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chevbrock
04-30-2008, 11:11 AM
We've all got one - you know, the favourite wooden spoon that's nearly black at the end it's been used so many times, the old pot with the wobbly handle that you won't throw away 'cause it makes THE BEST pea & Ham soup...

My fave is my electric wok - I cook EVERYTHING in it - stir-fries (of course!) Fried rice, casseroles, even omelettes. It's magic, and so easy to clean afterwards!

tjwriter
04-30-2008, 02:09 PM
We have an old skillet my husband's grandparents gave us when we moved in together because we didn't have one of our own. We were supposed to give it back, but it's still here, seven years later.

The bottom is warped and won't sit on the burner evenly unless the heavy glass lid is on. But it's my favorite to use when I fix fried potatoes.

Mandy-Jane
04-30-2008, 02:12 PM
My takeaway food menu.

Maryn
04-30-2008, 04:54 PM
Wow, hard question. I guess it's the big Revereware skillet, since I use it about five times a week, every week. When I started haunting thrift stores for our kids' future kitchens, I made sure each kid got one.

Second-place goes to the perfect spatula, the one that's exactly the diameter of many cans, so you poke it in there, twist it, and all the contents comes out clean.

Third prize is a tie between the "slurper" (meat baster) which functions despite having gotten melty inside when sucking up something really hot, and the rubber spatula whose wooden handle is so warped it's a shallow arc. I could replace them, but they earned their battle scars in the line of duty.

Maryn, whose kitchen is crammed with things too good to give away

Bubastes
04-30-2008, 05:16 PM
My Cuisinart mini food processor. I'm surprised at how much I use it.

cray
04-30-2008, 05:18 PM
an old old cast iron skillet 9"
it's as versatile as it is deadly

johnnysannie
04-30-2008, 05:19 PM
Too hard to choose between my top three so I'll list them all....

1. my aged cast iron black skillet
2. my Westbend skillet with a nice glass lid (it's a deep skillet)
3. my porcelain coated cast iron stock pot

RLB
04-30-2008, 06:27 PM
As summer is approaching, I'm falling in love all over again with my lime squeezer. I also use my garlic press almost daily.

And ditto on the Cuisinart mini food processor.

HeronW
04-30-2008, 06:32 PM
luv my 7" chef's blade, also useful for plotting slasher hacker moves for my protags :}

TerzaRima
04-30-2008, 07:26 PM
Here's mine, with apologies to Wallace Stevens. (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2166991#post2166991)

paprikapink
04-30-2008, 07:35 PM
I have an old knife that was my father's mother's (if I can believe him.) My mom had one while I was growing up and we used it until it literally disintegrated. That's probably why I love this one -- who knows how much of that old knife got into my food. I'm part old knife. It's not stainless so we have to be careful not to leave it wet or it rusts. The blade is a very smudgy dark gray almost black. The handle is wood and really feels like wood in your hand. It's the only thing for slicing onions. The blade is so thin, like paper. Any other knife and the onions make me cry so bad I can't chop them. I give thanks to my dad for keeping that knife all those years and then giving it to me every time I use it.

mscelina
04-30-2008, 07:41 PM
Lately? My George Foreman grill.

sunna
04-30-2008, 07:49 PM
My Calphalon skillet and my Misto.

jennontheisland
04-30-2008, 08:06 PM
My food processor. And my small Santoku knife. And my ceramic bakewear.

Autodidact
04-30-2008, 08:13 PM
Ooh, great thread.
My Japanese knife, which I like better than a French chef's and highly recommend:
http://www.ginsuguys.com/images/santoku.jpg
My brand new extremely nifty bamboo cutting board that stores several flexible cutting mats inside it, one for veggies, one for meat, etc. Sorry, can't find a good picture online but I just got it at CostCo and I suggest you rush right out.

I do believe that knife and cutting board are the most important kitchen tools.

O.K., then I have this odd pot/pan thing that's shaped pretty much like a wok, has a handle, is medium sized, and has like calphalon or something ridges in circles, sorry, can't describe it very well but I use it all the time.

My actual expensive calphalon or something pots are only so-so.

But the tall stock-pot is essential. I actually have one that's commercial sized, which I use for making chicken stock.

Immersion blender is cool.

Don't use the food processor that often, really, but it's nice when you need to make latkes or cole slaw.

