No, I’m not some psycho chick who believes everything I read. But I do believe this: The FDA doesn’t take a stand on something unless they know it’s REALLY bad and even then, they downplay it. I mean, come on, how long did it take them to go public with the hazards of cigarettes? …Which leads me to the latest brouhaha over non-stick (teflon) pans. The idea is simple: they are “safe” if not “overheated” and as long as they are “intact” and “not peeling.”
Hmmm. How many of you are able to keep your teflon pans intact and not peeling? It’s so hard for me to keep them that way that I have come to think of them as disposable — only I’m too cheap to actually toss my old ones in the garbage! Instead, I give them to unsuspecting friends I want to kill!
So, rather than wipe out a portion of the population that actually likes me, I finally decided to rid our house entirely of non-stick so I wouldn’t be tempted to keep using them after their prime. The only acceptable non-stick alternative was the one that has been around for ages: cast iron. I know all the lazy-asses will whine, “They’re too heavy!” Or, “They rust.” And, “Everything sticks!” Yes, yes, and sometimes.
As usual, I thoroughly researched the best cast iron pans. (Everyone is reviewing them since they are back in vogue, so it was easy.) Most seemed to love the pre-seasoned Lodge brand. I bought a preseasoned Lodge griddle a few years ago and wasn’t all that impressed. It was almost rough to the touch. It has over time smoothed out, but it took longer than I expected. The very best cast iron pan I own was one I bought at an antique store ten+ years ago for something like $10. Expecting the price to have increased dramatically like everything else at antique stores during the past ten years, I slyly asked my parents for these pans for my last birthday. And, off to the antique store we went .
…It was the cheapest they have ever gotten off. I got all three in the picture above for less than $25. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t believe my parents didn’t supplement my gift with something else, like a Wacom Cintiq or something reasonable. Twenty five dollars? For your favorite child? Perhaps this year they are keeping tabs on my desire for a new DSLR and have big plans to surprise me with one to make up for such a lame gift last year. Yes. That must be the plan.
Once again, I digress; After I got them home, I cleaned the pans and re-seasoned them by heating them to oblivion and then wiping liberally with peanut oil a couple times. To clean, I use hot water as soon as I’m done cooking, maybe a quick once-over with a nylon scrubber, then whip it back on the burner to dry. I keep a paper towel that I use over and over that has olive oil on it in the drawer where I store them and just run it over the inside of the pan. When it’s cool I put it away. They are a worthy substitute for teflon, I swear.
So if that sounds like a giant pain in the ass to you, then go ahead and use teflon. They don’t call it natural selection for nothin’.