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Cast Iron Cookware
Contributed by: Cajun Clark
That's right, every kitchen needs Cast Iron Cookware; at least
a couple of pieces, because... If you want cookware with the
original non-stick cooking surface, that will outlast what you
commonly find today called non-stick, then you need to start a
lifelong rewarding affair with that been-around-since-before-
time-began cast iron variety. Nothing sticks to seasoned cast
iron, it can't peel or scratch like "non-stick" cookware can,
and it's even rust resistant if properly seasoned. Read on...
If that's not reason enough, consider these facts: Cast iron
is virtually indestructible; cannot wear out; will never warp,
dent, chip, or break. Cast iron heats evenly, and that ends
hot spots and burnt food; it keeps hot food hot longer. And
that means you can use less heat and water when cooking with
iron, thereby saving energy and preserving nutrients.
However, there is one caution: According to a study that
appeared in July 1986, in the Journal of The American Dietetic
Association, "cooking in iron utensils significantly increased
the iron content of food." If you have any questions or doubts,
see your doctor. But, even though this may be the case for some
people, as far as many folks are concerned, especially those
using family heirloom pieces that have been handed down for
generations, food cooked in cast iron tastes better; it's just
Now, let's suppose you don't have a good old fashioned cast
iron skillet, but have decided to take the plunge; to spend a
few bucks at your local brick-and-mortar retailer, or even on
line for that matter; to become the proud owner of a
non-seasoned, not-yet-ready-to-use piece of cast iron.
What's the first thing you need to do?
Get in shape! If you're going to check out cast iron cookware at
your local discount store, you'd better start your conditioning
program a couple of weeks before you plan to venture out. If
you're doing all your research and shopping on line, you have
a little longer, but not much.
Why all the fuss about getting in shape? you ask. The answer
is obvious, think about it. Cast iron cookware is heavy stuff;
the bigger, the heavier (gee, that makes sense). It's not made
for easy handling by the-years-gone-by 99-pound-now-235-pound-
weakling. Some pieces should come with special accessories!
Some pieces are so heavy... How heavy are they? you ask.
They're soooo heavy that you should have a second person help
you lift it, and that's when it's empty. Or, if you can get
someone to loan you a block-and-tackle, or install an overhead
crane with track and remote control, or rig up some other type
of ingenious device, you'll be truly thankful in more ways
than one. Let me tell you about...
What? No, this is not an exaggeration. Why, we've seen grown
men brought to their knees trying to lift a full-to-within-
one-inch-from-the-top campfire style Dutch oven. Yep, we sure
have. Okay, enough is enough.
Folks, you don't need to get excited about the size of some of
these fine pieces of cookware; in all likelihood they're not
what you actually need for your own personal in-kitchen use.
In most instances, you'll probably want a 10-inch
skillet, a 14-inch reversible griddle, and a five-quart Dutch oven.
These, for the most part, are doable. However, if this
is your first encounter with cast iron, start small. Buy a
10-inch or 12-inch skillet, take it home, season it, use it,
get used to it. Then, when you find out how much you like
cooking with cast iron, make your move; strap on your
weight-lifter belt and go acquire your next piece or pieces.
Finally, as far as seasoning cast iron cookware is concerned,
it's no big deal. As anyone who has ever had any experience
with cast iron knows, if it's not seasoned properly, about the
only thing it's good for is as a door stop, boat anchor,
nut-cracker, or all three!
Cajun Clark's monster 659-page eCookbook is no longer available. His second cookbook in the series, with nearly 500 recipes
is Sweet & Sassy! http://www.cajunclarkssweetandsassy.com
You can grab a copy of Cajun Clark's Selected Freebies at