You there. Yes, you. The one trying to sear a steak in a non-stick pan. The one trying to bake a deep-dish pizza in in a pie pan. The one trying to make cornbread in anything but a cast iron skillet. We have to talk. Something has gone horribly awry in your kitchen and you are clearly freaking out. Please take one deep breath and listen to the simplest and most important advice we have for you today: just get a cast iron skillet.
We know what you're thinking. Cast iron is difficult to use, to maintain and to clean. Plus, there's that mysterious step that everyone is terrified of: seasoning. Here's the great news: you're being unreasonable! "Seasoning" is as simple as heating a thin coat of vegetable oil into your pan the first time you use it, then rubbing it down with a bit of oil after each cleaning. No, seriously. That's it. If you don't believe us, check out Lodge Cast Iron's definitive guide to skillet care. You will feel so much calmer after you read it.
So, now that you've bitten the bullet, gotten yourself a cast iron skillet and vowed to take great care of it, what makes it so great? Well, a few things. The intense, even heat puts the perfect sear on an awesome steak. If you get a 12-inch skillet, you can fit a whole, spatchcocked chicken in it, which means even cooking and crispy skin. You can bake PIZZA IN IT, you guys. You can deep fry in it, sauté in it and bake in it. Finally, and probably most importantly, it is the absolute best vessel for making perfect cornbread, without stress or worry, every single time.
Another great thing about cast iron skillets: they are dirt cheap and can last you 100 years. (Are you convinced yet? We're really working hard over here.) We love our cast iron skillets because they take a lot of the guess work out of our time in the kitchen. Something this all-purpose, this dependable, this consistent has a way of setting you at ease, even when you are trying a new recipe. We like to store ours in the oven when we're not using it (which is infrequent), because the warmth in there just keeps gently seasoning your skillet over and over again.
We know you'll love your cast iron skillet as much as we do. We're even thinking of naming ours. Suggestions are welcomed.