Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cookware Thoughts

Fox News is discussing five myths about cast iron pots and pans, including whether or not to use soap to clean them, and whether or not cooking with cast iron adds nutrients to your food.

At Casa de Oso, we cook a lot in our cast iron pans.  We mostly use two griddles, one large and one small, and a couple of frying pans, but we also have large dutch ovens and a few saucepans.  We are forever in the hunt for a large frying pan for making fried chicken like Irish Woman remembers seeing used as a child.  Nothing says "I love you" in Kentucky like a big cast iron pan full of hot lard and spiced chicken parts.

I prefer cast iron for sauteing and frying foods over the aluminum cookware we have.  We have to use so much more oil to keep things from sticking to the aluminum and it's so much more work to clean the shiny pans that it's just not worth it.  And aluminum cookware just doesn't have the soul that a good, well-used, black cast iron pan does.

One thing I can tell you - a teenage boy, who is doing dishes against his will, takes his life in his own hands when he loads his step-mom's cast iron skillet and griddle in the dishwasher and turns it on.  Luckily we caught it before it got beyond the 'pre-wash' cycle, but he was banished from the kitchen for a while.  It took us an entire day to reseason those pans.

Also, contrary to popular belief, a cast iron frying pan does not make a very good weapon.  The two foot by one foot cast iron griddle with big handles on either end makes a much better flail or club, and it also makes a dandy shield. 

A cast-iron dutch oven is a wonderful cooking implement for camping, especially for those who want charcoal ash in their cobbler after the kids start taking the lid off to get a second helping.

And finally, the proper way to get stuck-on food off the bottom of a cast iron pan is to boil water in it for a few minutes, then scrape it out and reseason as necessary.  It is not to fill it about 1/3 of the way up with camp fuel and burn out the scraps.  Remember folks, behind every pyromaniac is a Boy Scout leader with bandages and a shovel full of dirt.


Stephen said...

I agree. I love my cast iron and have a pieces well over a hundred years old. Soap never touches my cast iron.

Chasing Freedom said...

The best trick I've found to get stubborn nasties off cast iron is "scrubbing" it with olive oil and salt then rinsing with hot water. I brought back a very abused auction find that way.

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