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Old 02-26-2012, 07:20 PM   #21
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Cast iron is a good idea. I have an 8-inch and a 12-inch and I use them all the time. I also have a complete set (from a 1 quart pot through 4 different sizes of frying pan to a 10 quart spaghetti cooker) of tri-ply stainless and a couple of Calphalon anodized aluminium pans but if I had it to do all over again I would do like professional chefs (NOT celebrety chefs!) do and go to a restaurant supply store and buy the cheapest pots and pans they have. If you spend 16 bucks on a 12-inch teflon coated aluminium pan and the teflon starts to deteriorate after 6 months, you don't feel so bad about tossing into the recycle bin and buying a new one.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:23 PM   #22
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I prefer Calphalon. Cast iron is too heavy for me, and I don't want anything that sticks. Calphalon is guaranteed, so if you get it too hot too many times, and the coating starts flaking off, they will replace it for free.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:24 PM   #23
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I was thinking more like this:
HA! I so want one!

And justplainbill, I've looked into NOMEX gloves, firefighters and military flight crews use them.

They're not exactly cheap but they're pretty sweet!
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:29 PM   #24
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I prefer Calphalon. Cast iron is too heavy for me, and I don't want anything that sticks. Calphalon is guaranteed, so if you get it too hot too many times, and the coating starts flaking off, they will replace it for free.
I love my calphalon, and I also love my cast iron. They both have their place in my kitchen. :)
If you buy cast iron it will still be around when you are gone.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:29 PM   #25
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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.
I can't speak for Paula Deen's cookware, but I have to agree about Rachel Ray's. I won an RR Dutch Oven in a raffle three years ago. It looked good and cooked well, but within a year the finish began chipping off. About a year ago it went in the garbage.

I have several pieces of Le Creuset that I absolutely love. The oldest piece is around 30 years old now and, though the finish on the outside is somewhat stained from years of use, it doesn't have a single scuff on the inside. The stuff ain't cheap, though.

I also own a couple of Lodge cast iron pans. They've held up remarkably well. I've even taken them on camping trips!
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:34 PM   #26
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I can't speak for any of them, but how about cast iron skillets as made hundreds of years ago. Mine is exactly like that although I suspect mine is '40s vintage. (My mom gave it to me years ago.)

These years old skillets are made solely out of cast iron, with a cast iron (usually a loop) handle. The only finish or non-stick finish is the iron itself, it's indestructibility. If nothing else you can just blast it all off and reseason it and start anew.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:35 PM   #27
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I have three Griswold Cast Iron pans, the best you can get. I have the 10 inch, an 8 inch, and a little one, just big enough for two eggs to completely fill. Each of them is well seasoned and so, non-stick. I also have a Wagner 12 inch, and a Lodge 12 inch. The lodge is the heaviest, and so is used for deep fat frying, while the Wagner is used for steaks, chops, fried potatoes, etc. Oh, and I have a Lodge 8 inch that is perfect for making has browns.

I wouldn't trade them for any other kind of pan, period. I also like my stainless pots, and one stainless 12 inch pan used for making crepes. The only teflon I have is a square griddle for making pancakes and folded omelets like yo get from a flat top steel griddle. Otherwise, my 8 inch Griswold makes the half round omelets.

I also have a Lodge, camping dutch oven, that has legs on it. It's great for stews, beans, and braising any kind of meat. I have to put a cookie sheet under it to use it in the oven though, as the legs make it impossible to put on oven grates.

Once seasoned properly, cast iron is nearly stick free. You have to try to make something stick to my pans. Cleanup is super easy. And if anything does stick, hot water and a stiff bristles scrubbing brush cleans it up fast.

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Old 02-27-2012, 01:11 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance View Post
I prefer Calphalon. Cast iron is too heavy for me, and I don't want anything that sticks. Calphalon is guaranteed, so if you get it too hot too many times, and the coating starts flaking off, they will replace it for free.

If you have gotten to the point where you are burning off/flaking off the Teflon, the smoke you are potentially breathing is pretty bad stuff...like REALLY bad stuff.

Of Course Cast iron is heavy, it's cast iron. And once seasoned, it's non stick. Cast iron will last generations, and more. Like, once humans go extinct, and other beings discover this place, they will see the pyramids, the great wall, and find a bunch of cast iron artifacts.

lodge Cast iron is also guaranteed, but, you have to be doing something pretty silly to screw the pooch with some cast iron.

There is a reason cast iron has a reputation of being a tank, lasting forever, and is passed down through generations. . .it's cast iron. In the right hands, there is nothing that can't be done in cast iron, that can be done in it's off the shelf equivalents.

I am not saying to build ones whole culinary arsenal off of cast iron, but sometimes, less is more, and there is a reason cast iron has been around Long before Rachel Ray, and Paula Deen, and will remain to be around longer than any culinary fad, or TV "Chef" line fad.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:56 PM   #29
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I own a couple of cast iron skillets, dutch oven, griddles, and a few other things. I also own and use quite a bit of enameled cast iron [Descoware, Cousances, Copco, & Le Creuset].

I don't have a single piece of non stick teflon or its cousin type of stuff in my kitchen. That was not an accident.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:58 PM   #30
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I'm not very good at seasoning cast iron pans, so I would suggest getting a pre-seasoned cast iron pan made by Lodge.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:08 PM   #31
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You can often find Griswold and Wagner Cast Iron on Ebay, or at garage sales, cheep. My favorite Griswold was given to me by an antique shop because the owner was impressed that I new the pan's quality. He'd had it on display in his shop for better than a year and couldn't get $20 for it. The other Griswold pans came to me cheaply. I paid $30 to my boss who was renting his home to an acquaintance of mine. I was helping the family move into the home and noticed three nice Griswold pans in perfect condition sitting in the entryway of the house. I asked him if he would sell them. I even told him that they were collector's items and offered to look up the value on the internet. He sold them to me for $30 on the spot. That's where I got the 5 1/2 inch pan, and another ten inch, and a twelve inch pan. I kept the smallest of the three, and sold the other two pans to my professional chef son for $20 buck. He was thrilled to get them.