Could we even cook without wooden spoons? Is it possible?

Alright this is silly but Sunday we had the best chicken ever, thanks in part to the silly yet cool beer-butt chicken racks they had at the Supermarket. Brined them, rubbed them, shoved Sprite up their butts, and those chickens were To Die For.

Autodidact
04-30-2008, 08:14 PM
And I agree with msc, George Foreman was a genius.

slcboston
04-30-2008, 08:27 PM
an old old cast iron skillet 9"
it's as versatile as it is deadly

I was having the same thought... only mine's bigger. I refer to it as the "spouse killer" model. :D

slcboston
04-30-2008, 08:29 PM
Alright this is silly but Sunday we had the best chicken ever, thanks in part to the silly yet cool beer-butt chicken racks they had at the Supermarket. Brined them, rubbed them, shoved Sprite up their butts, and those chickens were To Die For.

If I didn't know what you were talking about, I think this would lead to some very confused (and possibly awkward) questions about just what it is you're doing to the chicken. :D

Cranky
04-30-2008, 09:20 PM
I have what is possibly the biggest cast iron skillet I've ever seen. It's 17" or something crazy like that. I lurves it!

Also my Calphalon stock pot. Wonderful! I couldn't do without my wooden spoons or my chef's knife, either.

My newest toy is a set of silicon bakeware. Awesome.

Pthom
04-30-2008, 11:24 PM
Hard to choose between my 12" cast iron skillet (has a perfectly smooth bottom and is better non-stick than any teflon), my 8-quart cast iron dutch oven (same qualities as the skillet) or my 6-quart Cuisinart pot that I love for cooking rice. Sadly, all my Revere-ware, that I used to use always, has warped bottoms.

Lots of second place things: Calphalon, 7" santoku knife, Mouli cheese grater, Kitchen Aid food processor, various wooden spoons and spatulas and whisks.

And I think I'd commit hari kari with my santoku if someone took away my gas range.

rhymegirl
04-30-2008, 11:25 PM
I like my whisk.

slcboston
04-30-2008, 11:32 PM
Whisks are nice. :D

CheriVixen
04-30-2008, 11:33 PM
I have to agree with Cranky. Silicon is the best! I absolutley love the baking cups and would never make a layered cake again without a round silicon pan. Also, nothing beats a wooden handle rubber spatula.

Autodidact
04-30-2008, 11:48 PM
In my private little ontology, baking has nothing to do with cooking. I cook; I don't bake.

RLB
04-30-2008, 11:56 PM
In my private little ontology, baking has nothing to do with cooking. I cook; I don't bake.

I differentiate between cooking and baking too, and I don't really bake either, although I'd like to start at some point. I've been looking for an excuse to justify buying one of those flashy, retro-looking stand mixers. Are they as fun as they look?

Cranky
04-30-2008, 11:59 PM
I differentiate between cooking and baking too, and I don't really bake either, although I'd like to start at some point. I've been looking for an excuse to justify buying one of those flashy, retro-looking stand mixers. Are they as fun as they look?

Yes. Yes! I miss mine. :( It was teh awesome.

Angela_785
05-01-2008, 12:05 AM
My fav is the dicer/chopper from Pampered Chef. I lurve that thing. *pets food chopper*

Shadow_Ferret
05-01-2008, 12:28 AM
Lately? My George Foreman grill.


Yeah! :Thumbs:

mscelina
05-01-2008, 12:30 AM
oh--I forgot to mention the crock pot. Oh my gawd--what would I do on busy days like today without it? I've been cooking a pot roast since noon--without leaving my study. Dinner time rolls around, and voila! a no effort, tasty meal.

You have GOT to love the crock pot.

Cranky
05-01-2008, 12:33 AM
Yes. Crock pots are quite handy. And pressure cookers, too. :D I don't have one of those, but I lust for one.

paprikapink
05-01-2008, 02:01 AM
I differentiate between cooking and baking too, and I don't really bake either, although I'd like to start at some point. I've been looking for an excuse to justify buying one of those flashy, retro-looking stand mixers. Are they as fun as they look?

Yes! I love my Mixmaster! It's a heavy mo-fo and I don't have room for it to live on my counter, but even with the major lugging it requires I still use it constantly. And my crockpot. I even have two crockpots. In summer I plug it in on the back porch to keep the house just a teensy bit cooler.

