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A couple cast iron questions  RSS feed

 
                                    
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I have one big cast iron skillet that we use. We recently got a flat top (glass-top) stove which we dislike pretty well, but the cast iron seems to do best on it because the weight keeps it from sliding all over the place when you stir, etc.

I am pretty much into healthy stuff, and have decided to get rid of all our toxic non-stick stuff. I want to go cast iron as much as possible. I read the article on this forums home page about cast iron, so I am trying to look for griswald or wagner. My family still lives in PA, so maybe Mom can locate some for me at  yard sales, etc along the way too. Since it comes from more that area originally.

Fist question: What about these other maufacturers. Does anyone know if they machined their peices, and what kind of quality they were. I want easy to use, I am not worried about collector value. "
"Fanner, Crusoe, Puritan, Columbus and other makers produced cast iron cookware in the shadows of the steel mills of the Monongahela and Ohio River valleys in Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio from the middle of the 19th century through the 20th century."

Second question: Is there any way to tell from looking whether the pans were "extra-finished" with any other metals like chromium, etc?

Third question: It seems that most does not come with lids, and I am a user of lids when I cook. Are they standardized enough to be able to use other lids off of other pans with them,?

And lastly, I only use olive oil. I am semi-vegetarian, so I eat meat sometimes, but not often. And I do not cook with animal fat, lard, or any of the other oils that I feel like are not so healthy oils. Am I asking for a disaster trying to cook with olive oil? Would I be able to eventually work up a good seasoning with it, and with what I cook in the pan if that is not much meat, or would the olive oil give me a big sticky, everything I cook sticks mess?

Thanks for the help. I think if I have a little direction before I start shopping, I will be much happier than trial and error. Thanks, Julie
 
Len Ovens
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I buy the cheapest stuff I can find. They are not milled, but once they seasoned they are shiny smooth.... it does take a few months to get there though. I use a putty knife for cleaning.
 
                                  
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Lodge is good
 
                                    
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So should I think that the article on this websites home page is inaccurate? I can get Lodge at Wal-mart which I usually take as a bad sign for most anything, but I am not into spending money I do not need to either. They make Lodge within driving distance.
 
Travis Halverson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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lilacgirl wrote:
So should I think that the article on this websites home page is inaccurate?


I think the article you're referring to is not inaccurate.

I've been so pissed off at the Lodge pan I got a few years ago that I thought anyone who suggested cooking in a cast iron pan was a moron.  I became curious about the older stuff when I learned they were once milled.  I found one in shitty condition at an antique shop.  Burned all the old, crusty stuff off in a fire and started over.

I've got a flat cooktop too.  I think they're easier to clean.  Make sure the pan has a flat bottom.

I haven't seen those other brands you mentioned, yet.  Maybe they're awesome, PA ironwork things.

I use lard, bacon grease, butter, sunflower oil and olive oil in my pan.  Maybe I'll cook somethin' in our palm oil and let you know.  I keep the heat under "MEDIUM" on our cooktop.

Hope this helps.
 
Leila Rich
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Not one of your questions, but: be really careful with cast iron on a ceramic cooktop (I'm presuming that's what you have).
I plonked my pan down too heavily, cracked the cooktop and kept using it. Water got in and I was very lucky not to get badly electricuted. Be warned!
My pan was cheap as chips from our equivalent of a 'big box store'. The only thing I 'd recommend about a pan is don't  get one with a wooden handle so you can stick it straight in the oven.
Olive oil has a very low smoke-point, so if you get it too hot, it's actually very unhealthy. I use organic sunflower and olive oil, depending on the food.
I think olive oil wouldn't be ideal for seasoning, as it tends to be a bit 'gluey', and then there's the smoke-point thing.
 
                              
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Buy a lodge and fry fish and hushpuppies in it for a few meals.  Thats what my granny did.  I have done the same with a few new lodges I bought in the last 10 years or so.  Seams to work fine.  That and Bacon.  But not quite sure how vegeterians season cast iron, but interested.  I am veryhappy with all of the lodge products I have. 
 
Len Ovens
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Leila wrote:
I think olive oil wouldn't be ideal for seasoning, as it tends to be a bit 'gluey', and then there's the smoke-point thing.


I have found the same thing with any unsaturated oils. (vegetable oils)

thomas wrote:
Buy a lodge and fry fish and hushpuppies in it for a few meals.  Thats what my granny did.  I have done the same with a few new lodges I bought in the last 10 years or so.  Seams to work fine.   That and Bacon.   But not quite sure how vegeterians season cast iron, but interested.  I am veryhappy with all of the lodge products I have. 


I second that... But I buy cheaper stuff than Lodge, I have some Lodge and some "made in China" knockoffs. After seasoning, there doesn't seem to be any difference. I would be willing to pay Lodge prices or maybe more for machined pans though.... I don't need the pre seasoned stuff.... just more work to remove the gick of uncertain origin.

