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-   -   Interested in a new pan, is cast iron really that awesome? (https://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f89/interested-in-a-new-pan-is-cast-iron-really-that-awesome-78149.html)

Bwells 02-26-2012 01:08 PM

Interested in a new pan, is cast iron really that awesome?
 
Hello,

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?:chef:

Greg Who Cooks 02-26-2012 01:16 PM

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.

Andy M. 02-26-2012 01:22 PM

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.

GLC 02-26-2012 02:29 PM

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.

DampCharcoal 02-26-2012 02:43 PM

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. :smile:

Katie H 02-26-2012 02:57 PM

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.

Robo410 02-26-2012 03:26 PM

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.

jennyema 02-26-2012 04:21 PM

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.

justplainbill 02-26-2012 04:55 PM

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.

PrincessFiona60 02-26-2012 05:17 PM

I'm still considering the De Buyer pans, I don't need anything larger than 10 inch for the 2 of us.

justplainbill 02-26-2012 05:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 (Post 1112519)
I'm still considering the De Buyer pans, I don't need anything larger than 10 inch for the 2 of us.

There a just two of us but I use it like a griddle. It's great for avoiding overcrowding when making stuff like potato pancakes and it's a lot easier to get a spatula / turner under the stuff in a 14" pan.

PrincessFiona60 02-26-2012 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by justplainbill (Post 1112524)
There a just two of us but I use it like a griddle. It's great for avoiding overcrowding when making stuff like potato pancakes and it's a lot easier to get a spatula / turner under the stuff in a 14" pan.

Oh yes, I can see that. I just know my limitations on being able to use the pans, I know they will be heavy and I will be unable to lift them. Stinks getting older with arthritis.:ermm:

justplainbill 02-26-2012 05:47 PM

I cope with the weight by wearing an oven mitt. Because the handles on the steel pans are considerably longer than those on cast iron pans and only the part of the handle that gets very hot is the part closest to the pan I can grab the handle close to the pan and rest the balance of the handle under my forearm.

PrincessFiona60 02-26-2012 05:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by justplainbill (Post 1112534)
I cope with the weight by wearing an oven mitt. Because the handles on the steel pans are considerably longer than those on cast iron pans and only the part of the handle that gets very hot is the part closest to the pan I can grab the handle close to the pan and rest the balance of the handle under my forearm.

Thanks for that tip, I will have to try it. I already do choke up quite a bit on the handles, but the heat can be the deciding factor of getting closer.

justplainbill 02-26-2012 05:57 PM

Hope you do not have to choke up on you hammers, axes, paint brushes, baseball bats, mixing spoons, and wire whips.

DampCharcoal 02-26-2012 06:12 PM

Just so's ya know, there are oven "mitts" designed specifically for the size and shape of cast iron skillet handles.

They're made of the same materials as contemporary oven mitts. You just slip 'em on when you wish to handle the blazing hot pan.

DampCharcoal 02-26-2012 06:15 PM

And I'm sure you already knew that. :mrgreen:

justplainbill 02-26-2012 06:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DampCharcoal (Post 1112547)
Just so's ya know, there are oven "mitts" designed specifically for the size and shape of cast iron skillet handles.

They're made of the same materials as contemporary oven mitts. You just slip 'em on when you wish to handle the blazing hot pan.

Yah cannot get as good leverage with the short handle typically on cast iron pans. I use fireplace or welder's gauntlet type gloves :mrgreen:

PrincessFiona60 02-26-2012 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by justplainbill (Post 1112540)
Hope you do not have to choke up on you hammers, axes, paint brushes, baseball bats, mixing spoons, and wire whips.

Nope, only the leather whips...:rolleyes:

PrincessFiona60 02-26-2012 07:14 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by DampCharcoal (Post 1112547)
Just so's ya know, there are oven "mitts" designed specifically for the size and shape of cast iron skillet handles.

They're made of the same materials as contemporary oven mitts. You just slip 'em on when you wish to handle the blazing hot pan.

I was thinking more like this:


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