I didn't really start to bake until I had kids. Then I developed a desperate need for homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. For me! I've never been so hungry as while I was breastfeeding.

Upbeat
05-01-2008, 02:56 AM
We've all got one - you know, the favourite wooden spoon that's nearly black at the end it's been used so many times, the old pot with the wobbly handle that you won't throw away 'cause it makes THE BEST pea & Ham soup...

My fave is my electric wok - I cook EVERYTHING in it - stir-fries (of course!) Fried rice, casseroles, even omelettes. It's magic, and so easy to clean afterwards!

I would not trade my simple old - very old - peeler for all the fancy gadgets in the world!

Bubastes
05-01-2008, 04:28 AM
I like my whisk.

Oh yes, I love mine too.

Dawno
05-01-2008, 04:34 AM
My car :)

When I did cook, I loved my food processor and used it all the time. I think if I still had it, I just might cook more. Guess I should go get one!

JoNightshade
05-01-2008, 04:35 AM
My favoritest kitchen thingie is this little lunch container I got when I was in China. It's like a little metal pot with a handle and a lid, and also an insert that goes about a third of the way down. In China, this was used for the university cafeteria - you get rice in the bottom, then put the little insert in and get your meat or whatever slop they were serving. Then you put the lid on, fold the handle over the top, and lock it shut. Carry home, open up, eat.

I love that little lunch container mainly because it's so fun. But now I use it for soups and ramen. It's great because the metal is thin so it heats up really fast.

ETA: Like this, but not nearly so expensive or fancy: http://www.dwr.com/product/tools/house/kitchen/tiffin-lunch-box-set.do

Snowstorm
05-01-2008, 04:49 AM
My favorite utensil is a collection of spoons that I would never use.

They are gouged, scrapped, pitted from acid, and worn flat on one side from decades of stirring. Most may think they're fit only for the dump, but they are beautiful to me. They belonged to the pioneer woman who arrived on this site in 1890 and built the 100+-year-old log house I live in, and she lived here until her death in the 60s. I found the bundle of spoons in the back of a cabinet; one is engraved with the family surname's initial. Last month, I made wood slats to hang them in the kitchen so other can enjoy the spoons.

Last year, I had the spoons on the counter, sorted them out and studied each one. I was so focused on this dear woman while I mimicked her stirring motion that I felt her stand behind me, her arm over mine, her hand on mine as I stirred. Powerful. I weep every time I recall it. It's so wonderful to know she's still here. And all through some beat-up spoons.

Kerr
05-01-2008, 08:08 AM
I have all of the above favorite things when it comes to cooking, but here's something I bought at a Pampered Chef party that I thought was really cool and have fallen in love with...http://www.pamperedchef.com/graphics/products_200/1275_200.jpg
If you like fresh grated Parmesan or Romano on spaghetti or salad, you can't beat this gadget. You stick a hunk inside, then turn the crank. It's like a pepper mill for making a meal seem more special. Family or company think you're spoiling them.

Appalachian Writer
05-01-2008, 08:12 AM
The take-out menus.

CheriVixen
05-01-2008, 02:35 PM
Mulligrater (sp?)...I don't have one but we grew up with 2 in the house. When my mom married my stepdad, it was a kitchen mystery. Our mulligrater was a 2 piece metal device that you had to squeeze with one hand and crank the shredding wheel with the other, all the while holding it sideways so the cheese would fall out and not pinching your fingers :) We all wanted to use it on spagetti at the dinner table but no one would have anything to do with it when macaroni and cheese was involved.

Inky
05-01-2008, 03:01 PM
Well, when my son was a kid, I'd have to say the wooden spoon. I could mix, cook, and beat his arse with it. Very versatile!!

Now? My Chinese Take Out menu. It's like Visa: don't leave home w/o it.

L M Ashton
05-01-2008, 04:09 PM
Oh man, do you guys realize how jealous you're making me? Cast iron anything doesn't exist here, nor rubber spatulas, or flexible cutting mats, or bamboo mats for rolling sushi, or decent knives of any description, or crock pots, or decent graters, or a decent can opener that doesn't kill my hands, or... :(

So my favourite tools would be my coconut shredder, my mixer/grinder, and, um, oh hey, why not the coconut spoons. The bowl part of the spoon is made from the hard coconut shell and the handle is wood. Great stuff!

