Saturday, February 1, 2014
Cast Iron Convert
Back when I was first learning to cook, I had no patience for fry pans that would let my food stick. I was all over that Non-stick coating. I thought it was the best thing ever! I gave away all the Revere Ware fry pans I'd received as wedding gifts and bought myself a fine set of Teflon pans.
One year later I replaced them because the coating had bubbled off. And the next, and the next...
Then it occurred to me - where was that flaking non-stick coating disappearing to? That was when I started paying attention to what was going into my families stomachs besides food. Plastics were providing lots of BPA, our apples contained 28 kinds of chemicals and the USDA had proclaimed that Ketchup could be counted as a vegetable in school lunches!
Fast forward and you will find me cooking like my grandma.
Most of our food is grown by us or Organic farmers near us and I am now happily cooking our food in Cast Iron, not Teflon.
Le Creuset is nice if you can afford it. I find a nice pan once in a while at the thrift store. Lodge cast iron is much more affordable but does not hold up over the years like Le Creuset.
Ultimately I prefer non-porcelain-enamel coated, antique cast iron. The only drawback of non-porcelain-enamel cast iron is that if you cook something acid, like tomato sauce, you have to re-season the pan. The tomato sauce will pull off the patina of oil and take up a little of the iron.
Elder women in my life have used this fact to their advantage and used it to add iron to their blood. A natural and convenient cure for mild anemia!
This winter I decided to cook up a batch of my Wood-stove Naan.
While I was doing this I realized it had been some time since I had re-seasoned a few of our cast iron pans. Putting them in a bed of coals for an hour or so burns all that greasy buildup off so that you can start over with a nice smooth pan.
This is why I prefer antique pans. It is very hard to find a well made modern cast iron pan. Most modern pans are made in China, very cheaply and with low standards.
A cast iron pan must be very smooth inside to be even close to non-stick.
Once my pans had the old grease burned off I scrubbed them with a some steel wool and dried them by heating them on the burner.
Tada! Good as new.
I've learned my lesson about what I do and don't want to eat from my cooking pans!