Since we started talking about these guys with enamel, we now have to discuss in depth. For regular cast iron with no enamel coating:
- All natural!
- Adds iron to your food
- Distributes heat evenly
- Gets better with age – the more you season it, the more nonstick it will become. Make sure grandma leaves hers to you in her will! I met a man whose family had passed theirs down for over 100 years – he couldn’t believe how “rough” new cast iron feels!
- Hard to kill – if you accidentally wash it with soap, just re-season it! My friend found some badly treated cast iron second-hand and happened to be an art student with access to a sandblaster, so she sandblasted it and re-seasoned it – good as new!
- Lodge – the original cast iron, still made in the USA!
- Takes a long time to heat up/cool down
- Not supposed to wash with soap (but if you do, just re-season) or dishwasher
- This leads most people to have specific pans for specific things, and then they just don’t ever wash them, or rarely, at least.
- You can use a mild soap but make sure to dry and season immediately!
Nowadays, brand new cast iron pans will come “pre-seasoned”. This means that they put a bunch of pans in a giant oven and blasted them with vegetable oil. You’re still going to need to season it! Like I said, the older the better, so you’re going to need to break this baby in. Lodge’s website has great use and care tips that I direct everyone to.