Inky
05-01-2008, 05:59 PM
Oh man, do you guys realize how jealous you're making me? Cast iron anything doesn't exist here, nor rubber spatulas, or flexible cutting mats, or bamboo mats for rolling sushi, or decent knives of any description, or crock pots, or decent graters, or a decent can opener that doesn't kill my hands, or... :(

So my favourite tools would be my coconut shredder, my mixer/grinder, and, um, oh hey, why not the coconut spoons. The bowl part of the spoon is made from the hard coconut shell and the handle is wood. Great stuff!

All joking aside, if you ever need me to send you anything--that J.C.Penny or Amazon doesn't send you--send me a PM. Living in Europe, I love discovering all the new stuff, but there's some things I'm a diehard for & still order from the states.

L M Ashton
05-01-2008, 06:01 PM
*laughs* How much would cast iron cost to ship? ;)

Inky
05-01-2008, 06:19 PM
Actually, through Amazon, I bought this log cabin type cast iron--I'll go on the hunt for you and find it--and the shipping was ridiculously low!!! Now, it was to an APO address, which is overseas military, but the equivalent of sending it to New York. For you, I'd look into Amazon.uk.com.

Flip side: I can go into our store & pick up a cast iron skillet for you, box it up and send it. Yeah, it may be 25.00, but no woman should be without her kitchen essentials. Besides, pass it forward, you know? I've had quite a few fabulous deeds thrown my way, and forever try to pass 'em forward.

PM me, if you wish, with a list, and I'll start putting together a care package. Rubber spatulas? Pfff....I'd go mad without one. Course, the husband would argue madness has already set in, and it has nothing to do with spatulas. Bastid.

L M Ashton
05-01-2008, 06:34 PM
It's not worth the hassle to mail cast iron. Really, it isn't. International shipping with something that heavy would be hell, and shipping through Amazon to here is not cheap at all the last time I checked. My sister in law is visiting in August from Dubai - I might see if I can get her to buy me a piece or two of cast iron to bring in her luggage. Now that you mention it. I wonder how she'd feel about that? (We already use her as our source of henna. :D)

Inky, you are a seriously cool person making a seriously cool offer. :)

Angela_785
05-01-2008, 06:56 PM
I have this clay 'romanoff' (two pieces of fired clay that fit together to look like a covered roaster pan) that I love for chicken dishes. I scooped it from a friend who had gotten it for her wedding eons ago and never used it. The first time I went to use it, I read the instructions, and I almost fell on the floor laughing. This thing must have been made in the 50's, because the 'user manual' was touting how if used right, the Romanoff would impress husbands with their wife's domestic skills when he came home from work to such a lovely meal. It went on to say how the Romanoff was effortless and would take care of the cooking, allowing the little Missus to get some of the ironing done or other household chores.

*roars with laughter*

paprikapink
05-01-2008, 07:21 PM
Oh man, do you guys realize how jealous you're making me? Cast iron anything doesn't exist here, nor rubber spatulas, or flexible cutting mats, or bamboo mats for rolling sushi, or decent knives of any description, or crock pots, or decent graters, or a decent can opener that doesn't kill my hands, or... :(


yeah, but...i'm here in a suburb of sacramento and you're in Sri Lanka!

:)

Haggis
05-01-2008, 07:30 PM
luv my 7" chef's blade, also useful for plotting slasher hacker moves for my protags :}

Yup. Me too. I do everything with that knife except pick my nose. Anymore.

L M Ashton
05-02-2008, 05:11 AM
yeah, but...i'm here in a suburb of sacramento and you're in Sri Lanka!

:)Well, sure... And we've got four neighborhood monkeys who wander around on their power line highway. And giant lizards that live on our roofs or wander through our yard like they own the place. They're terrorizing us, I tell you!

But our papaya tree just died! Gave us a dozen papayas. Watery flavour, not very good, so I mostly made smoothies with them, although one day, I spilled a bit of a particularly thick batch on the coconut pancakes I'd just made, and that was bloody terrific! Mmm, freshly shredded coconut in a pancake.... *laughs*

Yeah, okay, I concede... :D

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-02-2008, 05:32 AM
I have seriously had to wipe tears from my eyes reading this thread. The spoons! I have Ol' Boy's grandmother's spoons - just like those... edges worn completely off from decades of stirring and serving. I have my grandmother's hard-rock maple rolling pin - sans one handle. I have a knife my father made out of an old saw blade back in the Depression. I have my mother's 9" iron skillet, her blue Pyrex bowl, and a certain tablespoon... she gave them to me when I left home to move to the Big City and go to college. Why? 'Cause the trio was what I learned to make gravy with... and for the longest time, wouldn't have thought of trying to make gravy without them.

