There’s nothing in the world quite like your grandmother’s quilt with the tattered corner, worn down from all those days you spent on the couch with the flu. Shiny new cars and electronic gadgets are nice, but the most valuable things we own tend to have a patina of time, evidence of a life of love and use. So it might seem strange for cookware to fall into this category, but when it comes to cast iron skillets, the more broken-in they are, the better.
Lodge Cast Iron, one of the only American metal foundries producing cast iron cookware, has figured out how to make brand new cast iron skillets that seem like they’ve been passed down from your grandma. The tricky thing about cast iron skillets is that they must be seasoned with oil before they are used, a process that intimidates many cooks. Lodge realized they could take care of this essential step by seasoning their cookware before shipping it to stores. They found a new audience of would-be chefs, ready to try out out cast iron skillets for the first time. “In a short five years we went from nothing seasoned to everything seasoned,” Kellermann says. “And our slogan, when we introduced it: ‘We should have thought of this a hundred years ago.’”
But is it really that hard to season a skillet, or has Lodge Cast Iron figured out how to appeal to the lazy cook in all of us? A quick search on the Internet reveals several opinions on how to season a skillet — “Use Crisco!” “No, lard!” Either way, the skillet must be coated with an oil or fat and placed upside down, over tin foil, in a hot oven for an hour. So whether or not you buy a pre-seasoned skillet, take comfort knowing that the process isn’t too painful. But is cast iron worth all this trouble? You bet your sweet fanny, it is. From apple pancakes to cornbread, everything that touches cast iron is just as comforting as that worn-in quilt.