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Thread: Mini-rant: mistreatment of cast iron! page 2

  1. #11
    Jessica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blank_faceplate View Post
    Cast iron contains a small portion of carbon, so yes. Take a cast iron skillet and a stainless steel or aluminum one and drop them on cement from equal heights. The first will likely shatter or break, the second two will dent or bounce.
    Sooo...I shouldn't use it to bash my partner when he's being uncooperative? Yes/no?

  2. #12
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    Many women have, with no harmfull effects (to the pan) in the community of hill people (hillbillies) they make a sport of throwing cast iron frying pans.
    Not that brittle.
    Cast iron will chip, or sometimes shatter, if it hits concrete, however.
    This is because of the casting procces. Cast items are always more brittle than forged, because of the casting proccess.
    Last edited by 979roadrunner; 09-02-2010 at 11:02 PM.
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  3. #13
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    Why would you want to drop either a cast iron or a steel or aluminum pan on the cement? You should take care with any cook ware. Cast iron may be brittle, but handled with a modicum of care will last lifetimes.

    I have lots of cast iron cookware in my kitchen nowadays - a 14" skillet, a 10" skillet, 2 8" skillets, a round griddle, a square griddle, a wok, and a dutchie . I used to have my Great-great Grandmother's 14" skillet, but a college room-mate dunked it in a sink full of water while it was still hot. It broke clean in half. I was so sad that day - it had come up the Applegate trail from San Francisco with my ancestors. I still miss that old skillet, and I cherish the memories of all the good food cooked in it. Since losing that skillet, I resolved to replace it with good, modern stuff.

    I like the versatility of my cast iron cookware. It's attractive in my kitchen, cooks the kind of food I cook better than aluminum or stainless steel, I suspect I get a trace of iron from using it, it's easy to care for, and can be used in my kitchen and on the campfire.

    If you are looking to buy new cast-iron cookware, pay close attention to the look and feel of it. A good skillet should feel a bit heavy for it's size. You can get pre-seasoned wares, or you can season them yourself - either is a fine option. I like Lodge Logic - it's good and sturdy, and pre-seasoned. There are a number of other brands out there, tho. In my experience, cookware cast in Asia is often thinner and more brittle than the American stuff.

    I find that it's important to let a skillet heat up - this may take a moment longer than other cookware, and you probably don't need to turn the heat up as high.

    If you are looking at used cast iron pieces, much the same applies. The bottom should be flat - a warped bottom will not rest evenly on a standard electric range coil element, buy may be fine for a gas range. Also,a skillet whose bottom is not flat may not distribute heat correctly. A bit of rust is probably alright, but if a pan has a lot of rust, I'd pass it up. I always scour and season any used pan I get my hands on, using very hot water and a stainless steel scrubby - or even equisetum and sand. To season, I rub down a very dry pan in bacon fat and and set upside down in a low heated oven for a few hours. I do not recommend the use of olive oil for seasoning - it has too low of a smoke point, and you won't want a smokey skillet.

    Clean a cast iron skillet after each use. Let it cool, then wipe out with a towel. If a bit of food is stuck on, a quick soak in hot water, and a quick scour will usually take care of it - don't use soap! Dry thoroughly, and rub down with bacon fat or lard and store away until the next use. It's a big mistake to leave a skillet dirty, thinking you'll get to it later. Acidic foods left in the pan will eat the seasoning off. I have found that if a skillet is well seasoned, it will handle cooking a bit of acidic food foods - I freely cook with tomatoes in mine.

    As you can tell, I love my irons!

  4. #14
    skookum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica View Post
    Sooo...I shouldn't use it to bash my partner when he's being uncooperative? Yes/no?
    It would be a historically appropriate use, imho. LOL!

  5. #15
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    If a piece of cookware requires "instructions" or will die a horrible death if someone uninitiated in the dark arts gets their hands on it, I don't have a use for it. It's pretty much that simple - I wasn't trying to hijack the thread. Cast iron that isn't enamel coated, carbon steel knives, copper anything, and certainly ceramic knives all fall into that category.

