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By Gedvondur (Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 10:47:21 AM EST) cast, iron, castiron, wager ware, griswold, victor, BSR, vollrath, pans, do, dutch ovens, usb (all tags)
So let's talk about my latest obsession/stupidity/hobby.

Cast iron pans.

You read that right. Cast iron pans.

Since my surgery of horribleness, I have had issues with eating. As part of the cure for my hiatal hernia, they gave me what is normally considered a weight-loss surgery called a gastric sleeve. I have the stomach the size and shape of a banana. Or perhaps a plantain. Some kinds of long thin fruit anyway.

As a result I have gotten more into cooking. If you can’t eat much, you want what you eat to not be tasteless pap. Thus, my shared recipe document on Google was born along with enlistment in a couple of sub-Reddits regarding cooking, grilling, and smoking.

During this culinary odyssey, I began to become aware of cast iron pan cooking. You know, blueberry crumbles, baked skillet potatoes...that kind of thing. At my heart, I’m a nerd for *stuff* and if I’m going to have *stuff* I want to know something about what I’m buying.

Well that’s turned into a full blown obsession and even some collecting. It even led to me creating a new Facebook account, after deactivating my personal one two years ago. Why? Because there are a huge number of Facebook groups and auction sites dedicated to cast iron collecting, identification, restoration and auctions. These folks eschew Ebay as “Feebay” and turn to FB for auction succor. Thus my re-emergence onto Facebook. It’s amazing, a TON (haha!) of cast iron is sold on Facebook. A recent charity auction in the Iron Man cast iron action group raised $13,000 USian dollars for a lady with Stage 4 brain cancer. I myself bought a Wager Ware Fat Free Fryer for the charity.

As of this writing I have 36 individual pieces of cast iron. Wagner Ware, Griswold, Victor/Griswold, Lodge, Birmingham Stove and Range, and Vollrath. Most of it pre-1960. The Victor number 8 pan dates from 1900. Smooth as glass on the bottom. I am now collecting a full set of smooth bottom high styled logo Wagner Ware pans. I am restoring the others for sale, probably on the Facebooks.

I find these pans at estate sales, rummage/garage sales, thrift stores, antique shops and even Craigslist.

I know as weird hobbies go this one is somewhere down near collecting molds, spores, and funguses. But it scratches an itch for me. See I love to restore things. I like repairing them and returning them to their original state, working, proper and cared for. For things like my 1971 Buick Centurion, this requires a lot of space, time, and money. Plus, I can’t do it in the winter.

But pans…..pans are relatively cheap. They don’t take up much space. They don’t require a ton of time to restore them. The process of restoring and re-seasoning them is relatively short and doesn’t require constant attention. You can stop and start as you need. I will detail cleaning, re-seasoning, and care of cast iron pans in another diary.

Things that mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers used for decades that now sit crusty and unused are restored to use. They are sold or given to others that will cherish them, use them, and hopefully pass them down to their children. This idea, the return of these items to use, gives me immense satisfaction.

My wife is being incredibly patient and supportive, despite the fact that I have strewn the house with cast iron pans and dutch ovens. Still, compared to my old Buick or computers, this hobby is *cheap*. I imagine this latest obsession will burn itself out over time, but for now I’m having fun with it, learning who made what and when, the uncertainty of gate-marked pre-1900 pieces and just the quest to find cool iron to restore.
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Cast Him Out! | 42 comments (42 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
WIPO: Two skillets, one big and one small by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 11:30:09 AM EST

Excellent by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 11:46:31 AM EST
Vintage or new?

[ Parent ]
At least one is new by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 11:48:49 AM EST
I'm not sure about the small one.

We did have an old big one we picked up at a tag sale in New England. But, it was stored on top of the fridge and fell off one day.

No more cast iron pan.

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Sad by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 02:36:02 PM EST
They are remarkably fragile when it comes to falling. 

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I know, it may have been really old by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 02:39:47 PM EST
and I wasn't the one to store it up so high.

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not that obscure by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 12:33:36 PM EST
if you're in mefi, there's a few folks who talk a great deal about it .. Hell, mighta been you. hmm.

Hmm... by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 03:51:22 PM EST
MeFi is...metafilter?  Can you link me this resource?


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Here ya go: by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #37 Fri Jun 26, 2015 at 11:30:26 AM EST

(that has the write up and link to the very detailed post about what to to etc)

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I have 4 cast iron pans by miserere (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 02:27:02 PM EST
One of them is a Dutch oven or a deep skillet with one of those lids with the pointy spikes on it that belonged to my grandmother. It's a fairly thin pan and has a smooth wonderful bottom and it cooks like magic.

One of them is an 8" Lodge skillet that belonged to my mom, and it's not as nice as my grandmother's, it's pretty great for things like omelets.

And then I have 2 10" Lodge skillets. One of them was my mom's and one she bought for me when I was first living on my own in graduate school.

Until last week, I did not own a non-stick skillet, and any time I needed to saute or fry something, I used cast iron. I still think that the non-stick pan will be something only used for certain things -- the pans I use the most will still be the cast iron ones.

ooh by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 02:41:50 PM EST
Takes pictures of top, bottom, and handle bottom of them, I'll tell you what they are!

