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What is all the hype of cast iron cookware?

I bought cast iron a while back and I've stopped using it. I now use an all clad with aluminum core most of the time. I heard that cast iron was a must because you could easily do the jobs of other cookware with replacements, but you can't replace cast iron for the jobs it can do. I find that ANY job I could do on cast iron I could do on my new pan, probably even better. There's more temperature control, the pan is lighter, I can make rouxs and pan sauces so much easier, it can go into the oven as well. I found the only thing good for cooking with cast iron was steak and southern cooking, which all could easily be made on my more versatile all-clad. Am I doing something wrong? Cast iron is so restricting and specific for certain foods. I can't do anything that damages the seasoning or reacts with iron, which includes anything with acid or long boiling or stewing times. I thought cast iron was the best. Someone please convince me not to trash my skillet Cast iron, copper, and stainless steel, all have similar heat capacities by weight. Stainless steel has terrible conductivity, but so does cast iron. Copper has superior conductivity plus only slightly less heat capacity. Still need convincing My pan is definitely seasoned properly. Black and smooth. The problem is, no matter how well seasoned it is, everytime I use something with tomatoes, lemon, wine braises, vinegar, etc I see the seasoning come right off. How did the french cook coq au vin in dutch ovens back then? I don't understand. Cast iron is definitely good for southern food or anything greasy, but I don't want something that heavy and clunky lying around in my tiny apartment when I can cook the same exact foods AND everything else in thick stainless steel.

Asked By: BUNguyenI - 4/27/2007
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Cast iron cookware actually adds iron to your diet. This may have been an important factor many years ago. But, you're right about the conveniences of other cookware. My cast iron skillet sits in my pantry and I only use it for fried chicken, which I rarely make anymore. I bake cornbread in a small cast iron... More
Answered By: Happy1 - 4/27/2007
Additional Answers (15)
No one type of cookware should be used for everything. Sure, all cookware can be used for everything, but you will get better results if you play to their advantages. See attached link for differences. http://www.kitchenemporium.com/info/cookmaterial.html
Answered By: tiggerjnw - 4/27/2007
 
If you don't mind a big HEAVY skillet, cast iron cookware is great. Once you properly season your skillet, you almost never have to worry about the food sticking. Also, as you cook, you release a little of the iron into your food and supplement your intake of iron in your diet. I have cooked everything in my... More
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Answered By: Lyn H - 4/27/2007
 
when your all clad wears out you can be glad you still have the cast iron.sure cast iron is fickle. you need to take care of it. it doesnt like lemon or soap. it loves pork parts and grease. its not very healthy cookware is it? it will be around 2oo years from now tho..will your all clad? LOL!
Answered By: websterjdjr - 4/27/2007
 
Did you "season" the iron before using it? If not, there is a large part of your problem. If you haven't seasoned the skillet, scour it clean with hot clear water, not soap. Soap residue may cling to the metal. Dry the surface with paper towel and then air dry a few minutes. Now, you have to babysit the skillet for... More
Answered By: Acorn S - 4/27/2007
 
When you cook with aluminum, it gets into the blood stream. Iron does not. Aluminum is deadly to the human system. Perhaps this is the reason for 'pushing' cast iron.
Answered By: SANCHA - 4/27/2007
 
I do a lot of Indian (Asian) cooking, so I have come to depend a lot on my cast iron pan and skillet. Over time, with proper care it is easy for your cast iron cookware to acquire a shiny non-stick patina. So that I can cook at higher temperatures without the smell of teflon burning... More
Answered By: artycrafty - 4/27/2007
 
Although it is heavy, it is the most durable. The reason it's liked so much is because once heated, it maintains an even heat throughout the whole pan. It's like cooking on the grill with half of it on high and the other on medium, your food won't cook evenly. Season your pan like suggested by Acorn S. right on the... More
Answered By: pops - 4/27/2007
 
With a properly seasoned cast iron pan you can cook anything. I have made pies, cakes, chicken, soup, rouxs and cream sauces, quiches, chili, oatmeal and more in the pans I have... More
Answered By: kia - 4/27/2007
 
You need cast iron to bake proper corn bread in. Absolutely nothing else creates the lovely wonderfully crisp deep brown crust.
Answered By: Juddles - 4/27/2007
 
It is right that one should choose cookware to suit your requirement,your preference & kitchen decor,I would however listen to the voice of experienced cooks & to their tried & tested opinion.
Answered By: dee k - 5/2/2007
 
I absolutely love my cast iron cookware. My fiance, who is not a cook, routinely uses metal utensils on non-stick cookware. This damages the surface and makes food stick. So, along comes my cast iron, and it is nearly indestructable! I love making cream soups in it, which sounds like they would turn out dark. But... More
Answered By: lynnrd - 5/3/2007
 
You have to season the cast iron skillet if you want it to cook right & not stick... More
Answered By: born again - 5/4/2007
 
easier to clean thats all :)
Answered By: Thereza - 5/4/2007
 
the reason that cast iron is good for cooking is that the metal is thick and although take time to pre heat when food is added there isn't as much recovery time i.e. the pan doesn't lose heat also the thickness and heavyness of the metal offers more even heat through out the pan eliminating hot spots in the pan you are... More
Answered By: chefj - 5/4/2007
 
when you cook in a cast iron skillet your food ttaste better and your meat will brown better . in a stainless steal your food will burn hotteer and you dont get the rihgt temp
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Answered By: jojo - 5/4/2007
 
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