I love my cast iron cookware. I have frying pans in small, regular and super large sizes. The biggest and smallest are newer, 5-10 years old, but the regular sized one is probably around 75 years old, belonging to my son’s great grandmother. I love that it has history.
Once the pans are “seasoned” they are easy to maintain. It takes a bit of time to build up a good baked-on oil coating but then it is effortless. I can cook anything in it and then just soak it in water for a bit or scrub with a brush and hot water and it comes out clean.
It’s smooth as silk and nothing sticks to it. I love the heaviness; I love how it can tolerate very high heat and also retains heat well. I love that I can brown meat in it on the stove top and then put the whole thing in the oven, or bake a great crispy crust cornbread by pouring the batter into an already sizzling greased pan waiting in a hot oven. The super large one holds a Paella that can serve 8 and just, just fits in my little oven.
Apparently the iron that leaches from the pan, when cooking more acidic type foods, is good for you. A bit of related iron trivia: “Lucky Iron Fish” are small iron ingots (in the shape of fish) that have been developed in recent years for those in south Asian countries living in poverty and suffering from anemia (iron deficiency). They can supplement their diets by putting the “fish” into cooking water, soups, stews and rice. The Lucky Iron Fish was developed by a graduate student in Biomedical Science at the University of Guelph (Ontario). Check it out at www.luckyironfish.com