After much pining, The Husband finally gave in to my simple American dream: to own a cast iron pan. Yes, I am now a proud owner of a 12-inch Lodge cast iron pan ($18.97 + Tax @ Kroger).
It now is permanently glued on one of the burners of our electric stove and I’ve been using it everyday for the past week in both Asian (vetegable stir fries) and Western cooking (steaks, pasta and more sautéed veggies). But then again, my cast iron pan and I didn’t have this buddy-buddy relationship earlier. It took me three weeks before I garnered the courage to work with it.
It is a daunting cookware, especially if you are inexperienced with such, so you need to ask yourself a couple of very important questions before heading to your favorite kitchen store and getting one…
#1 Can you actually lift the damn thing on a regular basis?
I don’t know exactly how much it weighs (According to Amazon’s shipping details, it weights 8 pounds! Gasp!), but it sure is hefty, as I do need both my hands and full-on upper body strength to lift it (and to think that I, who regularly works out, am quite capable of heavy lifting).
So if you can’t do the heavy lifting, maybe look in another direction for cookware, as this is not an ideal cookware for the weak. It can actually double as weights in case you do workout.
#2 Do you own a pair of oven mitts / potholders?
The beauty of the cast iron pan is the even distribution of heat…even on the handles. Unless you want to get second-degree burns on your hands, you must absolutely have oven mitts / potholders to handle a cast iron pan. This is why I constantly have to remind myself to grab a hold of my potholders whenever I cook with it, especially sometimes mind flies elsewhere when I am cooking. Eeep.
If you don’t own a pair of oven mitts / potholders, just make sure you do budget for a pair when you will get your own cast iron pan.
#3 Are you willing to clean it using the 3-step process: wash, dry, and season, every time you use it?
You don’t clean cast iron the same way you do other cookware.
The use of cold water and soap are not encouraged. Plus one should follow a 3-step process: scrubbing-washing with hot water, drying and seasoning. Seasoning a cast iron pan does not mean rubbing it with herbs and spices, but rather ensuring that the pan does have enough oil to enhance its non-stick qualities. I give mine a good scrubbing with regular cooking oil (I use canola oil).
So if you are one who heavily relies on the dishwasher and not be willing to change ways, maybe you should think about the cast iron purchase a bit more.
Hope these questions will help you answer the call to the cast iron pan. Though I didn’t ask these prior to buying, I don’t have any regrets getting this because I know that this will last me a lifetime.
Delirious about delicious,
P.S. It is funny how the same product (Lodge cast iron pan) varies in price in different stores. Some supermarkets and specialty stores sell this same product at $30++! So just make sure to find the one that sells at the lowest price.