Saddest story of my kitchen: Mom also gave me (many years later) a BIG iron skillet she couldn't lift any more. Her chicken skillet. Smooth as a baby's bottom! Teflon didn't have a thing on that skillet. One night after dinner, when the skillet had cooled, I tipped it over into the trash to let the oil drain out... and... well... I forgot it. Ol' Boy came along, being the well-trained, dutiful husband he is, and he took out the trash. A couple weeks later, I went looking for my big skillet... took me FOREVER to remember the last time I saw it. Ol' Boy blames himself to this day for the loss of that skillet, but I know whose fault it really was. Excuse me while I kick myself AGAIN for losing that skillet.

As far as modern gadgets/equipment - Ol' Boy and I subscribe to the Alton Brown School of Kitchen Supply. We are always 'one gadget short of being gourmets'. But I loves me my KitchenAid appliances - 6qt stand mixer, toaster, and 7qt crockpot. The aforementioned 9" iron skillet with its brothers, both square and round. The immersion blender. My cookbook collection.

And the dishwasher.

Thank gods for the dishwasher!

A.M. Wildman
05-02-2008, 05:44 AM
My favorite kitchen things:

My grandmother's cast iron skillets that are close to 100 years old.

My crockpot. I practically live out of it.

My mother's bread pans and I have a set of 6 1950's era diner coffee mugs from the restaurant my parents owned and ran.

Last thing. My marble rolling pin.

chevbrock
05-02-2008, 11:30 AM
It's been really great reading this! Keep 'em coming! :)

L M Ashton
05-02-2008, 02:41 PM
I've been reading up on solar cooking. I might make me a solar cooker. Might. Solar cooking takes longer than on-the-stove cooking, so it would, essentially, act like a slow cooker, er, crock pot, in that regard. And since crock pots also don't exist here, that might just end up being a good solution. :)

Just sayin'. :D

valeenc
05-02-2008, 05:01 PM
My favorite cooking implement is me. ;)

All kidding aside, my uncle is giving me my late grandmother's stand mixer. It's an old Sunbeam that she wore out once and had to have a new motor put in. She used it for everything and I look forward to having it in my kitchen. Now all I have to do is see if I can replicate her chocolate cake recipe . . .

L M Ashton
05-02-2008, 05:46 PM
I have a sourdough chocolate cake recipe that I really like... Very moist...

Inky
05-02-2008, 07:15 PM
I have a sourdough chocolate cake recipe that I really like... Very moist...
I was going to ask if you've made sourdough donuts? The.Best!!! No glaze or sugar, just fresh outa the oil...mmmmm....

samgail
05-02-2008, 08:40 PM
sourdough donuts and chocolate cake mmmmmmmm

One of my favorites has to be my immersible blender. I love love love this handy little gadget. I make sauces, soups, dressing, juice and even milkshakes with this thing. It even beats egg whites and whips cream! I had a house fire and lost all my kitchen stuff so i also have a renewed appreciation for worn in wooden spoons, peelers and paring knives.

RLB
05-02-2008, 08:45 PM
Sadly, I think my Calphalon non stick cookware is about to give up the ghost. I noticed the non-stick was starting to flake off yesterday after only four years. And I've never put it in the dishwasher. Lifetime warranty my butt! Is it a huge hassle to get them to replace it?

ETA: Or if anyone has the time, what are the pros and cons of stainless steel and cast iron? Should I go in a whole new direction?

paprikapink
05-02-2008, 08:51 PM
cast iron, cast iron, how do i love thee?
let me count the ways....
even heat distribution
lasts three or more human lifetimes
virtually nonstick when treated right
not so hard to treat right
beautiful, black, glossy, solid
no worry about scratching it -- when i cook sausage, i even cut them up right in the pan!
i have four frying pans from itsy-bitty to muy grande and a dutch oven.
i use them for just about everything! they say don't cook acidic stuff in them, like tomato sauce...but i'm at least the second generation in my family to make spaghetti sauce in a big cast-iron skillet week after week....

