David Lebovitz visits the Le Creuset factory in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France.
The Science of Cast Iron Cooking. The Truth About Cast Iron. How To Season A Cast Iron Skillet:
The skillet you want is at least fifty years old, and right now it is probably sitting on a thrift store shelf or a yard sale table. Your first task is to locate it. Until the 1960s, the final stage in manufacturing cast iron was to machine-polish each pan until the cooking surface was as smooth as glass. New cast iron is sold unpolished, that is, fresh out of the mold, with a texture like pitted Formica. The cast iron companies claim that the new, unpolished skillets are as easy to season and as non-stick as the old, polished ones—but then they would say that. You can polish new cast iron yourself with an orbital sander and some 80 grit, followed by hand sanding with 220 grit wet-dry, then 320, then 400, then 600 for good measure, but let’s face it, you’d rather have those five hours of your life and the ridges on your fingernails intact. The skillet you want is polished already.How To Season A Cast Iron Pan. 5 Myths Of Cast Iron Cookware. [more inside]
Do you want a definitive guide to washing your cast iron pan? Or you're curious about your vintage pans, maybe? Maybe your well-meaning partner left your beloved pan soaking in the sink, and you need to get rid of the rust, stat. Or maybe it's a LOT of rust, and you're looking to build an at-home electrolysis tank (warning: top-of-page Borat swimsuit shot). For all your questions on the loves and lives of the fabled cast iron pan, Black Iron Dude has the answer. [more inside]