What is your cookware preference? (for stovetop cooking)

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...because it's durable and not bad health-wise. I wish I liked cast iron better (or used it more) since I've read that cooking with cast iron is actually good for you. And Teflon... I'm ashamed to say I still use it on occasion. There are just some things that it works SO well for! I'm spoiled by not having to scrub pans... :| :D Aluminum I can't stand... it's so soft it scratches, plus it's bad for you :| And Porcelain enamel cookware... I think that might be a thing of the past, but I love teapots that are porcelain enamel.

Some of the more expensive cookware is procelain enamel over cast iron and definitely not a thing of the past.

I am looking forward to to you web site.
Nana33

I would have said cast iron! But seeing as you said stovetop cooking I went with non-stick. I admit it: I am dangerous. I tend to cook "hot" and burn stuff but non-stick helps prevent that. On the bad side it is probably departing nasty chemicals to my food... and thus our non-stick cookware collection has slowly been replaced with stainless steel.

I bought a Cuisinart Green Gourmet non-stick & non-teflon pan and it is wonderful. You can safely use higher heat. It's made out of some kind of ceramic material for the non-stick part. They are a little pricey but worth it. I made a terry cloth "sock" to protect it from scratching in storage....& protecting my investment.

I guess I'm spoiled in that my cast iron has been handed down over the generations and is non-stick from the about 45 years of seasoning. There are some things that you just can't beat cooking in cast iron. Bacon being one of those. I find the non-stick and stainless pans don't do heat distribution well enough to cook some things evenly even with gas, I unfortunately have electric in my apartment.

I LOVE my cast iron skillets that were given to my by my mom for a bridal shower gift. = )I use them all the time.

And were they "seasoned" when you got them? It took me forever to season my cast iron skillet! Do you wash them without soap?

You can buy them at walmart pre-seasoned. However, I seasoned mine by spraying it with oil and putting it in the top of the oven every time I baked something. Within about a week it was nice and dark brown.
I wash mine with a plastic scrubby thing similar to a bath poof for soap but more coarse. I use hottest water and just one teeny drop of soap for the greasy stuff. My grandparents used to dry them by putting them back on the hot stove for a minute so they had no chance of rusting, but I just use a nice, absorbent flour sack kind of kitchen towel. I only oil it again right before use and not after washing like some recommend.

Just make cornbread when they start to sticK and always heat them up with the oven. I use soap to wash my skillets every time but dry them but dry them quickly and rub with a light coat of oil (veggie or olive, whichever is closest) to keep them well.
The Dutch oven only gets dusted out after I make bread but the same treatment as the skillets when used for stews.

Hi Tammy,
Being an old lady ahem 68 yrs. I believe that cast iron and enameled cast iron are two different cooking utensils.
The cast iron say as in "lodge" are all black and can rust if not maintained with oil baked onm in those days you had to season them yourselves. Nowadays they come pre-seasoned.
My mother's time back in 1921 to present 90 yrs was used for everything and made excellent corn bread, johnny cake, cobbler, fried chicken.
The "Enameled cast iron" if I'm not mistaken is cast iron underneath with a full outer coating of enamel and may come in many colors and boy if you ever make a pot roast in it comes out fork tender and does not burn with the best of flavor. I own both and use them for different things. I also have stainless steel but, find food sticks to it unless U use gobs of oil.
Try googleing a picture of cast iron vs enameled cast iron. K?
Happy cooking,
Myrtle Creek, Oregon (Back Woods)

Cast iron is my personal preference. Mom has a big non-stick pan though that I use a lot since it will hold more for our big family. I hope when/if I have a kitchen of my own to only have cast iron/stainless steel and glass things. =)

When I got married, I didn't really specify a preference, so everyone got me non-stick. I wore out 3 non-stick 9 x 13 pans in 2 years. That made me decide it was a waste of money :).

