Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Few of my Favorite Things... (3)

I received a great gift for my Birthday this year from my soon-to-be mother-in-law: a cast iron skillet, a corn tortilla press and some masa harina flour (corn flour with lime in it). I've been having lots of fun with all three, but I have really come to enjoy the cast iron skillet, especially since I threw out my worn and slightly scratched teflon pans not too long ago. There are varying reports on the danger of teflon, but I'd rather err on the side of caution then ingest harmful toxins. Also, the well-respected Environmental Working Group has some really interesting (according to a study, teflon toxicity is linked to hundreds of pet bird deaths) articles on the subject; it really makes you wonder.

There are many other options out there for cookware like stainless steel and calphalon, but cast iron, along with being incredibly inexpensive, has some other perks: it lasts a lifetime, it evenly distributes heat and if seasoned properly, it requires no oil or fat when cooking. has some great tips on buying cast iron (and they also have good ideas for other kitchenware and Christmas Dinnerware if you're still in search of gifts). Lodge also has great tips on cleaning your cast iron and maintaining it.

For those gluten-intolerant folks out there, it should be noted that because of the nature of cast iron and the fact that you don't really "wash" it, there's a big chance that any cast iron passed down from generation to generation most likely could be contaminated with gluten.


Emilia said...

I don't trust teflon so I mainly have cast iron pans, but I do use a teflon pan for eggs.

Even if teflon was safe I would use cast iron pans because of the heat distribution :)

Ricki said...

What a lovely gift! I heard about this on 60 Minutes a while back and threw away all my teflon (but one, for really delicate things that just MUST NOT stick!) I love my cast iron, but I'm nowhere near the "doesn't stick" level yet--I keep wondering how long it takes to become truly nonstick. Or maybe I'm just not using it right! It cooks up beautifully, but so far everything still clings to it! Any tips?

Liz said...

After about a month of use and many eggs, I've managed to finally cook eggs on mine, emilia. though, my cast iron was pre-seasoned before i received it as a gift. but i've found the key is to cook the eggs at a very low temperature and it certainly takes longer.

I'm, not expert ricki, but lodge has some great tips on keeping it non-stick found here

it sounds like the key is to oil after each use.

Jenny said...

Merry Christmas Liz!!!

Tiffany said...

I love cast iron, what a great gift! Good point about the possible contamination of old cast iron :)