    My requirements are cheap or bulletproof and reasonable quality. Aluminum non-stick pans obviously have their drawbacks, but at least when my mother in law uses my 12" knives to scramble eggs in it I can shrug, toss it in the trash, and buy another one from a restaurant supply place for $15. I don't want any cookware that has emotional significance. And, no, I'm not a kitchen neophyte, I'm classically trained.

  6. #16
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    If you need to buy a cast iron skillet, I'd recommend going to Ebay and getting an old one, seasoned or not. (Cheaper not, or needing cleaning.) The old ones had a better grade of iron in them than any of the new (mostly Chinese) stuff out there.

    I don't find I need to be that careful about soap. I put some detergent into a scrubber and have at it under running water in the sink. Then I take it back to the stove, let it warm up, add some fat or rub it with olive oil, and it's ready to go. At first, when my most recent one was new from Ebay, I took it down to bare metal and then tried to reseason it. At first that didn't go too well, but as I use it and clean it and use it again, always with the fat and moderate heat first before food is added, the non-stick aspects of the seasoning get better and better.

    As for the non-stick aluminum -- forget it! It's terribly vulnerable to abrasion, it gives off toxic fumes if the heat gets the least bit high (and anything one would call "frying" involves heat too high for non-stick coatings, IMO), and even when used very carefully, at some point the coating fails and one has to just throw it away and start over again. I don't like disposable stuff. Cast iron even reasonably well used will last generations. It can get almost as non-stick as a new teflon pan, and far more non-stick than an older one.

  7. #17
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    I wish I had been there to take your carbon steel knives off your hands faceplate. They hold an edge like no other knife. I absolutely love mine.
    Last edited by Karma; 09-04-2010 at 05:22 PM. Reason: spelling

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by blank_faceplate View Post
    If a piece of cookware requires "instructions" or will die a horrible death if someone uninitiated in the dark arts gets their hands on it, I don't have a use for it. It's pretty much that simple - I wasn't trying to hijack the thread. Cast iron that isn't enamel coated, carbon steel knives, copper anything, and certainly ceramic knives all fall into that category.

    My requirements are cheap or bulletproof and reasonable quality. Aluminum non-stick pans obviously have their drawbacks, but at least when my mother in law uses my 12" knives to scramble eggs in it I can shrug, toss it in the trash, and buy another one from a restaurant supply place for $15. I don't want any cookware that has emotional significance. And, no, I'm not a kitchen neophyte, I'm classically trained.
    I know your only trying to make the point to keep cooking simple, but like any job that needs to be done, there's always the right tool for the job.......I'm also classically trained and why I found this response confusing because most, no, all classically trained chefs, cooks would not argue my point.......each to their own I guess.
    Whether you think you can..... or you think you can't..... your 100 % correct.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chefgerry View Post
    I know your only trying to make the point to keep cooking simple, but like any job that needs to be done, there's always the right tool for the job.......I'm also classically trained and why I found this response confusing because most, no, all classically trained chefs, cooks would not argue my point.......each to their own I guess.
    Actually, I'm arguing the point "keep life simple." More power to all of you if you like your cast iron. Sorry for the totally unintentional hijack.

  10. #20
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    lbd
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    I have several cast iron pans. On the rare occasion when my husband decides to "help" me by doing the dishes, he has sometimes washed my pans with soap. Not a disaster. Just cook some coconut oil or meat fat (pork or beef) in it long and slow and, voila, it is re-seasoned. I usually take a little coconut oil and coat the pan after washing with warm water as well. I have several little plastic scrapers that I got from a Pampered Chef party years ago that are great for scraping off little bits in my cast iron or LeCreuset pans. They really are easy care and recover nicely from those that think everything must be covered with soap to be cleaned.

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