Sunday, October 06, 2019

A Tale of Two Skillets

I've been cooking on cast iron for as long as I can remember.  I learned at my Momma's knee, who learned at her Momma's knee.  It's versatile, holds heat well, and is basically non-stick.    There is a lot to love about cast iron.

I've never owned a Griswold or Wagner, although when Belle and I married she did bring some old Birmingham Stove skillets into the collection.  I used to have a pretty good selection of Lodge skillets and other cast iron goods, but between moving, a divorce, helping launch kids and the travails of life, I don't have nearly the collection I used to have.  Still, I have enough. 

Belle and I started out with a collection of smallish skillets, but as the grandkid population grew, we needed a bigger skillet, so we bough a new Lodge 12" skillet.  It was "pre-seasoned" and felt like pickup truck liner.  But over the course of several years we managed to get the surface to a point where we could actually cook in it.  (Yes, I know the sand-it-down trick, but never got that motivated.)

Last year, Belle asked me what I wanted for Christmas, ad I told her that I wanted a really nice cast iron skillet, so she bought me a 12" Stargazer.  She ordered it, and the company had hell scaling-up.  I finally took delivery in May.  Yet it has become one of my go-to skillets, the other being that bi Lodge.  We used both of them today.

Belle wanted to cook chicken fried steak with cream gravy, so I used the Stargazer while she used the Lodge.

Belle dropping steaks in the Lodge, my cream gray in the Stargazer on the right
At this stage of the game the difference between the two is the difference between eenie and meenie.  At this point, we've had the Lodge a decade longer, but the Stargazer is holding up its end of the bargain.  The question becomes; s the new skillet worth the additional money?  Well, I have pride of ownership and that's one thing, but they cook exactly alike and cooking in each of them is a joy.

Lodge, left - Stargazer, right
I have it on good authority that the Field skillet very closely approximates the weight and handiness of the old Wagner skillets, but at $125, I don't know if I'll be buying any more high-end skillets.

However, there is a large cast iron chicken-fryer at the flea market I've had my eye on. 


Anonymous said...

I was very lucky then. When my maternal Grandmother passed away in the 1980's, family members were allowed to remove two items from her household to remember her by. I chose a Wagner deep skillet and indeterminate stovetop dutch oven. I used them for well over 20 years, even when my wife tells me the new green - copper skillets are just as nonstick as they are.

But I don't think they will last near long enough to get sentimental about. I hope one of my kids continues to cook with them, many foods and soups over the years were cooked in them. Grandma cooked their family meals in the 1930's - 1940's over many a fire (the family was a migrant farmworker clan). My Aunts get very nostalgic when they see them - they are in their 70's now but were in their pre-teens when cooked on - how is that for longevity !!

M. Silvius said...

With the Lodge or even generic brand cast iron, it is imperative you spend an hour or more with a sander and remove the "truck bed liner" roughness, and then season properly. They then they perform as well as any Wagner or Griswold.