Sunday, December 03, 2006


The Instapundit (yeah, like he needs the links) is talking about cookware. My favorite, my most treasured cookware gets one single line.
Cast iron is good. Once again, however, for me the dishwasher issue rears its ugly head. Again, your results may differ.
Oh, please.

Dishwashers don't hurt cast iron, although some prefer to hand wash them. I currently regularly use eight pieces of cast iron cookware, and am constantly looking for more. Yeah, I know that Lodge makes new cast iron, but I prefer to find mine at yard sales or flea markets. The heritage cast iron has a nicer patina than the new stuff. Also, the new cast iron seems to be rougher than the old stuff. I'm not sure if that is part of the manufacturing process or if the smoothness of the old stuff reflects years of use. Still, we have a new dutch oven that I'd like to use sandpaper on to smooth it out. When you can, buy heritage cast iron. When you can't, buy new.

Some folks swear by Griswold cast iron. I've never seen the difference between an old Griswold and an old Lodge. They both work fine, which is to say, like cast iron.

We keep the smaller skillets on a pot rack above the kitchen island, and this isn't a display rack. We use these skillets for a number of tasks. The larger skillets and the dutch ovens are kept under the counter. The majority of our cooking is done on cast iron. Looking at that picture, I notice one of the frying pans is missing. It's probably in the dishwasher.

When Milady and I set up housekeeping, one of my tasks was to determine which cast iron we kept and which was sent forward to the children. One of my sons has a cast griddle that his great-grandmother used. I have no doubt that with just a modicum of care, my pots will be used three generations from now. If that ain't durable, then nothing is.

For good heat transfer, durability, ease of use, and just general "cool" nothing beats cast iron.

So, to Glenn Reynolds, I give this advice. Go visit a flea market or garage sale and pick up a piece or two of cast iron. Run them through the dishwasher and tell me if they're hurt. I'll wager not.


Anonymous said...

Cast iron in the dishwasher?!?! OH THE HORROR OF IT!!

Actually, it won't hurt it, but it will take most of the "seasoning" out of it, and you'll have to reseason it. i often don't even use soap when I clean my cast iron skillets, just hot hot water and lots of "elboy grease". Then dry well, and wipe down with a very light coat of either mineral or vegetable oil.

The Termite

Anonymous said...

I've got one stovetop style 5 qt dutch oven that I use all the time.

I've also got a mini Chinese campfire dutch oven, but I found out about the roughness of the finish first hand. It doesn't really take a seasoning.

My research indicates that Lodge (still made in the USA) is skipping the final fine grinding on the cooking surfaces, likely to try to compete with the flood of imports. I suppose that there's not many educated consumers out there, but because of that, I won't buy Lodge.

Some of the Griswold things can get into the hundreds of dollars from collectors. The 12 and 14 inch pans are still pretty plentiful, but a 13” is worth some cash. I'd ebay it for a few hundred and a good 14” if I had one myself.

There's not much cast iron available at the yard sales around here, but if I find a piece and it's got a smooth cooking surface I'm gonna grab it. It's a PITA to get the cornbread out of the dutch oven, I really need a skillet (or a corn stick pan).

I'm sure you've heard this trick but for those who have not, I clean any rare bits of stuck food off my cast iron with some soaking and a scrubbing with a paper towel and some salt. Re-oil afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Washing cast iron cookware in a dishwasher causes pimples and ED.

Anonymous said...

You must like to season your Iron a lot to put them in the dishwasher