*Old VS New Cast Iron*
17 May 2014
All cast iron is not created equal. As most of us know things made long ago were of higher quality and built to last several life times. How many non stick pans have you gone through? I know we've gone through several and on top of the non stick coating wearing off they often seem to warp and bulge in the middle. So your thinking that $20 cast iron skillet on the shelf which is double the price of a non stick will be a better investment since that's what grandmas always used and loved. Not so fast, if you take a close look you'll notice a lot of tiny bumps on that new pre-seasoned skillet. Those tiny bumps will allow food between them and cause many headaches and time wasted scrubbing a skillet that's only supposed to need wiped out with a towel.
Here's why and it's no secret once you start to research cast iron cookware. The modern cast skillet isn't machined on the cooking surface like the older skillets to save time and money.
Here are two skillets both from lodge the first is one bought recently and you can clearly see the rough cooking surface.
This skillet is from the same company but was bought many years ago and has been used a lot.
As you can see the bumps are much smaller or almost nonexistent. This is still not a machined skillet though, while you can get away with a skillet like this it's still not the best.
This last skillet though is what you're looking for. It's a Wagner and is pre-1960's with a machined surface.
The seasoning on this pan is ugly and was laid on a little thicker than necessary but it was put on by the person selling it. This pan, like most good ones you will find, was picked up at a flea market for $18. It is significantly lighter than the newer pans of the same size and has survived 50+ years so I have no doubts about the quality. If you want a pan that can be used when camping, or at home and will last longer than you, cast is the way to go.
Do your research and hit the yard sales and flea markets and it shouldn't be long until you find a gem like this for around $20. Unless you're into collecting I would skip over the more expensive skillets as they aren't going to cook your pancakes any faster.Bignasty
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