I have always wanted a larger cast iron skillet and finally added one to my shopping cart. Hubby was on board since he used to cook in our small pan while camping. It was never big enough for our family, especially now the kids are grown and have partners, so it felt like a worthwhile purchase to upgrade. Cast iron cookware is one of those kitchen items you will own for a lifetime, and often pass down for generations. Once you get that excellently 'seasoned' non-stick surface, you never want to give it up.
My new skillet it a Lodge Cast Iron 12". It is far wider and deeper than the camping one and is sure to accommodate my larger batches of food. I love the 'assist handle' on the other side of the pan which makes it so much easier to lift the heavy skillet. I held on to the label from Lodge because it has the address for incredible WEBSITE. I'm so glad I went to check it out because there is so much information about caring for cast iron. I wasn't sure exactly how to care for my new pan and was delighted to find I was correct in not having to use soap to wash it. There are videos demonstrating how to clean the skillet, season it after use, and scour and re-season if there is rust showing (the case with my old pan that has been stored with the camping equipment in the basement). Cast iron is indestructible and actually, super easy to maintain. I'm absolutely thrilled! On the website I had all my questions answered and feel confident cleaning my pan with a nylon brush and hot water. There are also recipes to check out and I'm referring back to my Martha Stewart One Pot cookbook I bought a couple years ago. It even has a cast iron skillet on the cover but I never made the recipes because my pan wasn't big enough.
I love that these Lodge pans are sold already seasoned. They can be used right when you bring them home from the store and the natural finish only improves with each use. It's nice to be able to cook immediately and I plan on doing that asap. I think I have to try their CORNBREAD recipe, starting with the basic version and going from there. Yum! Cast iron adds iron to your diet, heats evenly, retains that heat, has a non-stick surface with no added chemicals, and is so versatile and long-lasting. I may just be adding to my collection sooner rather than later (would love a Dutch oven!).