I voted for stainless steel. :) It seems to last for a long time! Mom has a cast iron pan that I make cornbread in sometimes but we rarely seem to use it. Dad bought Mom and couple really nice pieces of Titanium cookware(dutch oven and frying pan) which we use all the time.
Non-stick seems to wear off so quick--at least in our house. I like it for baking though. :)

My non-stick things are really wearing out. I refuse to buy any more non-stick things because they just don't last (plus health reasons). With stainless steel, I just use a little more oil, and make sure I soak the pans ahead of time... and it's no big deal to clean them. I do like non-stick for frying things (like eggs). I like stoneware for baking. Joshua's mom got me a nice 9 x 13 stoneware dish. I love it! It's so easy to clean and cooks well. But that's going to be my next poll (about bakeware). :)

We have a couple pieces of stoneware and I really like cooking with them!

..because I wasn't sure if my Le Creuset pans fall under that category or the enamel. Really, they're cast iron covered in enamel. I highly recommend them-- they're expensive but they cook well and last forever.

At least, that's what I think I learned when I was searching for a replacement teapot. I never ended up getting one, but I had a teapot from a garage sale that was porcelain-covered cast iron, and I loved it. I did a bunch of searching online and the thing that looked like what I had was called "porcelain enamel". It's kind of like what people use for camping dishes. Or big canners (for holding jars to process). From the Le Creuset website, it looks like you might have enamel-on-steel. Interesting! When the last of my non-stick wears out, I'll have to look into replacing, maybe with that! :) Do yours chip at all?

I was just unfamiliar with the terms. :) What I have is definitely enamel on cast iron, though; look under the cast iron section of their site to see them.

No, they don't chip; it's really amazing. I have some newer pieces as well as some from my mom that are 30+ years old and no worse for the wear. They "season" beautifully; I don't even need to use oil on my saute pans anymore. They also heat more evenly than any pan I've ever used. Ok, now I sound like an ad, so I'll stop :) but I do recemmend them!

Thanks for educating me :D I dropped my teapot and it chipped... it must not have been as good of quality. Also, my kicthen sink is very heavy porcelain, so it breaks dishes quite easily!

Stainless steel is easy to clean and lasts a long time still looking good.The teflon stuff starts peeling and after a while even turns some of your food black...yuck! You sometimes even find metal in your food! Anyway...Stainless steel is the way to go! All you got to do is put a little oil in it to prevent it from sticking. :D Keep cooking!

...you have to use lots of oil or scrambled egg skillets (especially when you use cheese!) are a real pain to clean. No matter how much you soak them. Everything else, I don't mind. :)

I voted teflon! Although, I generally just use it when making pancakes or eggs. We have all kinds of pans, so depending on what I'm making is what I'll use. I'd like to use our cast-iron skillet more, but stuff still sticks. I thought making eggs in one was a no-no (as almost as much egg stuck as we were actually able to eat), but our friend in AK says she does all the time so I guess ours isn't seasoned enough yet. I don't think we have any stainless steel pans though. Most of ours were given to us... so that's what we use! Oh, and sometimes we do cook in enamelware. Mama has a huge collection of it...

~Olivia
adaughterathome.blogspot.com
the-rabbit-hutch.blogspot.com

I like to use stainless steel or cast iron--it depends on what I'm making.

I have an expensive set of non stick pots and pans and they do not chip and I don't use metal utensils in them. You get what you pay for.
I have several LeCresuet that is the enamel covered cast iron. I love them for stews, beans and making jam and my skillets for making potatoes that crisp so nicely. They are just so heavy.
I love a shiny new stainless steel pot. I have several of those too, it always freaks me out when I see someone put some in the dishwasher. THE HORROR! They don't care they loose that shine.
I have yet to find a teapot I actually like. The one I have now is a corelle coordinates and I hate it. I have nearly burnt myself a zillion times. I want a gallon sized one, great for canning. I feel like I am ALWAYS filling it canning or not.

my cast iron skillet was actually passed down from my great-grandmother that was born in 1890 so, it has been through 4 generations and is well seasoned, hardly ever burns, I love it!

