking.

                                                                      Oh and for the record. I just finished the seasoning process on a new lodge skillet using lard and followed the directions for the flax oil thing by that Cantor person. My skillet looks exactly like her flaxoil skillet. So, in my experiment, it was her method that made my skillet look like hers and not the flaxoil.

                                                                      1. re: slowshooter

                                                                        "What is driving Griswold mania is perceived value and relative scarcity."

                                                                        True of many overpriced items cleverly marketed and hyped extensively, eh?

                                                                        I'm sure Griswolds are fine pans but I have a WagnerWare and 3 no-names and have never had a complaint about their performance.

                                                                2. re: slowshooter

                                                                  Not all Griswolds were made the same. Yes, you need to know how to read the makers marks on the pans and know what you are getting. Cheap is not the definer of a good deal. Knowing what to avoid is just as important.

                                                                  1. re: slowshooter

                                                                    I agree about purchasing on ebay. I had a bad experience trying to buy a Griswold skillet advertised as perfect. When it came, I could clearly see that the bottom of the skillet was not flat. I laid a ruler over the bottom and saw that the center had coned down. There was no way it could sit level. The seller was a royal pain to deal with.

                                                                    I do like the 3 Griswolds I bought as I found them, but I like my old no name skillet too. I do prefer the older ones to modern Lodges, but if you can't find an old one don't be afraid to buy a Lodge. An old skillet will turn up sooner or later.

                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                      On ebay now they really put the burden on the seller no matter what they say in their listing. If you don't get what you paid for any reason, they put it back to the seller. A picture showing it wasn't level would get them(ebay) to reverse charges. Even if something arrives broken, it is up to the seller to make it good. I was looking into this because I wanted to sell a few things. If you are selling it is up to you to pay for insurance if you want it and make sure you charge enough in shipping to cover it. I had the same issue with another seller for a round bottom pot too a while ago and they were nasty too.

                                                                      1. re: wekick

                                                                        I got my money back, but the seller was a pain. He whined about his personal problems. I sent the item back the cheapest way for his sake (he gave no instructions) and he went ballistic when the UPS guy left a note on his door. After a lot of thought I downrated him because he hadn't been honest in the item description, and he really gave me a bad mark, calling me difficult and other things.

                                                                        This has been several years ago. It was the last time I dealt with anyone selling through ebay. But previous to that, I bought some antique china that was packed poorly, arrived broken and was a headache to get the insurance on. The first thing that seller "said" through the email was, "Oh dear, I hope you aren't going to down rate me."

                                                                        I don't need anything sold on ebay enough to deal with the headaches the sellers often provide.

                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                          We buy quite a few things even from Europe and 99.9% of the time there are no problems but I think it depends on what kind of stuff you buy. The funniest thing was a lady sent a plate from England in an envelope, with no padding...and it made it. Now, if the seller gives you any trouble, you can go right to ebay and get your money back.

                                                                          1. re: wekick

                                                                            OK. I'll keep that in mind. Honestly I don't need anything. I am downsizing and I need to sell stuff on ebay! Not.

                                                                  2. I think it boils down to preferences.. we have a 12 in, cast iron skillet. It is rarely used... it's heavy-hard to toss food with and we just don't cook many foods that use it's advantages.

                                                                    We do have non stick and stainless. Especially like the stainless for fond based sauces. In this case, the stikyness of stainless is more ideal.

                                                                    At work it's all aluminum which works fine and a lot less hassle with cleaning issues.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: bbqJohn

                                                                      Yes. CI skillets for food tossing would be less than ideal for sure.

                                                                    2. Maintenance for me takes less time than stainless steel.

                                                                      For the handles I always use these and they prevent someone from burns if they go to move a pan that still has residual heat.
                                                                      https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefron...

                                                                      A Lodge 5 qt Dutch oven and a 10 1/4" skillet share the same cover. So there are some ways to get the covers without spending additional money on individual ones.

                                                                      Oiling should be a very thin coat. It shouldn't look oily, it should look like a pre-seasoned Lodge pan looks in the store. For some, oiling is a necessity and for others it's not a problem. If you are having rust problems then you need to oil. Seasoning is not the universal solution as you may prefer a cast iron pan to have little to no seasoning on parts of the pan. For me that is how I prefer my grill pan. People bring up that the oil can go rancid. That is true but I would rather remove the rancid oil prior to cooking than remove rust. Long term storage is better with food grade mineral oil.

