Cast Iron Cookware

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I grew up with my father cooking with cast iron frying pans all the time. He used them with regular cooking in the kitchen. But he also used them while we were camping, over an open fire. His specialty (whether camping or in the kitchen) was and still is, fried eggs & potatoes, all cooked with a cast iron frying pan.
I, on the other hand, have never cooked with cast iron before. I’ve been given 4 different cast iron frying pans, but have never used them. They were all rusty, dirty, in a word, yucky. Plus, they just seemed like such a pain to cook with.

I had read up on them, how to clean them, how to season them and how to cook with them, but still, it all seemed like such work. But then the other day, after walking past the pile of rusty pans for the upteenth time, I don’t know what changed, but all of a sudden I wanted to try using them. Maybe it was watching my dad cook with his old cast iron frying pan over the weekend. Maybe it was because I had re-arranged my kitchen, and wanted to do something new. I don’t know, all I know is I had this urge to get them cleaned up, and start using them.

I wanted to use them right away, but didn’t have time on Monday night to use them. So last night I decided to make some fried eggs & potatoes in the biggest pan. It was a learning experience. I read they distributed heat well, but goodness, they really cook hot. I think I had too many potatoes in there, and started with the heat too high. They were browning up before they were cooked through. But I figured it out, and they turned out ok.

So what are my thoughts on using a cast iron frying pan? Well, I did like the taste, and it was fun to cook with. But there was more ‘work’ to cleaning it and such like I thought there would be. Not too bad though. Guess I’m just use to the convenience of not having to worry if water is sitting in the pan, if it’s dried all the way, or if there is too much grease left on it that it can turn rancid if not used every day. But I will use it again. Besides those factors, I did enjoy using it. I think it will cook the potatoes, or anything else I cook, very well. And this is an older pan I got from my dad (I think). It is well used and seasoned, so the care of it isn’t as time consuming as the newer ones I have. I have really small ones, that I’m not sure what I will cook in them. So now I’m wondering if I should try and get some bigger ones. But I guess I first need to use this one more, and make sure I really like it.

So how about you? Do you use cast iron cookware? How do you like it? Do you have any special things you like making in it? And would you have any ideas on what to cook in really small pans? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

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