ETA: and it's cheap!

i do also, i admit, keep one non-stick skillet on hand for omelet-type foods. i replace it every couple of years. the one i have now is from ikea.

Shadow_Ferret
05-02-2008, 11:33 PM
That reminds me, I have to scrape and re-condition the iron skillets my dad used to have.

I can't use them, however, since we have one of those stupid electric stoves with the headlights in them that take forever to heat.

Pthom
05-03-2008, 12:40 AM
Seasoning cast iron is easy.

For brand new iron, coat it liberally with a shortening like Crisco. Put it in a 500 oven till the sortening is not just melted, but baked on like a glaze. Remove the pan, let it cool. Inspect the coating. If it doesn't appear uniform, repeat.

There is the possibility that the coating will behave like paint. I find this true especially on Lodge brand iron. If that happens, just scrape it down till it doesn't flake off anymore. I use knives, metal spatulae, etc, to do this. The stuff just clogs up scouring pads. And NEVER EVER use any harsh detergents, such as are in brillo pads. Doing so will just ruin whatever coating you build up.

After the initial seasoning, go ahead and cook stuff. Frying is best, at first, putting off cooking sauces in the iron till the coating is really durable. When finished cooking, wipe out the worst of the remnants of cooking with a paper towel while the pan is still hot. If you can't get everything out this way, don't despair. I use one of those balls of plastic curly stuff (Tuffy) to remove obstinate gunk. Last resort, use a metal spatula. Rinse in plain water.

Put the pan on the stove, turn the burner on high. When the water has all evaporated, spray the cooking surface with something like PAM. Heat, then wipe almost dry with a paper towel. Here's why: PAM contains lecithin which polymerizes to a very hard, almost Teflon-like surface. Over time, the surface is not only comparable to Teflon, but in many ways superior (for one, you can cut on it, as mentioned above).

NEVER SCOUR YOUR SEASONED CAST IRON WITH BRILLO (or the like). Wipe clean, only. If stuff really is sticky and you have little patience, you can use a green pad and some mild dishwashing fluid with water. Be gentle. If you rub through your hard-won coating, you get to start all over making a new one, or at least repairing it.

I've used the above method to season (and maintain) all sorts of carbon steel cookware (not stainless). Woks, cookie sheets, skillets, Dutch ovens, etc.

L M Ashton
05-03-2008, 05:30 AM
I was going to ask if you've made sourdough donuts? The.Best!!! No glaze or sugar, just fresh outa the oil...mmmmm....I haven't yet, but I've only been sourdoughing for less than a month, so give me some time. :D
Sadly, I think my Calphalon non stick cookware is about to give up the ghost. I noticed the non-stick was starting to flake off yesterday after only four years. And I've never put it in the dishwasher. Lifetime warranty my butt! Is it a huge hassle to get them to replace it?

ETA: Or if anyone has the time, what are the pros and cons of stainless steel and cast iron? Should I go in a whole new direction?
Non-stick coatings here start peeling off in a matter of a month or two. Or bubble. Or, you know, otherwise get wrecked very very fast. The stuff is labelled "Export quality!" but it ain't. I gave up on non-stick - it's just not worth the hassle at the quality that we get here. The stuff is crap!

We can't get cast iron, either, so I'm stuck using crappy stainless steel that has a "copper" layer on the bottom. The copper layer is peeling off, though, and it sure ain't stainless... We bought a new rice cooker a few months ago, and the "stainless steel" lid started rusting on day 2. The handle on the side broke off in week two. And refunds and exchanges aren't possible here.

I tell ya, thank the stars that you live in an area where you can get decent cookware.


For brand new iron, coat it liberally with a shortening like Crisco. Put it in a 500 oven till the sortening is not just melted, but baked on like a glaze. Remove the pan, let it cool. Inspect the coating. If it doesn't appear uniform, repeat.

There is the possibility that the coating will behave like paint. I find this true especially on Lodge brand iron. If that happens, just scrape it down till it doesn't flake off anymore. I use knives, metal spatulae, etc, to do this. The stuff just clogs up scouring pads. And NEVER EVER use any harsh detergents, such as are in brillo pads. Doing so will just ruin whatever coating you build up.