                                                                      I haven't used a non-stick pan for eggs in years. Cast iron, carbon steel and even stainless steel all work for me.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: SanityRemoved

                                                                        >People bring up that the oil can go rancid. That is true but I would rather remove the rancid oil prior to cooking than remove rust. Long term storage is better with food grade mineral oil.<

                                                                        If the pan is seasoned with several good, hard layers on all surfaces of the pan, it won't rust in long term storage, unless maybe it is stored in a damp environement and totaly ignored for years.
                                                                        But if you are storing in your kitchen cabinets and just rarely use them, they won't rust. I have some stored for years in the back of my cabinet and a couple on the wall, that hasn't been touched in years, except to dust them off or move them. They don't rust.

                                                                        As long as that seasoning is covering the pan, it won't rust. But if there are any nicks or worn places in the seasoning, down to the metal, then, that can rust.

                                                                        Gracious, I couldn't cook an egg in my stainless steel skillet, if my life depended on it. Well, I might could if I deep fried it in oil.......... The only thing I can do in my stainless steel cookware, is boil and steam things. I gave up trying to fry, saute, etc, in a stainless steel skillet years ago. In fact I don't even have one anymore.

                                                                        1. re: dixiegal

                                                                          I hae an old cast iron crepe pan that is well seasoned (and rarely used in the last 25 years). I have a new Lodge skillet that came seasoned that I have yet to use. I have two carbon steel woks that I use quite regularly. I cook in them, let them soak overnight on the stove with just water that I heated in them before turning off the stove. Next day, a quidk swish with a brush and a rinse with hot water makes them clean again (and still seasoned). I dry them with paper towels, put them on the stove over high heat and lightly oil them wiith peanut oil and a paper towel. I let them cool and put them away til next time. Been doing it that way since 1975. Never rancid, never rusted.

                                                                          1. re: REFFI

                                                                            >Never rancid, never rusted<

                                                                            I don't know how you manage to keep your peanut oil from going rancid. Peanut oil and other vegetable oils will even go rancid sealed up in a bottle in the refridgerater. Even lard with all the BHT in it and bacon grease with all the salt, and preservitives goes rancid with time. Ditto for crisco shortening. Heck, I have even thrown out rancid peanut butter, if we don't eat it quick enough. The same for salad dressings and mayonaise.

                                                                            I might be overly sesitive to things that are rancid. I even detect the rancid smell in stale potato chips.

                                                                      2. In my other post to this thread I left out the one type of cast iron that I do use a great deal. The round griddle or "spider" as my grandmother referred to them. They are perfect for baking biscuits or making a grilled cheese sandwich among other things. Two together make a pretty good panini press.

                                                                        Like so. https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefron...

                                                                        1. I have used cast iron well over 15 years now and I love it. My husband got me started with a basic set for Christmas. I won't use anything else. You don't have to store on top of the stove. I have a drawer in my stove/oven that I keep them in. They don't have toxic fumes like stainless steel. Yes you can buy them preseasoned but you need to season them after every use. I won't go to using anything else.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: MaryStruchen

                                                                            Can you please elaborate on the stainless steel toxic fumes? What is it? Where does it come from? What are effects?

                                                                            1. re: MaryStruchen

                                                                              <They don't have toxic fumes like stainless steel.>

                                                                              Places you'll want to avoid:
                                                                              Backyard BBQ's (lots of stainless grill grates out there)
                                                                              Japanese steak houses (huge slab of hot steel RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE!!!)
                                                                              Every kitchen but your own (lots of people you know use SS every day)

                                                                              Seriously, stainless steel is inert. It is no more toxic than cast iron. Less so, unless you think that smoke that comes off your cast iron pan is fairy dust.

                                                                            2. Flavor ghosting of aromatics, bacon, etc. cooked in pan; lack of suppleness when changing heat on the pan, acidic ingredients, deglazing, etc. are out. Can't finish a saute', fricassee, etc. in one unless you enjoy the taste of a mouthful of nails.

                                                                              If you need to sear a protein product in a restaurant environment for hours on end, one after the other, they'd be good for that -- turn the gas up and let it rip 'til closing time.

                                                                              It's really just a blunt-force instrument. You cannot finesse the heat on one and the list of ingredients and techniques that are no-no's is longer than your arm.

                                                                              I've never understood what all the hoo-ha was, or is, about. Maybe it's just a bit of nostalgia that comes cheaply.

                                                                              To be perfectly honest, a plain-Jane Revere Ware pan would allow you to successfully cook an astronomically higher number of dishes in it than you could cast iron.