I have a love affair with cast iron. It’s no secret. Sid has an addiction to cast iron. Before I met Sid, I would browse the Griswold on eBay, just dreaming of a day when I would have enough cash to possibly buy one or two nice skillets. When I came to Sid’s house the first few times, I eyeballed his cast iron and wondered. The first time I cooked at Sid’s house, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on those skillets and “LAAAAAAA” a heavenly chorus broke into song and I couldn’t believe he not only had Griswold . . . he wasn’t afraid to use it. He had me at “Griswold.”
Griswold cast iron, when properly seasoned and maintained, has a nonstick finish. No soap or detergent necessary! Just use a scrub brush, heat and oil (we use EVOO). Griswold has a finish that is so smooth and even, it’s a breeze! Griswold cast iron was produced in Erie, PA from 1865 to 1957. In addition to the black cast iron, they also produced many other items, enamel cookware and even some small electrics and grills. Most collectors focus on the large logo Griswold because it is the most valuable, highest quality and best casting. The small logo Griswold is fine for everyday use, though, and it is quite affordable. We love it all!
I have and use modern cast iron and, in my opinion, ya get what ya pay for. Some of the less expensive cast iron is very rough and would take years to bring to this kind of mirror finish. I’m not sure it’s possible! My huge Dutch ovens, that I use outside with charcoal, cook really well, but I have to line them with parchment liners because they are very hard to clean. I recently acquired a small Le Creuset cast iron skillet and it is extremely high quality and, unfortunately, pricey! I love the look, feel and the way it cooks! Cast iron is so versatile, I use it on the stovetop, in the oven, on the grill, over the fire, for deep frying and even with charcoal. It’s all good.
Cast iron skillets will shatter if dropped. They will also break your toe. Soaking is the enemy of cast iron. Never let black skillets soak in the sink unless it is enamel cast iron. Enameled cast iron can soak and some enamel can even go in the dishwasher! Not mine!!!
Cooking in cast iron is healthy! The well-maintained finish requires very little fat for cooking and can bring more iron into your daily diet. Our bodies need iron for energy and to maintain immunity.
If you are trying to beat the sedentary lifestyle, cast iron is for you! Moving a Dutch or French oven from the stovetop to the oven is a workout, but as far as durability and collectibility, there’s no comparison. It will hold up to everyday wear and tear, even metal utensils with no sweat! With a minimum of maintenance, cast iron will be around for hundreds of years. So, pitch your teflon and toxic nonstick skillets and get yourself an heirloom quality piece that will be treasured for generations.