After the initial seasoning, go ahead and cook stuff. Frying is best, at first, putting off cooking sauces in the iron till the coating is really durable. When finished cooking, wipe out the worst of the remnants of cooking with a paper towel while the pan is still hot. If you can't get everything out this way, don't despair. I use one of those balls of plastic curly stuff (Tuffy) to remove obstinate gunk. Last resort, use a metal spatula. Rinse in plain water.

Put the pan on the stove, turn the burner on high. When the water has all evaporated, spray the cooking surface with something like PAM. Heat, then wipe almost dry with a paper towel. Here's why: PAM contains lecithin which polymerizes to a very hard, almost Teflon-like surface. Over time, the surface is not only comparable to Teflon, but in many ways superior (for one, you can cut on it, as mentioned above).

NEVER SCOUR YOUR SEASONED CAST IRON WITH BRILLO (or the like). Wipe clean, only. If stuff really is sticky and you have little patience, you can use a green pad and some mild dishwashing fluid with water. Be gentle. If you rub through your hard-won coating, you get to start all over making a new one, or at least repairing it.You can use whatever kind of cooking oil you have in the house and the curing will work fine. Go for one with a higher smoke point. Don't worry if you don't have Crisco or Pam - cast iron has been used for, what, centuries, and those things haven't been around that long. Sure, they're convenient, but don't worry about it. This isn't rocket science.

Personally, we never used any kind of dishwashing liquid on the cast iron pans ever. Never needed to, but also because my mother would have cussed us out something fierce. Anyway, point being that it was drilled into us to never use any kind of soap, detergent, SOS pad, etc. on the cast iron. Never ever ever. And we had beeyootiful cast iron.

paprikapink
05-03-2008, 07:55 PM
I'm outting myself as a brutal savage. But let me write the ending first: I've got beautiful cast iron pans (5 of 'em) that I use regularly that are virtually nonstick.

Lotsa times I screw up and use soap or detergent on my pans. Y'know, they are there with all the dishes, I've got the soapie scrubber in my hands...it just happens. Or someone else washes the dishes... I guess my mother never knew or disregarded the no-soap rule. Growing up we just put them in the dishpan with everything else, but at least I don't do that anymore. Course, I have a dishwasher and mom never did. I don't put them in the dishwasher. My usual cast-iron cleaning implement is one of those copper scrubber things. Sounds like I shouldn't be doing that, but it's been working out okay. Also, after washing, I put my pans over a flame to dry.

Letting them air dry, that's the thing that gets 'em: rust! But once in a while I forget them on the burner. Ooops. They look parched and miserable after too long empty on a hot flame. When that happens I just put some oil (any oil) on a papertowel and oil 'em up to sort of refresh the seasoning; maybe put them in a slow oven for a while to set the oil, or not. Actually, I never heard of seasoning them at high heat. I've always thought it was done slowly.

Anyway. I just wanted to illustrate that although there are strategies for caring for cast iron, even a brute like me can succeed. Cast iron is tough!

JoeEkaitis
05-04-2008, 03:00 AM
My pressure cookers. Grab ingredients on the way home from work, have dinner that tastes like it simmered all day.

Pthom
05-04-2008, 04:21 AM
You can use whatever kind of cooking oil you have in the house and the curing will work fine. Go for one with a higher smoke point. Don't worry if you don't have Crisco or Pam - cast iron has been used for, what, centuries, and those things haven't been around that long. Sure, they're convenient, but don't worry about it. This isn't rocket science.You're absolutely right: it doesn't really matter and it is definitely NOT rocket science. :D But since we do have Crisco (pure fat with a high smoke point) and Pam (lecithin), why not use them? Olive oil is waaay too expensive to cure cast iron. Canola, safflower, and the like are just too wimpy, in my opinion.