There are saturated oils from vegetable origins. Coconut oil comes to mind and seems to work ok.... a bit pricey though. Edit- just checked to make sure this was not the frugal forum.... cocnut oil doesn't fit there...
 
                                    
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I will check on the smoke point of olive. I am not willing to start frying in animal or saturated fats, so maybe I need to get one good quality pan and see what I can do with it. It's not worth it to me to trade one thing bad for your health for something else. That just doesn't make sense to me. I would probably look at stainless steel if that was the case. We will see how it turns out with one pan.

I really appreciate the input. It surely helps to hear other people's experiences and knowledge. Thanks!!
 
Len Ovens
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lilacgirl wrote:
I will check on the smoke point of olive. I am not willing to start frying in animal or saturated fats, so maybe I need to get one good quality pan and see what I can do with it. It's not worth it to me to trade one thing bad for your health for something else. That just doesn't make sense to me. I would probably look at stainless steel if that was the case. We will see how it turns out with one pan.


I am sure you may hear this a few times  but the evidence of any bad things from saturated fats is very sparse.... mostly from one very poorly done study with no control (two sets of people with completely different diets.... not just the fats and so it may have easily been something else in the diet that caused problems). unsaturated fats are great on salad but heated tend to turn into transfats... which are bad. Anyway, lots of religious fervour on both sides, so feel free to choose one. I have been thinking that the seasoning on cast iron is more than just fat, probably a mix of all the organic stuff we cook with so what kind of oil may have less to do with things than we think.

Stainless.... stuff sticks to it. We have one but my wife never uses it. (actually we have 2 or three, but only one works with our stove)
 
Saybian Morgan
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I'm a bit late to the parade, but I have no ill's against Lodge, just because Wal-mart want's in on the notoriety of quality doesn't mean after over 100 year's lodge has gone "china bound" They certainly don't carry it in the canadian walmart or I'd be there hoping to save because wal-mart make's order's by the million. America is a bit different but where I live in the most expensive city in canada, I can only get access to "basic" lodge frying pans at gourmet exclusive shops. Till I found 1 single camping store called 3 Vet's "veterans" they had everything!. I asked them after buying almost $1200 dollar's in cast iron how much of this do you sell, they said other than the typical frying pan to a hypster, just your $1200 dollar's this year. 

I didn't even know there were distinction's between pan's until I came across lodge, I thought everything that was black and un lift-able was the same. I have experienced the difference between my wife's grandmother pan's and Lodge, but it will take me 80 year's to really know with a capital K there's a difference. But my wife seem's to feel they have some magic. I just appreciate that if I screw up and leave them dirty for two days they don't rust up like the regular cast iron. I wish I was savy enough to provide a manufacturing argument.  But i feel made in america mean's  what it once did when I buy lodge, I really value having no doubt about a purchase, and never ever being apart of planned obsolescence.

On the cooking oil issue, I use coconut oil, it smoke's up on me but it's all I have at the moment, i wish I could afford olive oil, all the cheap oil's make one or another person in my family violently sick or just plain FAT. I do find the lower temp oil's are more prone to stuff sticking due to viscosity breakdown, and olive oil isn't cheap. If you keep it virgin i stick to drinking it.

Anyways just trying to give a genuine experience about lodge, and I can't imagine how dangerous using my lodge would be on a ceramic cooktop, I can barely not smash anything it comes in contact with when I start whipping out the 15 inch skillet.
 
Dave Bennett
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I have Griswold/Wagner/Lodge.  I use them all but I never shop at Slavemart.  The fact that Griswold machined their cookware stands as a testament to the days of "Yankee craftsmanship."  I use very thick "military style" stainless steel utensils on my pans and after several years of "smoothing them with the edge of the utensils they are all as smooth as my old Griswold pans.  If you can afford it and are interested in a lighter option there is a French company called de Buyer that makes plain high iron content "gray steel" pans.  They call them iron pans but they are a very old type of plain steel.  They season just like cast iron and are 1/2  the weight but....... they are very expensive.  Usually found in the kitchens of high end French restaurants they are commercial kitchen tough.  I have several of them too.  I got them as a wedding gift back in the 70's when I was working as a chef.  I love them and for doing omelets, crepes, and general frying.  The saute pans are excellent too.  It is an alternative to finding a genuine Griswold in good shape.  The collector value of a Griswold can make the price prohibitive.  Finding de Buyer cookware isn't as difficult as it was before the internet came along but they are well worth the investment if you love to cook as much as I do. 
Lodge ironware is the best available these days and I love my cast iron wok.  It is unbelievably heavy but once it is heated it is a pleasure to use. 
 
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