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Wanted cast iron: was given le creuset

I asked for a cast iron skillet for Christmas and was kindly given a le creuset enameled cast iron pan. However, after reading online about bare cast iron vs. enameled, i think i would have prefered the bare. But, I know that the LC is pretty expensive. Would I be crazy to return it and get a $25 lodge skillet? I have never owned cast iron before, but I like to cook. I wanted cast iron because I don't want the chemicals of teflon. Also, i want to make delicious crusty corn bread and nicely seared beef. Can I still do this in the LC? All the reviews seem to prefer the bare cast iron, so why would anyone pay 4x as much for a not-as-good pan?

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  1. For me your corn bread alone says,exchange it.You were gifted a lovely pan that would be my second choice to cast iron.

    1. i would want to make sure the pan you desire (or were gifted) goes w/ my cooktop surface -

      also - if you can find vintage at the rummage (cast iron) - go for it - tho again, what is your cooktop?

      i have been hankering after le creuset

      how come restaurants on all those shows can use the resto supply brand?

      8 Replies
      1. re: Georgia Strait

        I agree with this. Keep the enameled pan and find a good
        used Wagner Ware or Griswold at a flea market/antique mall.
        The vintage iron is much nicer than the Lodge.

        1. re: bbqboy

          But what is the point of having both? Should I just take the enameled back? I don't like having lots of stuff, I'd rather just have the one that is better. Or is there a time for the enamaled and a time for the bare?

          1. re: Barretts08

            You can do many more things with the LeCruset, just not make cornbread. I guess I'm a cookware fanatic though, so I could never have too many.

            1. re: bbqboy

              Why wouldn't Le Creuset work for corn bread? Makes no sense to me.

              1. re: Rick

                Of course it would work. I don't get this discussion. LC is good stuff, and that was an expensive gift, The real point of cast iron is that you can use higher heat and stability of heat. Season it properly then heat it up, turn off the heat, then cook eggs in the residual heat to see what I mean.

                Enjoy.

          2. re: bbqboy

            I couldn't agree more. Love my Griswolds and my LC. I thank my MIL for introducing me to both.

            1. re: bbqboy

              >The vintage iron is much nicer than the Lodge<

              This is a matter of opinion. Just because you like it better, does not mean that it is better. Though I have vintage CI skillets, I prefer my new model Lodge skillets and use them almost daily

              1. re: dixiegal

                I just don't think the iron used in newer frying pans can match
                that of "vintage" ones from the golden age of skillets.
                Subjective, I know.
                Now I'll have to look for evidence to back this up. :)
                This guy agrees that the grain was finer in the old days,
                but again, it seems to be just his opinion.
                http://www.eattheweeds.com/cast-iron-...

          3. Enamled cast iron is like a quasi non-stick cast iron.

            Bare cast iron can give you better results but LC will give you more consistent results with less hassle.

            If you don't season and properly take care of your bare cast iron pans then you have rust in your food.

            That is much much worse than any "chemicals" from non-stick.

            BTW Restaurants generally use medium quality cookware. Stuff that works but owner need not worry about mistreatment or theft. Disposable. Cost of doing business. Most chefs cook on much nicer cookware at home than at work. Same goes for cutlery.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DeeAgeaux

              that's a really good point about the maintenance required for good ole cast iron - and how strong one has to be to use it.

              if the Lodge is "only" 25 dollars - get both and try it and let us know

            2. When I was young, I was so proud to buy a "batterie" (set; sounds much more impressive in French) of Le Creuset. The only piece I didn't use was the skillet. It is useless for crusty cornbread (which is not something I even knew about 30 years ago, in Montréal) and many other dishes.

              I'd suggest you return the pan for another Le Creuset model of about the same price- a small dutch oven, or a slightly flatter model good for braises. Nude cast iron is not really very good for things with a tomato, wine or lemon base, like a lot of braises. Le Creuset and similar lines are unequalled for long slow braises.

              Then save up for a Lodge skillet or search church and charity bazaars and garage sales. I bought a lovely, huge one, for 50 cents (Canadian - but about at par with US now) at a bazaar. It was too big for my needs but made a friend very happy.

              4 Replies
              1. re: lagatta

                I don't know how long it's been since you were young ;) but Le Creuset has just recently changed their interior enamel surface so that the release is much improved. I too don't use traditional non-stick, and have a Le Creuset skillet on my list to buy. Based on my experience with the new finish, I am unsure why there are a couple people saying this isn't a useful piece. Is there something I'm missing?

                1. re: foiegras

                  Decades. I'm a boomer. Funny, I was looking at Le Creuset at a cookware shop near my house, and didn't notice anything different about the interior surface; is that only in the skillets? (I wasn't looking for a skillet).

                  1. re: lagatta

                    Well, supposedly, the newly launched "Signature" (at least more than a year if not two) has a few improvements, including being more resistance to chipping and staining. Not sure about food release, but it may as well:

                    "Optimized for steady, even heat, Le Creuset’s improved enamel interior resists staining, dulling and wear and tear."

                    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                    Another discussion:

                    http://www.chefsresource.com/le-creus...

                    1. re: lagatta

                      It would probably be difficult to notice it visually, though I think it may be a bit shinier than before? But in practice, in my experience, the difference is night and day. Whoever worked on the new formula really earned their paychecks. There oughta be a James Beard award for this kinda thing ;)

                2. Since you say you like to cook and don't seem to want both pieces, I'd say keep the Le Creuset. You can do just about anything with it that you can in a cast iron plus a bunch of things you wouldn't do in cast iron. For example I made osso bucco in my Le Creuset last night, wouldn't have done that with my cast iron.