We have a glass top stove so the cast iron would damage it. I prefer steel, but my only sauce pan and my frying pans are all teflon.

I have a glass top stove and I only use cast iron. Doesn't hurt a thing.

I ditched my teflon/non-stick frying pans years ago and bought a cast iron skillet that I can now fry an egg "over easy" perfectly without popping the yolk! I don't miss my non-stick pans until I make scrambled eggs. LOL. Then I use my stainless steel and get out the scrubber after a good soak.

I have a glass top stove and wasn't aware cast iron could damage it as anonymous says? I'll have to google that one. I haven't noticed any damage ~ but with them being so heavy I would imagine people could drop them on the glass and crack it, maybe.

Enamel pots and pans ~ oh good heavens! I was given a very expensive set of enamelware called Chantal Cookware. I am not kidding when I say I burned some veggies I was boiling ~ even with plenty of water in the pot! I couldn't believe I BURNED food that was IN WATER! After many "burnt offerings" I sold them and bought Wolfgang Puck stainless steel with clear lids. Love them!

~Heatherj

A friend of mine kept her son's pet hamster in the kitchen (gross ~ but to each his own). When the little thing died she asked her vet what might have happened as he was young and nowhere near his "expiration date". The vet asked if she was using teflon coated pans. Yes. He said the fumes from heated teflon coated pans WILL HARM OR KILL SMALL ANIMALS. He said the most succeptible were birds.

I don't know about you, but I remember how miners used birds in cages to take down into the mines with them. When the bird died, they RAN out of there. If small animals can die from the fumes.... ????
That is what made me toss mine that very day.

I'm sure not all teflon is created equal, but it's worth a google, huh?

Not posting to scare anyone, but I'd want to know this information!

~Heatherj

We mostly use a cast iron skillet that lives on the stove- I was just thinking of getting a bigger one when I overflowed it last night cooking zucchini! But, even though it's bad for you, I do get out teflon (or some nonstick) for eggs and pancakes. I figure it's not quite as bad because we usually cook them over low heat, and are super careful not to scratch them, so it doesn't come off in our food. Still not ideal, though.

I have a glass top stove. I still use my cast iron the problem is it is heavy empty so when full if you dropped it you may crack the glass top, it can also scratch the range top. My stainless is fairly heavy. Pretty sure if I drop it on the stove top it will break it. But any ways. I love my cast iron and my stainless. My grandma always said with cooking eggs in a cast iron skillet (all she had) and them not stick was to make sure your skillet and oil/butter are plenty hot before you pour in the eggs. I generally use stainless with plenty of butter (homemade my lils think it is fun to shake and make). It is sometimes a mess if i get in to big of a hurry. But rarely do they stick. And I have a cast iron griddle for pancakes and grilled cheese. I want to try baking on my grill using the dutch oven. Think that would be fun.

I have four cast iron skillets and a Lodge dutch oven and some copper bottom pans that were given me as a birthday gift from my father. I passed on my Teflon to my brother-in-law when my husband and I married because he was starting a home and I had fallen back in love with my cast iron. Two of the skillets were handed down from my mother; one my great-grandmother's and another one that my mother seasoned. The first was one my mother bought for me when I left for college.
I use the iron skillets for everything that is not too acidic to keep them seasoned well.
Every time I make my son an omelette or grilled cheese, something as simple as that, I think of the wonderful women in our family who created great magic in their kitchens every day and am humbled by their ability to summon sustenance for their families from what they could harvest alone--without the convinience of a grocer around the corner and two incomes.
(It doesn't hurt that my family moved to the town where Lodge skillets are cast when I was five. But for me it just adds to the pride I have in this American made product. Considering the idea of giving these to my son's wife one day, or his children, the romantic notion of this legacy is only broadened. )

Wonderful, Cast Iron Mama! Your post brought tears to my eyes! Although my cast iron skillet is not as old as yours, I love to think of my momma cooking in it!

