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Cast iron

Discussion in 'The Display Case' started by 3fingers, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. 3fingers

    3fingers A-List Customer

    I am a user of cast iron, not a collector. I have several pieces (6 or 8) that are my regularly used cookware. I buy what I like, usually in somewhat rough condition, and restore it myself. I like the idea of using something that has served so well for so many decades.
    My most recent and probably final piece o_O is this Griswold #12 from sometime before 1929. I waited years for this pan to come along. I paid more for it by far than any of my others, but still a small fraction of eBay prices.
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    I find some people have a strange relationship with cast iron. Many own some and don't know what to do with it. I have offended some people by refusing to buy/take their pans, even after explaining that I am not a collector and don't want to start. I have offered to restore the pans for some at no charge so they might be able to use and enjoy them. I have had few takers. Some are emotionally attached to grandma's pan, but are intimidated by it at the same time.
    Who else cooks with pans far older than they are?
     
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  2. These are just a few of the daily drivers.

    Griswold.jpg
     
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  3. I have 3 CI pans that are used on an almost daily basis. If I cook that day it is likely in one or sometimes all three of the pans. They are not older than I but I have owned and used them for all of my adult life. Two of the 3 predate my 42 years of marriage and I joke with my wife that in the event of a divorce she can have everything except my CI pans as my relationship with them predates my relationship to her. She does not like to use them as she has a hard time with the weight of them. I use them and I clean them.
     
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  4. bluesmandan

    bluesmandan One of the Regulars

    I have a lot of cast iron i use, but none of it is vintage (that i know of). I also like carbon steel paella pans.


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  5. I am also a cast iron user but not a collector. These are three generations of skillets from my Mom’s side of the family. The hammered finish, lidded skillet belonged to my maternal great-grandmother. I think it’s an unmarked Chicago Hardware Foundry #8. Next, to its left, is my grandmother’s #8 Griswold. The larger, #10 skillet is my mother’s Lodge. It was a wedding gift to my parents in 1947. The small #4 skillet is a Lodge that I bought for Mom sometime in the early 1980s. I cook in all of them.



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  6. That hammered finish is a stunner.
     
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  7. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    I have and use newer cast iron skillets. By the time of my grandmother's generation and after the war, my family tossed their cast iron in favor of Revere Ware, which is thin junk that burns everything. There was nothing for me to inherit.
    The newer cast iron stuff, and I mean after like 1920, isn't as smooth when finished and will never be as useful, no matter how much seasoning they get. The prices attached to the early stuff in shops are amazingly high, always. As the molds were reused again and again, and as demand for cast iron climbed, the resulting pans, using lesser quality metals, were simply never as good again.
    Cast iron has the reputation of heating evenly, which is a modern misunderstanding and hogwash. The molecular structure actually prevents this. What cast iron is excellent for is retention of heat once it gets hot (the whole idea behind the Aga Cooker). For perfect even heat, you need copper lined with tin (never stainless steel lining).
    My own great discovery came as a gift. I got a Staub enameled cast iron casserole for Christmas a couple of years ago. Its the best thing ever for most any task, and nothing ever sticks to it. I wish I could afford more of it.
     
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  8. 67C4D69D-EB82-41E1-A342-0974192CBEBB.jpeg

    Thanks! It is my favorite skillet. It has a lid, so it’s great for baking pork chops and other meats. And it’s small enough to be the perfect size for two people.

    AF
     
  9. IMG_5426.JPG Fried elk steaks and potatoes in lard

    No room for all my cast iron in the house. Gotta keep it out in the shop!
     
  10. This is probably my oldest piece of cast iron. It’s a footed bean pot I bought along with some other things in a craigslist sale. It has a pronounced gate mark...so I’m guessing it was made in the mid-1800s...but its only other mark, is the “8J” shown in the photo. I have no clue what this means.

    What I do know is that it cooks a great stew. In this photo, it’s cooking the beans part of a cajun Red Beans and Rice recipe I snagged from Coop’s Place on Decatur Street.

    AF

    Post Edit: I wonder if “8J” is actually “8Q”. I’ve never checked, but the pot probably holds about two gallons of liquid.


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    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  11. Hey Atticus! I have a very nice mebbe 4 qt that i cant seem to get the photo to post.

    Your is nice! And they do cook good beans!

    Hey! Everybody has some nice iron here!!! I love my cast iron.
     
  12. Mine is not vintage but I do use a cast iron Potjie pot and the tripod (I made myself with a friends forge) is Iron.
     
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  13. 3fingers

    3fingers A-List Customer

    Blacksmithing is yet another interest I'd like to develop. My youngest son is also interested. I believe a small forge project is on this winter's list.
     
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  14. Are you sure you want one. You will never have anymore time, there is always something you just need to create and you cannot imagine how you lived without it! Seriously, that's a great project and it is better in the winter than a really hot day.
     
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  15. i purchased a used nice iron wok at a Saturday market earlier this year for 50 Baht or about $USD 1.60. I learned later that the Thai script on it’s outer rim had an owners name and date 2441. 2441BE is 1898MCE. Shouldn’t have surprised me since iron is exceptionally long lasting and 119 years is not very old in the grand sceme of things.
     
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