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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cooking Gear for the long Haul

If you are preparing for the worst, there is only one way to go with
cooking gear - Cast Iron.

There are a few downsides to cast iron, however they are far
outweighed by the upside. First I'll share the downsides, which many
of you already know even if you don't own cast iron pots and pans.

They are heavy. Good Lord, they are heavy!!! Lug even a small pan in
your backpack for an hour and they seem to get even heavier!

They are not as pretty as other cookware. Big, bulky and black. What
more can I say about that? Who doesn't love a beautiful stainless
steel saucepan with a copper clad base, hanging over your kitchen
island? Everyone feels a bit like Martha or Jamie when they have that.

Food sticks to them. Yes, that is true, but only if you don't know how
to take care of them. If taken care of properly, they are just as
non-stick as Teflon.

They're hard to clean. Well this is like the point above. You will get
nasty blackened tea towels and such, unless you know how to clean them

Okay, that's enough bashing of the cast iron. On to the good stuff!!!!!

Durability - I was using the cast iron pans my grandmother had up
until a few years ago. They still work, they're just with my ex-wife.
I'm sure my son could inherit them and use them for ages too.

If you should happen to boil them dry or leave them on the burner too
long, you can sand off any rust or damage and reseason the ware.

Appearance - What? Didn't I just say they were ugly? No, some people
think they are ugly. I think they are beautiful. The great thing is
that no matter who makes them, they all match! Big, bulky and black!
Plus when they're being used I like to think of a witches kitchen like
Griselda from The House of Frightenstein. Are you old enough to
remember her?

Nutrition - Cast iron imparts a bit of iron into everything you cook
or boil in it. Iron is a very important mineral to our bodies. This is
true that all other cookware imparts metal to the food too,so you
might want to rethink your aluminum or Teflon pans.

Non-stick - Properly prepared, a cast iron skillet is as non-stick as
a Teflon coated pan. Of course if you're like me, you prep your
skillet and then use a pat of butter to cook your breakfast with. In
which case, they are WAY more non-stick than Teflon - and tastier too!

Price - We recently bought a 12 inch pan, 8 inch pan, dutch oven with
basket (so we can deep fry if we want) and kettle. Our total outlay
was around $150. How much does the same cost in Lagostina? $300? Yes,
we did get a few of these things on sale. I'll tell you how we did
that. Most cast iron goods are now marketed as camping supplies. keep
visiting the hardware store or Ukrainian Tire around September and
you'll find that they go on sale. We got ours at Peavey Mart for 30%
off. For you easterners, that's kind of like TSC or the Co-op.

Now, for the most important part about cast iron. Let's take care of
it. Seasoning is the word here folks. Your cast iron ware has to be
properly seasoned. Even if the ware says it was preseasoned, I like to
do it myself. That's just me.

First, make sure the ware is clean. This is the only time you should
use any detergent on your cast iron ware.
Second, coat the ware thickly with oil - inside AND outside. I like to
use canola oil, but butter, vegetable oil or margarine works well too.
Third, open your oven and cover the bottom of it with tinfoil or
cookie sheets or whatever you have that will catch the oil that will
drip of your wares.
Fourth, warm your oven up to about 350. When it's preheated put your
cast iron ware in the oven and leave it there for at least 30 minutes.
I let it go for more like 2 hours. Again, that's just me. All that oil
seeps right into the pores of the metal, quite deeply. That will keep
it from rusting and makes it non-stick.
Fifth, take the ware out of the oven and wipe clean with paper towel
or newspaper.

When you next use or cast iron ware, the best way to clean it is to
just wipe it out right after you use it. If there is anything stuck in
it, fill it with water, bring it to a boil, dump the water and wipe it
out with paper towel or newspaper. Maybe use a little salt to scrub

Do not let your cast iron ware soak in water or use detergent on it.
If you do, then you'll have to re-season the ware.

I hope you've found this article to be helpful and I encourage you to
get your cast iron ware soon. You'll be glad you did! Every meal
tastes as good as if you were at the campfire.

Submitted by CdnGuy - make sure to check out CdnGuy's website at

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