As far as seasoning, if you're lucky, you just have to rub with oil or shortening, inside and out, and place in a 350' oven for a half hour or so. I prefer to fire up the grill and place the pans over the hot charcoal and let them cook for a half hour, re-rub them with oil and repeat. It really bakes in the fat to a smooth, slick, and hard surface. It also keeps me from smoking up the house.

IF the pan is in rough shape, and rusty, simply hit it with a wire brush, or fine sandpaper. I've cleaned up badly rusted pans with a wire wheel attached to my drill. Then season as described above. You may have to put three or four layers of seasoning on the bare metal to get that really good seasoning that is so prized. But once it's there, it's so easy to maintain. And it gets better every time you use the pan.

A common rule of thumb is to not cook acidic ingredients in cast iron as the food will take on a metallic flavor. My pans are now seasoned well enough that I cook acidic foods, like marinara sauce, pineapple sweet and sour sauce, and other dishes like that, with abandon, never having to worry about the food acids reacting with the metal. The actual metal is hermetically sealed by the polymerized fat and keeps the acids, or alkalies from ever touching the metal.

I've even been known to take my pans camping, and scour them with sand and running cold water. We did that all the time with such pans when I was in boy scouts so many, long, years ago.

Lodge pans are great pans too, but take longer to get that really great finish due to the rougher casting of the metal. The inside texture is more grainy than is the inside surfaces of either the Griswold or wagner pans. It still works the same way though.

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Old 02-28-2012, 04:17 PM   #32
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The bumpiness of my pre-seasoned Lodge pans was very noticeable at first, but it became less bumpy as the carbon layer filled in between the tiny bumps.

I really cleaned my old pan thoroughly and still had trouble seasoning it. Also, there are at least 4 different methods of seasoning I've come across. After cleaning it again and trying to season it, I said to heck with that. A small lodge pan costs around $15. I must have spent at least $10 and a lot of time trying to get it seasoned correctly.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:50 PM   #33
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The bumpiness of my pre-seasoned Lodge pans was very noticeable at first, but it became less bumpy as the carbon layer filled in between the tiny bumps.

I really cleaned my old pan thoroughly and still had trouble seasoning it. Also, there are at least 4 different methods of seasoning I've come across. After cleaning it again and trying to season it, I said to heck with that. A small lodge pan costs around $15. I must have spent at least $10 and a lot of time trying to get it seasoned correctly.
Lodge cannot hold a candle to Griswold or Wagner.
Windy from Michigan explained the whole story pretty well although I'm not sure about 'hermetically sealed'.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:53 PM   #34
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I don't know that any seasoning method works as well anywhere else as it does over an open wood fire.

But that might be the same principle that makes everything cooked outdoors on a pit fire in a Dutch oven taste better than anywhere else. And it helps to have had a long day working or playing while the cook worked. The heartiest of meat breakfasts comes of a Dutch oven with thick sirloins that was set over natural coals that burned down in a hole and then had more coals piled on top and the whole thing buried deep enough that the smoke couldn't escape. It can be left for hours without overcooking, even overnight. And it makes the best biscuits on top of the ground with most of the fire on top of the lid. I've sure eaten a bunch of Bisquick and canned peach cobbler in the brush.

You can do the whole meal for a lot of people if you have the right kind.

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Old 02-29-2012, 02:30 AM   #35
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I don't know that any seasoning method works as well anywhere else as it does over an open wood fire.

But that might be the same principle that makes everything cooked outdoors on a pit fire in a Dutch oven taste better than anywhere else. And it helps to have had a long day working or playing while the cook worked. The heartiest of meat breakfasts comes of a Dutch oven with thick sirloins that was set over natural coals that burned down in a hole and then had more coals piled on top and the whole thing buried deep enough that the smoke couldn't escape. It can be left for hours without overcooking, even overnight. And it makes the best biscuits on top of the ground with most of the fire on top of the lid. I've sure eaten a bunch of Bisquick and canned peach cobbler in the brush.

You can do the whole meal for a lot of people if you have the right kind.

Impressive Dutch Oven Stack! WOW!
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:39 PM   #36
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So I'm hunting around for new pans. I'm thinking cast iron with a stainless steel stockpot. Thoughts?
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:19 PM   #37
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My De Buyer pans just got here...I'll let you know!
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:54 PM   #38
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Yes cast iron is best for me... when I can afford it! But my Staub Cocotte does the trick everytime I make a carbonnade.

I also have a double griddle made of the same material. I use it more for outdoor
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Old 03-16-2012, 04:35 PM   #39
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Yes cast iron is best for me... when I can afford it! But my Staub Cocotte does the trick everytime I make a carbonnade.

I also have a double griddle made of the same material. I use it more for outdoor
I'm curious, where do you live that CI is expensive? In the US it is probably the cheapest cookware available, especially if you do a little Saturday morning shopping at estate sales
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Old 03-16-2012, 04:50 PM   #40
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I'm curious, where do you live that CI is expensive? In the US it is probably the cheapest cookware available, especially if you do a little Saturday morning shopping at estate sales
I think the poster was talking about enameled CI.
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