Cast Iron Baby!
Everybody has cookware in their home if they cook real food. I grew up in a family where my Dad spent a nice amount of money on stainless steel cookware. My parents who are both 82 and still live independently still use this cookware today. It has held up all these years for them. Spending a good chunk of their money on stainless steel pots and pans paid off in both the longevity of the cookware as well as their health. We will talk about the healthy part soon in this article. When I bought my first set of cookware it was some sort of metal coated with enamel. I had to have cookware that was trendy and country in design. I really do not know how healthy it was for me to cook on that cookware back then as I did not have the sense to study it before I purchased it. I can tell you one thing, it lasted for ever but it was not NONSTICK! Later when I had more money, I bought myself a nice set of stainless steel, like father, like daughter.
When I married my husband Randy, we inherited his mother's cast iron. She had a lot of it and gave us many pieces. I have in turn paid it forward and my daughter Gabrieal has been given a few of her pieces. My husband re-seasoned all of them and today we cook on them full time. Once I started using cast iron, I noticed how the flavor was brought out so much more in food. I like how they heat up and cook evenly. Now that people are becoming aware of the positives of cast iron, there are many different types of cast iron cookwares available now days. I can honestly say that Randy and I have been cooking off them full time for over ten years now and I can not imagine not having them to use.
What are the benefits of cast iron? Cast iron cookware retains heat much better than other similar sized pots and pans. So if you serve your meal in the cast iron after you cook it, it is more than likely will remain warm the entire meal. It will boost your iron intake by cooking in cast iron. So if you are high in iron, maybe go the stainless steel route. You can go from the stovetop to the oven with no problem and they last forever if taken care of. When the cast iron pan is well seasoned it will rear a lovely sheen which renders it virtually nonstick. Because of that beautifully seasoned skillet, we use less oil when cooking. One of the biggest benefits of using cast iron rather than nonstick cookware is there are NO HARMFUL CHEMICALS in cast iron!!! That alone should motivate one to cook on cast iron and throw the chemical pots and pans out. I mean why would you want to contaminate your children or your family with chemicals from cooking home cooked meals. Lots and lots of people do just that several times per day. I hope this article will change one person's mindset on nonstick cookware. The mindset should be not in your home. There is a repellant coating on nonstick cookware which is what keeps the food from sticking to the pots and pans. The chemical in that repellant is perfluorocarbon. It has been linked to liver damage,thyroid disease, developmental problems, cancer, and early menopause according to a study in 2011 for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Once the pan is heated the chemicals are inhaled in fume form, especially from high heat. Are you ready to replace your cookware yet? I hope so. Another thought is where does that teflon coating go when it starts coming off the pan? Are you eating it? Another problem with nonstick cookware.
Stainless steel is definitely another option, but in my opinion, the benefits with the cast iron outweigh the steel, so I am sticking with my cast iron. I have made many great meals with cast iron and I have many different sizes and shapes and even a panni grilling type pan. However there is one skillet by Emeril, the famous cook, that remains on my cooktop full time and is used the most. It is like or is a griddle pan, round in shape and has about a 1/2 rim on it. Great for egg frittatas baked in oven and once I baked a giant chocolate chip cookie in it!
I would suggest looking around at garage sales for your first cast iron skillet. Many people do not know or understand the value of them and practically give them away. If you can find one that is in pretty decent shape, you can bring her home for $5 and google how to season her and clean her correctly. You can find them in thriftstores too. Enjoy my friend, there is no going back now.
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