In the normal research/note-taking/formatting process of working on a upcoming gear roundup post this morning, I went to check the price and availability of one of my favorite tools: the cast iron skillet. I've always known cast iron is a pretty amazing value, performing nearly perfectly for generations if you follow a few simple rules. At $30, an American-made Lodge skillet is a great buy-it-for-life piece of cookware that works for nearly everything.
Every so often, a new idea is presented to the world that seems to have already belonged there for years. Like a perfect pop song, it's fresh and exciting, yet feels like it's been part of you for your entire life.
The presence of cast iron has changed in the United States over the last one hundred years. Once the dominate form of cookware in any kitchen, it's been replaced by high-ply clad stainless, anodized aluminum, and all sorts of Teflon-coated beasts that let your food slip around freely.
Likewise, the manufacturing process of cast iron cookware has changed quite a bit over the century as well. Enthusiasts claim that modern pans are thicker, with 'pebblier' surfaces, and made of a lower-quality iron. Add that to the high-heat preseasoning that doesn't make for a reliable coat, the question stands: is the vintage stuff better than new cast iron?
Over the last decade, there's been a hugh shift towards discovering the things that our grandparents knew. Post-Baby Boom adults everywhere are keeping chickens in their backyards, learning to can and preserve their own produce and cure their own meats, shaving with straight razors.
This project is right up the bike lane of most ManMakers: we don't have enough kitchen storage space, we love to recycle, and don't have regular access to welding-gear.
"A bike wheel and a few hardware-store odds and ends are all it takes to rescue your cookware from the dark and dusty recesses of kitchen cabinets. And who knows? Perhaps a functional, accessible, and rotating pot rack will finally bring out your inner Iron Chef (or at least encourage you to stop ordering in every other night)."
We say go for it!