There are several reason that people rave about their cast-iron cookware. Besides being an ideal heat conductor, cast iron heats evenly and consistently, it is inexpensive and will last a lifetime (actually several lifetimes) with proper care, and it is an old-fashioned way to cook fat free. (See Cooking with Cast Iron below on the left.) When well seasoned, a cast-iron pan will be stick resistant and require no additional oil.
The benefits of cast-iron pans are terrific: Foods glide out of it as from no pan made with Teflon; it goes from stove to oven; no special utensils are needed to cook in it; it won't warp, and cleanup is a cinch. It's time people realize the culinary wonder that a cast-iron pan can be!
Professional chefs consider cast-iron pans to be precision cooking tools, as these dependable pans enable precise control of cooking temperatures. Their heat retention qualities allow for even cooking temperature without hot spots. Cast-iron pans can be used on top of the stove or to bake in the oven. All our grandmothers had cast iron skillets and stove-top griddles. In fact, your grandmother swore by it and the pioneers depended on it.
If you don't own a cast-iron skillet, it's well worth the time and money to invest in one. You can find them for sale on the internet, at cook stores everywhere, thrift stores, flea markets, or you can scour the tag and yard sales for one that might look as if it has seen better days. If the pan is rusty or encrusted with grease, buy it anyway. Don't worry! I'll tell you how to get that new or old one into shape so you can enjoy it for a lifetime of fat free cooking. You'll be able to pass the pan on to your own children and grandchildren.
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