Ever since the iron mongers of old learned the skills necessary to mold iron into basic cooking utensils, cast iron cookware has served the homemaker and professional chef well. Iron utensils that for years kept early pioneers well fed with hardy hot meals cooked in open fireplaces and wood stoves can still be found in today’s modern kitchen happily bubbling away on top of gas, electric and even ceramic cook tops.

Everyone is familiar with the traditional iron skillet or fry pan and in many kitchens these age old designs can still be seen proudly displayed dangling from an overhead pot rack or on a hook over the stove. While many pressed or stamped pots displaying dents and areas of missing Teflon coatings are hidden well out of sight until they are needed, those old skillets are displayed like trophies for all to see.

While the skillet is widely known and appreciated iron has added its many benefits to many other often used but hardly remembered cooking devices. While the wok for instance has found its way into many American kitchens in its traditional stamped or spun metal variety, many cooks have discovered that the iron models with the ability to transfer heat evenly and quickly, offer many additional benefits.

Cast iron griddles in the form of large flat rectangular shapes with short raised edges can be placed over two burners on the stove and quickly produce mounds of pancakes, eggs and other breakfast favorites.

Is fondue on your dinner menu? If so you can easily find a variety of iron fondue sets from mini chocolate to 3 quart cheese fondue sets. These colorful enameled devices are at home on open gas flame or electric cook tops and work as well in the freezer, refrigerator or microwave and conventional ovens.

If you enjoy cooking stews, soups or casseroles, than you most likely have a cast iron Dutch oven in your kitchen. A Cajun kitchen would not be complete without a well seasoned and aged large Dutch oven that enhances foods with it’s own special seasoned flavor.

When fresh baked bread, cornbread, muffins or biscuits are called for, nothing beats cast-iron for its ability to quickly and efficiently bring these baked goods to a golden brown. No stamped, thin skinned metal model can match its cast iron cousin in efficiently transferring heat to all surfaces. Many varieties are available to produce cornbread in traditional shapes and sizes form corncob to pie shaped wedges.

While your kitchen may not yet contain a poultry roaster they are available. These devices have a central cone or “volcano” into which you can place your favorite seasonings. You then place the poultry over the tube and while the bird is cooked from the inside out the seasonings impart their special flavor throughout the bird.

A few minutes of searching through the cast-iron cookware offerings available from on line stores such as Amazon will quickly convince anyone that cast iron cookware in its many forms from traditional black iron to fancy colorful enameled designs is here to stay.

By Papa

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