Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ever Cooked With A Culinary Treasure?

"Nestled" in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee sits a company that's been making cast iron cookware since William McKinley was president. Established in 1896, Lodge Cast Iron has been owned and operated by four generations of the Lodge family. Amazingly, some of those first skillets, griddles and Dutch ovens are still in use today. That's 113 years of use!

There are many reasons why cast iron pans get handed down from one generation to the next. They are exceptional heat conductors. Cast iron heats evenly, consistently and retains heat. To say they are durable and a good value is an understatement. With the proper care, a skillet will last several lifetimes.

Cast iron skillets are the original – and natural – non-stick pans. After "seasoning,” they get better with age. With chemically treated pans, the Teflon wears off after a few years. Cast iron pans never stop working, and there's no perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a carcinogen, to worry about.

Seasoning a cast iron pan is easy. You coat it {inside and out} lightly with vegetable oil and bake it upside down in an oven heated to 300 degrees for 60 minutes. The oil fills in microscopic pores to create a smooth non-stick surface and keeps your pan rust-free. You're supposed to clean your cast iron cookware with hot water and no soap, because using soap will remove the seasoning. But I've never had a problem using a drop of soap and hand-washing it with a sponge, or scrubbing it with a piece of aluminum foil. I simply brush the skillet with a little olive oil the next time I cook.

A cast iron pan is so versatile. It can be used on top of the stove, in the oven, on a grill, or even over a camp fire. You can make the best tasting pancakes on the griddle and month-watering stews in the Dutch oven. I love cornbread "fried" in a skillet that has been brushed lightly with oil.

Professional chefs swear by cast iron. And imagine never having to replace your cookware. Even after 100 years, you simply clean, season and use it. A 10¼ inch skillet sells for $22.95, but you can find it for less. Grandma really did know best.


  1. Yes! This cookware is amazing. I have two skillets, a small one and the 10 1/4" one. This is the best cookware that I have ever used.

  2. Loretta passed away at the end of June, 2013. Bless her soul! We never met in person, but she wrote wonderful emails. She was a regular reader of the blog and sent lots of clever humor pieces my way, which got posted a few times. She is greatly missed!! RIP, sweet Loretta.