Cast iron pans – our grandmothers swore by them and cooked everything in them, from bacon to polenta, and we do too. They are an inexpensive kitchen essential (and we love the cute handle covers shown in the photo).
A good size to have is a 12-inch pan. It must be seasoned by rubbing with oil and heated in the oven at 375 degrees for a couple of hours. This prevents it from rusting and creates a “natural” nonstick finish that gets better each time you use it (unlike that old Teflon pan).
When cleaning a cast iron pan, never use soap. A simple rinse with hot water and scrub with a brush will do the trick. Then immediately dry it by heating it over a stove until all the water evaporates, otherwise it will rust.
We have found a number of well-loved cast iron pans at yard sales and thrift shops and we’ve recently noticed them for sale in department stores, big-box retailers, and cooking shops. Tennessee-based Lodge Manufacturing, founded in 1896 and still family-owned, is perhaps the most well-known brand in the US.
Recipe for your cast iron pan: Pork Chops with Leek, Prune and Cream Sauce