Blessings,
Melisa

I cook nearly every day in an iron skillet that is approximately 150 years old. It was given to me in 1977 when I first married by my 83 year old neighbor. She had received it from her mother when she married in 1916. Her mother had received it as a wedding gift in the 1860's. Needless to say it is very well-seasoned and a treasure to me.

I have a complete set of stainless steel I have had for over twenty years, but I love to use cast iron for bacon and eggs. They just taste better. I tried non-stick and it is a joke for the most part. Wouldn't trade my stainless or cast iron for a life time supply of non-stick. If you have trouble with your cast iron, clean it well, oil lightly inside and out and put in a 200 degree oven for two hours. It does a great job of seasoning. I can wipe almost anything out of mine with a paper towel.

Well, I have to say I use stainless steel the most, too. I bought a big set when I graduated high school (31 years ago!) and they last forever. I like cooking eggs in non-stick, but I hate non-stick pans as a whole. After a while, they are not non-stick and I end up throwing the pan away.
My brother uses cast iron for eggs, too. He, too, says the secret it in not over-cleaning the pans with soap--just wipe them out.
New cast iron pans aren't as good as the old ones. The sand they use in the manufacturing process isn't as fine grained as it used to be, so the pans end up not as smooth. If you can get a really old one, grab it, and never let it go!

I'm in Australia and the sesoned/raw cast iron is not big here - mainly Le Creuset, which is very expensive and scratches easily. So i took the plunge and bought a skillet and deep frypan with lid from the US.
When i started using them I found meat and eggs sometimes stuck, even though I seasoned them according to Lodge's instructions. Still, I preferred them to teflon, which were worn out after a very short time.

Then i found this article:

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/

It involves seasoning with an extremely thin layer of flax seed oil at least 6 times. Not as huge a job as you would think, as I just did my skillet (to try it out) on a weekend when I was home and was able to do other things while it was 'cooking' it. When i used it for the first time after this seasoning, Although it was not totally non stick the first time I used it after seasoning this way, thereafter it has been as non stick as the best teflon!
i only ever use very hot water and a stiff brush to clean - NEVER soap. Then i dry it thoroughly either on the stovetop or in the oven, and then just brush on a very small amount of coconut oil. Though it does require a little more care than stainless steel, I think it is worth it. Particularly as these pieces will probably outlive me. I also love that Lodge is not made in China!

For more acidic (eg tomato) based dishes I use my stainless steel pans.

I'd love to have soem of the porcelain on cast iron, but I use stainless steel because I can fidn them cheaper. I used ot be scared of stainless steel due to the sticking/cleaning issue...until I discovered heavy duty stainless steel scrubbers. A little soaking and those scrubbers take it right off!

Hi Tammy,

I prefer stainless steel, though I'd love to have a cast-iron skillet for eggs, with or without cheese. I like the stainless steel pots with several layers on the bottom--they heat/cook more evenly--but they're also more expensive !! Martha Stewart's company used to put out a very nice line of thick-bottomed st st pots that weren't too spendy, don't know if that's still the case.

Maybe it's still possible to find used cast-iron skillets at thrift stores, I'll have to check it out. That's where I found my first set, for next to nothing. Took them home & re-seasoned them & they were good as new !!

I can't stand aluminum or teflon cookware--they don't heat as evenly & can come off in the food. Porcelain is too spendy for me and can discolor and chip--especially less expensive porcelain.

Rinny

I put my favorite is stainless steel but I probably use my cast iron just about as much. Frying is always done in cast iron, so is corn bread and other campfire foods, like roasts and potatoes, chilis and so on.

I like a combination. I have two cast iron skillets, one huge and one medium, which are used most of the time. I have one small cheap teflon pan that is mainly used for making scrambled eggs and fried eggs almost exclusively. I think it cost about £2 from Ikea. I have non-stick cake pans, etc, and I use enamel or steel roasting tins. I have exclusively stainless steel saucepans, and most of my casserole dishes are either pyrex or pottery.

