It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to email@example.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
Does cooking in a cast iron skillet raise
the amount of iron in the food?
What temperatures should be used with non-stick skillets for cooking eggs?
What do you like or dislike about the following cookware choices?
Read all questions about cooking»
How important is the brand when it comes to buying a cast iron skillet? I know Lodge is probably the best out there, but I figure that since cast iron isn't exactly high tech stuff, its perfections shouldn't be too hard to duplicate. Are the cheaper brands such as Texsport just as good or almost just as good when it comes to cast iron skillets?
I agree with you that the quality of a cast iron skillet is likely to be of little difference between brands. Certainly casting iron is a lower tech manufacturing process than a copper and stainless steel skillet, for instance. Lodge is a good brand and I try to recommend brands that will be widely available to my readers. There's not much difference in the cost and I recall that my 10 inch Lodge cast iron skillet was about $15.00.
When you buy a cast iron pan you need to cure it to keep food from sticking. Here's how:
After use, is best to clean any porous skillet (such as cast iron or aluminum) without detergent or soap because soaps strip the oils (and thus your "cure") from the pan. Simply rinse the pan with hot water and wipe clean. For food that is stuck to the pan, scrub gently with salt or a plastic scrub pad.
Thanks for writing.
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP