All my allclad can get thrown out! I have a new love in my life when it comes to cooking and it’s cast iron cookware! It started on a whim with a simple question last year on mcarterbrown.com about cast iron and if it was worth it.

I received a lot of replies about how it was the best way to cook, etc. Even had a friend on the site offer up a free pan. I took him up on the offer, tried it, and haven’t looked back since.

Actually, I’ve bought more pans than I can use right now.

Griswold Cast Iron

I don’t have any photos of the vintage Lodge cast iron pan that was given to me, but it is huge! I believe a #12, but has been great to use on and in the oven.

Oh, and yes I have been using these on my electric cook top with zero issues. These have been completely non-stick.

It feels regrettable that it has taken me all these years to figure out that I should just be using cast iron. We stopped using cast iron and went to other metals because they were easier to clean up and wash, lighter, etc, but food stuck to the pan. Then we came out with more and more ingenious ways to add a layer of non-stick to the pans – with more chemicals and who knows what, when all along we had the best method out there.

One of my favorite sizes is the #3

It is perfect for when you want to just cook a couple of eggs or an omlette.

The only issue I can find is that the handle gets hot real quick on this one since it is so short.

So what do the numbers mean?

In early cast iron pans, there was typically a rim or heat ring on the bottom surface of the pan.  The heat ring provided stability for the pan and helped to maintain consistent temperature by essentially sealing the pan over the stove eye.  So depending on the brand of a particular stove and the sizes of its eyes, pans of various and corresponding sizes would need to be purchased.

The number on the pan corresponded with the numbered ring on the stove you removed for it to have a proper fit and not let smoke out

A Wagner Manufacturing Co. catalog provided this code for the bottom diameters of their cast iron skillets:

#2 – 4-7/8″
#3 – 5-1/2″
#4 – 5-7/8″
#5 – 6-3/4″
#6 – 7-1/2″
#7 – 8-1/4″
#8 – 8-7/8″
#9 – 9-3/4″
#10 – 10-1/4″
#11 – 10-7/8″
#12 – 11-3/4″
#13 – 12″
#14 – 13″

Now some sizes did vary depending on the manufacturer, as the wood stoves gave way to gas ranges and the numbers no longer had a strict meaning.

Two big thumbs up.

My overall review: Buy some cast iron pans and start using them. You’re not going to regret it!

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