First of all: why cast iron? Simple. It’s healthier than non-stick coated pans, incredibly sturdy and can be heated safely above 400F without unhealthy metals leaching into food.
It took me a while to come around to the idea of cast iron cookware, despite the health benefits. I imagined that everything would stick to it and that cleaning it would be impossible. But my brother told me how much he likes the old cast iron pan he bought at a yard sale, so I took the plunge.
The first cast iron piece I bought was a Lodge griddle. One side is smooth, perfect for pancakes, bacon, grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and eggs. The other side is ridged, perfect for steaks and grilled vegetables. It was pre-seasoned (i.e., oiled) so I just needed to rinse it with hot water and dry it thoroughly before using it.
The first day, I cooked breakfast and lunch on it without any problem. If you are careful with the temperature and use a bit of olive or canola oil (or butter), you won’t have any meaningful sticking. Cleaning it is easy – I just use hot water and a strong scrub brush to remove the food, then wipe it dry with a paper towel and rub in a bit of olive oil to keep it seasoned. On my brother’s recommendation, I store my cast iron in my oven when not in use.
I love it so much that I also bought a Lodge skillet, which I now use almost every day. The neat thing about this pan is the way I can sear beef to seal in the juices, then put the whole thing in the oven to finish cooking.
Oh, and did I mention that beyond the health benefits and sturdiness of cast iron, these items are far cheaper than much of the other cookware out there?
Win, win, win!