... I guess my mother never knew or disregarded the no-soap rule. Growing up we just put them in the dishpan with everything else, but at least I don't do that anymore. Course, I have a dishwasher and mom never did. I don't put them in the dishwasher. My usual cast-iron cleaning implement is one of those copper scrubber things. Sounds like I shouldn't be doing that, but it's been working out okay. Also, after washing, I put my pans over a flame to dry. The copper scrubber is probably just fine for your cast iron. Those green scouring pads are not (the blue stuff is okay though). And if you have a good season on it, a little detergent won't ruin it. I would guess that my old skillet might survive a trip through a dishwasher. But whoever put it in there won't live till morning! :rant:

Letting them air dry, that's the thing that gets 'em: rust! But once in a while I forget them on the burner. Ooops. They look parched and miserable after too long empty on a hot flame. When that happens I just put some oil (any oil) on a papertowel and oil 'em up to sort of refresh the seasoning; maybe put them in a slow oven for a while to set the oil, or not. Actually, I never heard of seasoning them at high heat. I've always thought it was done slowly.Well, you sure can do it at low heat (slowly). But when doing at high heat works just as well, why spend the time? I often goof up and forget that I've left the C.I. skillet on the flame...and discover it when we smell hot iron in the house. I just spray Pam on it, wipe it down (may have to do this twice, and DO turn on the exhaust fan!) and it seems fine. Might need two coats to do omelets next morning...:D


Anyway. I just wanted to illustrate that although there are strategies for caring for cast iron, even a brute like me can succeed. Cast iron is tough!It is. It has properties other metals can only approximate. I think whatever method people use to season and maintain their cast iron is as much lore as it is science. And, I would wager that even mistreated cast iron is better than most Teflon coated cookware.

Good Word
05-04-2008, 05:33 AM
Not exactly implements, but some of my kitchen faves:

An knocked-up wooden fruit bowl that was my great-grandmother's

An old wooden napkin holder with a rooster on it that belonged to my grandmother

A heavy soup pot that's missing one handle that I'm cooking borscht in right now

paprikapink
05-04-2008, 07:22 AM
BORSCHT?!?! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Can I meetja in the recipe thread? Shall we start one just for borschts?

L M Ashton
05-04-2008, 05:25 PM
If any of you want to see a coconut shredder, here's one (http://album.laurieashton.com/v/SriLanka/kitchen/2005060477.jpg.html). And here's a picture with evidence that it's actually Fahim doing the shredding (http://album.laurieashton.com/v/SriLanka/kitchen/2005060479.jpg.html). Because I'd never used a coconut shredder before this and someone had to show me how to use it. :D He's such a good sport. :)

wyntermoon
05-04-2008, 06:05 PM
I'm crazy for my three whisks - one for regular whippin', one for fluffing the snot out of cream and one for non-stick pans.

Can't live without my Pampered Chef batter bowls, I have four.

My crockpot was used so much the heating element unhinged itself last week and melted through the bottom. Now I can't find one that serves more than eight. :(

I have some beautiful huge serving spoons I bought from a shop in Carcassone, France a few years ago. They're pitted and tarnished and lovely. I've tied them with a strip of red ribbon and they sit in a crystal vase in my kitchen.

Bubastes
05-04-2008, 06:07 PM
Oh, I thought of one more cooking tool I love: my 12 year-old wooden salad bowl. It's so cute because it's more oval than round. I can't make Caesar salad without it.

HeronW
05-05-2008, 03:22 PM
Originally Posted by HeronW http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2309605#post2309605)
luv my 7" chef's blade, also useful for plotting slasher hacker moves for my protags :}


Yup. Me too. I do everything with that knife except pick my nose. Anymore.

uh...taking ex-beloved 7" blade with part of Haggis' nose still on it and dropping it into the Marianas Trench and hoping I don't get caught for polluting.

A few years ago in Turkey, I bought a gorgeous wooden spoon from this old fellow. He had a whittling knife with a worn blade. About 30 or so wooden spoons, already carved were lying in a blanket spread out at his feet. I love wooden cooking utensils.

L M Ashton
05-05-2008, 03:49 PM
We can get wooden spoons here, but they're made from a soft wood and go moldy quite quickly. Happily, we can also get coconut spoons - the bowl of the spoon is made from the hard part of the coconut shell and it's nailed on to a wooden handle. Don't know why that wooden handle doesn't go moldy, but it doesn't. *shrugs* Anyway, they're cheap (Rs. 20, or about $0.20 US) and if you don't go banging them on stuff, the bowl bit doesn't start getting loose for over a year or so. But I don't use the coconut spoons for mixing up things like, you know, bread dough - I'm not entirely sure it would be up to the task...

plaidearthworm
05-06-2008, 03:14 AM
The microwave.

With it and a bag of frozen burritos, I can make any human fear me. ;)