Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pan demonium.

Yesterday I lodged a complaint against beans. Today I lodge a complaint against Lodge. Looks like this is my year for grumbling. 

When I say Lodge, I don't mean the Raccoons, or Great Wolf Lodge, or the log cabin where the natives hunker down. I'm talking about Lodge, makers of the popular cookware and cartoon head-smackers like this:

There it is, seven pounds of iron, second maybe only to the rolling pin for casual comic strip violence. As we know from clips like this from the Disney documentary Tangled, you can wallop people as hard as you want with such kitchen utensils and only induce a sort of temporary sleepiness; no broken teeth, shattered skulls, or death.

The cast-iron pan is a magical device, capable of frying, broiling, baking, anything, at home or on the road or on the trail or in a ditch by the side of the road or in hobo camp. You name it!

But it has one awful weakness:


I have a Cuisinart pan with a metal handle (a metal handle, by the way, that stays cool while frying) that can cook on the stovetop and then go into the oven, for when I want to make -- if I wanted to make something that starts on the stovetop and then goes in the oven. Or vice versa. To clean that pan, I rinse it out and -- follow me closely here -- put it in the dishwasher. Then I dry it on the dish rack and put it away.

Does that work for Mighty Cast-Iron? Let's ask Lodge:
Wash cast iron by hand with a nylon bristle scrub brush. If needed, use a pan scraper for stuck on bits.
For extra sticky situations, simmer a little water for 1 minute, then use the scraper after cooled.
Dry promptly and thoroughly with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.
Rub with a very light layer of cooking oil or our Seasoning Spray, preferably while the cookware is still warm.
Hang or store cookware in a dry place.
Sensing a few extra steps in there?

Seems like the mighty cast-iron cookware is as brittle as a ballerina on amphetamines. If it were any more demanding it would expect all the brown M&M's to be removed.

I know all the chefs swear by cast-iron pans, and people are willing to lug half a ton of metal with them on camping trips to use them, but I guess I don't know why. What's the big advantage over a lighter pan that can do the same things? I admit I've never been to hobo camp; perhaps they could tell me why so many people prefer cast-iron.

Maybe they're wives with husbands who have developed an immunity to the rolling pin. Or maybe they think they'll have to duel three royal guards and a horse.

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