I detest the enameled steel pans - try scorching milk or something in them, and the dreadful things never are the same again. My mother had some years ago, and tried to pass them on to me and I turned them down!

Smiles

KarlaG

The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

I have been married for 25 years now and I still have the cast iron pans from back than and I love them. but sometimes they do get heavy. I do have one that is stainless steal that I do use sometimes. But I have to say that cast iron is my all time favorite.

patty

My stove top is glass, but I still use my cast iron pans on it and it does not break my stove top. I feel that cast iron is the best because it puts the iron back into your food. Iron is a very important mineral. I also like stainless steel but it is so exspensive so I only have one stainless steel pan. I do not like teflon.

A few months ago I slipped whilst carrying my largest cast iron skillet, one I have had for years, which is very, very heavy - I can only barely carry it when it is full. It fell on to my tile floor, amazingly NOT breaking any of my ceramic floor tiles, but the cast iron skillet into two pieces. I was nearly in tears, as I have strong attachments to my cooking pans, and because it was cast iron, my darling husband was able to take it out to the garage and weld it back together. Then he ground down the worst of the weld, we re-seasoned it, and good as new! That is one of the benefits of cast iron! xxx

Smiles

KarlaG

The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

I was just blessed with my first piece of this wonderful cookware, and I just can't say enough about it! I am cooking eggs, soups, veggies, everything in it! Its super easy to clean and I love that I can throw it in the oven too! It keeps cooked food hot for ages, and cooks SO evenly. Very, very happy with it!

I have to chime in with a vote for cast iron. Between my stainless steel saucepans and my 2 cast iron pans, I've managed to totally eliminate teflon from my kitchen. I've had my cast iron pans for about a year and a half, and although I bought 1 pre-seasoned Lodge pan and inherited one small somewhat-seasoned pan, I found that the pans lost their seasoning quite quickly in initial uses. To re-season them, I scrubbed them with soap thoroughly, then coated them in vegetable oil and placed them upside-down in the oven on high heat to re-season them. Lodge recommends this method for maintenance, and I had to do this on about 3-4 occasions in the first year. After this much time, and being used for pan-frying on a regular basis, they seem to have stabilized and have a lovely dark shiny layer of seasoning that has not been worn away. I clean them with water only and a stiff scrubbing brush.

I inherited a great set of copper-core stainless steel saucepans from my parents and they are fantastic. I use these for cooking things I want to keep less oily than when I pan-fry - like eggs, or sauces.

Another benefit of cooking with cast iron (and any cookware with a lot of thermal mass, for that matter), is their ability to retain heat so that you don't have to crank your elements to their hottest setting. I almost never have to turn my elements hotter than "5," their medium heat setting. They save energy, save you money on your electric bills, and are more sustainable.

I absolutely love my cast iron, and use it more than anything else. It is my "non stick" wear. The key is getting it and keeping it seasoned. I went through a love/hate relationship with it for about a year. Now it is my favorite, and I even use my skillets in the oven for baking.

Like you said, eggs are the worst for sticking. I add some coconut oil to the pan and let it get hot. Then, I add the eggs and stir with a metal spatula. It works great, and there is little sticking to the pan. When I'm through, I immediately rinse out the pan, using a brillo pad if necessary, wipe out with a paper towel, and lay the pan back on the stove eye (turned off, but still warm from cooking).

Actually, multi-core stainless steel is my favorite of all. Waterless cooking retains flavors, creates delicious meat drippings for gravy. Never have to heat the burner to over med-high, for meat, sear, cover with well-fitting lid and reduce heat and, it is non-stick unless you overheat the pan and juices stick.

Love love love my cast iron! I use it for everything! Second comes stainless steel- heavy bottomed, really nice pans really make the difference. I got rid of all our teflon- for one thing I like metal utensils way way too much and I was always scraping them, then I got to thinking about where the little scraped bits go.... Enamel over cast iron is really nice too.

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