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Old 02-26-2012, 12:08 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Interested in a new pan, is cast iron really that awesome?


I am very new to this as well as new to cooking. I had a pan that I won at a grocery store but the Teflon coat is deteriorating. I heard cast iron pots and pan are the way to go... Is this true or is there a cheaper substitute? What about Rachel Ray or Paula Dean's line of cookware? Does anyone have any good suggestions?


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Old 02-26-2012, 12:16 PM   #2
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I think every cook should have at least one cast iron skillet no matter what other cookware they own.

I took a quick look at Bed Bath & Beyond and all the iron stuff looked very expensive, then looked at Amazon and found a 12" Lodge Logic iron skillet (not a brand I'm familiar with) for about $21. Since cast iron is almost indestructible you could also look at thrift shops and garage/yard sales.

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Old 02-26-2012, 12:22 PM   #3
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A Lodge Logic 10" or 12" skillet is a great first piece. It's versatile, non-stick given time and can do a host of tasks. Buy Lodge Logic (pre-seasoned) wherever you find it cheapest. Wal-Mart, Target, hardware stores, etc. The 10" is around $12-$15 and the 12" s/b available for under $20.

They will literally last a lifetime. Check out the Lodge Mfg. website for use and care instructions (very simple).

If you want something different, I'd go with tri-ply stainless. More expensive but also an excellent choice.
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:29 PM   #4
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I'll go along with that. I think every cook should have at least one piece (a "chicken fryer" is a good one) to learn how to use and care for cast iron. Cast iron, properly thick cast iron, doesn't heat up quickly, but once up to temperature, it hold it well under a food load. That's very nice for frying, when oil temperature matters, and you don't want it to drop much when you add food. And you can get it as hot as you wish without damage, which is not true for "non-stick" coatings.

Lodge Logic is generally very good and reasonable. I, too, like tri-ply stainless. It is "non-stick," as are all cookware when used properly. And you can, if you buy with proper metal handles, move it to the oven for braising. And it requires no special care to maintain it's surface, just polishing the cooking surface with Bartender's Friend from time to time. And I don't use metal utensils with mine.

Ceramic coated cast iron is also good, especially for dutch ovens. But I'd stay away from non-sticks that you're not prepared to throw out after a while. (I own one, a cheap small pan I use for omelets.) And thin stainless and aluminum. Thin cookware inevitably has not spots.
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:43 PM   #5
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I have 6 pieces of cast iron cookware ranging from a small 5" omelette pan to a 6 quart dutch oven and I love them all!

I purchased them all from antique stores at a minimal price, so there's always that angle.
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:57 PM   #6
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I've lost count of how many cast iron pieces I have and I can't imagine being without my trusty cast iron skillet that I cook my cornbread in and, heaven forbid, I should ever have to do away with my wonderful, deep cast iron chicken-frying pan.

I've gotten many of my pieces at garage/yard sales and thrift stores. Yesterday we moved my mother-in-law into assisted living and, as a result, I gained her round cast iron griddle. Yeah!!

I also have several pieces of enamel-coated cast iron (Le Creuset) that I use all the time and will most certainly survive me AND my grandchildren.

You can never go wrong with cast iron.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:26 PM   #7
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Buying a celebrity chef's cookware is putting $$ into his or her pocket and not into your cookware. Fine cookware existed long before TV chef's started "creating cookware to their specifications." In fact they became famous without their names on anything.
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Old 02-26-2012, 03:21 PM   #8
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Paula Deen's is crappy; in fact, some of it was recalled.

RR is similarly poor quality from the stuff I've seen at Bed Bath and Beyond.
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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Old 02-26-2012, 03:55 PM   #9
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Properly season cast iron can be great. We have 3 dutch ovens and 6 frying pans.
Because the newer stuff is generally not as finely finished as the stuff made forty or more years ago my latest purchase was a French made 14" heavy steel pan. De Buyer and Matfer Borgeat make some substantial skillets.
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Old 02-26-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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I'm still considering the De Buyer pans, I don't need anything larger than 10 inch for the 2 of us.

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