Adventures of an unfussy foodie.

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August 25, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: Cast-Iron Skillet

A cast-iron skillet is something I have wanted for a REALLY long time. I keep eyeing them every time I get the opportunity -- lifting them up, feeling their heft and dreaming about beautifully seared meats and crusty biscuits and peach cobbler and... and.. and.. and... beautifully roasted chicken!!!

On Monday, I was ridiculously jet-lagged but needed to get out of the house for an hour or so. So I did something very dangerous: I went to Williams-Sonoma where I drooled over the cast-iron pans on display there. I was able to hold off buying one. (Whew!) But then I kept thinking about it when I got home. And I got on Amazon. I ordered the new Hunger Games book -- and because you need to spend over $25 to get free shipping, I also broke down and ordered my long-desired 12" cast-iron skillet.

What?! I was weak with exhaustion. Plus, it was $18. And a sound investment.

I already have a perfectly adequate set of pans, including two lovely, large skillets. So why does cast iron rock my socks so much?

I'll tell you.

Let's start with performance. Cast-iron cookware is well-known for even distribution and retention of heat. This means that your food will cook evenly instead of having hot spots here and there. While cast-iron pans take a long time to heat up, once you get them going they cook like champs. As an added bonus, cast-iron pans can go directly from stove-top to oven and back again without a second thought.

Cast-iron withstands high temperatures, and sears meat beautifully. When seasoned properly, cast-iron is non-stick with no questionable chemical coating. It also lends a beautiful flavor to foods.

Moving on, let's talk about value (because, as the Barenaked Ladies so aptly put it, I'm all about value). Have you ever seen someone destroy a cast-iron pan? These things are indestructible! They last for generations. They are the tanks of cookware. If you can get past how pretty enameled cast-iron pieces are (Oy with the Le Creuset! I'm all verklempt over here.), I think you'll find that bare cast iron has a charm of its own, particularly when you consider their affordability.

Do I have you convinced yet? If not, you should hop on over to The Pioneer Woman Cooks for some cast-iron inspiration.

What do you have on your wishlist? Do you have any thoughts on cast-iron cookware? Any tips to share with me while I break in my new acquisition?
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