SPH and I received a cast iron pan many years ago, that for nearly a decade, sat in our kitchen, unused. Cast iron pans are somewhat of a throwback to a simpler time, what with all the fancy Teflon, adonized and stainless cookware that receives the most space at kitchen stores. But I’ve had a bit of shift in my kitchen, and this cast iron pan is now center stage.
Perhaps it was the sporadic reports I’ve read that the Teflon coating on many pans isn’t the safest material on which to cook, or the fact that when we moved I rediscovered the cast iron pan in the dark recesses of our kitchen, or maybe even the fact that I just wanted to try something new, but I have been cooking almost exclusively with my cast iron pan now for a month.
I read that you need to season a cast iron pan before you can use it, so I rubbed it down with some good oil and used a touch more oil in the early days of cooking with it, in order to further the seasoning. I’m not sure of the chemistry behind the idea of seasoning a pan, but a mere weeks after I began to use this pan, I can cook pancakes, eggs, and vegetables and it is almost as efficient at being nonstick as our Teflon coated pan (which has, by the way, assumed the dark recesses position in the kitchen).
Perhaps “love” is too strong a word to use, but this pan is my new favorite. I love the way it browns a Saturday morning pancake. I love the way it takes a little longer to heat, but once hot, it cooks the heck out of food. And I even love how it causes me a small bit of joy, to think that this is how my own grandmother made dinner for my mom.
Sure, there are a few drawbacks to using cast iron. If you don’t have a handle cover or hot pad, you can burn the heck out of your hand if you forget and grab the handle without protection. Also, being iron, you cannot just wash it and then let it air dry; water and iron don’t do so well, so a good drying is necessary. Lastly, my pan is not large enough to handle every stove top task, but perhaps that is just a good excuse to put a larger pan on my Christmas list?