Very cool. Exciting!

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I will! by miserere (4.00 / 1) #10 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 03:58:49 PM EST
I haven't gotten super into cast iron, but growing up in the South, I learned to cook with cast iron. It's what I'm most comfortable with.

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Mostly skillets by lm (4.00 / 1) #11 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 06:08:37 PM EST
I have a 12", a 10", two 8", and a 6" in the way cast iron skillets. When combined with glass lids I've found at thrift stores, it isn't all that often that I need to use something else.

I also have a griddle that fits over two burners on the stove. I don't use it much.

A proper iron dutch oven is on my wish list.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Oooh....I can help you with that. by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 10:09:41 AM EST
For you and my other Husi-friends, I will find stuff like this for cost.

I have right now a #8 (5qt) large block logo Griswold dutch oven, but no lid and no bail handle.  I'll keep my eye out for one for you.  Do you have a budget in mind?

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That's the thing about my wish list by lm (4.00 / 1) #33 Fri Jun 26, 2015 at 05:13:29 AM EST
It's for things I wish for, not things I buy.

More seriously, my wife and I are going to move to cheaper and smaller apartment at the end of August. I don't want to even think about adding anything to my overabundance of kitchen gear until after then. It's one more thing to move and I'm not sure everything's going to fit anyway.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
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Heh, no worries by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #35 Fri Jun 26, 2015 at 10:37:58 AM EST
Let me know when you are settled....and I'll let you know if I find something cool for a screaming deal.  HuSi buddies get this stuff for cost.  :-)

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I'll keep that in mind by lm (4.00 / 1) #41 Sun Jun 28, 2015 at 08:19:30 AM EST
First I need to see how much of my current stuff fits in the new kitchen.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
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Just a pizza pan. by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #12 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 07:40:53 PM EST
if you had stumbled on this last year or so my grandparents had a cast iron pot for corn boils and the like.  Sold cheap as it had a small hole.

Ya by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 10:17:40 AM EST
A lot of the older pots are used as flower pots, been drilled out.  Sad.

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Hahaha by R343L (4.00 / 1) #13 Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 10:00:27 PM EST
Well we don't collect them but we have one large skillet, one medium and two small ones (like 3-4 inches diameter), plus a flat griddle pan and a Dutch oven. I don't think your obsession is all that weird even if I'm not interested in restoring them.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
Heh by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 10:19:19 AM EST
Is your stuff all new, or is it older stuff?

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No idea by R343L (2.00 / 0) #32 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 09:43:44 PM EST
Most are second hand but might be recent for all of that. 

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
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Hmm, let's see by notafurry (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 01:40:08 AM EST
There are two 8" Griswold frying pans that live on our stove and do 80% of our daily cooking. There's a 10" Lodge that doesn't get used much except when we go camping. There's a 10" dutch oven that doesn't get used much these days - I used it a lot in our old house, but my kitchen now has a double oven and I don't need to fake one as often. Cornbread and stuffing are the main things to come out of it these days. There's also a big cast iron griddle for camping, and an old flat-bottom cauldron with feet - that doesn't get used for much, but it's awesome.

Griswold = Happy by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 10:11:55 AM EST
Are they large block logo, or small block logo or something older?

What is the make on the DO?

Great to hear you use them so much!  Awesome.

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Let's see by notafurry (2.00 / 0) #42 Sun Jun 28, 2015 at 09:28:50 AM EST
Both frying pans are "Cross in Double Circle" varieties, one the Large Block Logo ( and the other the Small Block Logo (

They both came from a neighbor of my in-laws - husband needed assisted living care, wife was selling everything and moving into the facility to be with him. She lit up when my wife walked in and told her there was some stuff she wanted her to have - had to give some cash to her daughter, wouldn't hear of being paid. Both pans and the DO. No idea what the mark is on the DO, doesn't seem be to one anywhere obvious.

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the was a quote from samurai pizza cats by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 05:40:02 AM EST
i never understood as a kid (from the big cheese, the villain, who's lower than low): "perhaps widespread panic and terror in the streets will inspire the people of little tokyo to new heights of consumerism."

finally, i think i understand it.

I AM YOUR INTELLECTUAL MUSE by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 10:16:30 AM EST
Don't forget it.

And get some pans.

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All my cast iron pans are in storage by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #16 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 05:53:12 AM EST
So are my pinball machines, but at least the pans are all here in the same country. I have three 1ß" (I think) pans, age unknown but at least 40. They've cooked everything from bacon & steak to blackened fish to peanut brittle. Black glass cooking surfaces.


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

Did you by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 10:15:52 AM EST
Did you get them in Germany, or did you bring them from America?  Do you know what brands they are, off hand?  Just curious.

How have you been?  Haven't heard from you in ages.

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Murrika. by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #28 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 11:06:01 AM EST
All inherited (living alone with three of 'em and my mother wouldn't hand one over. Of course, they suck on Ceran stoves and electric ain't much better. I finally have gas. When I find them I'll shoot you pix of the bases. You really have the bug, huh?

Otherwise, I've been. I thought we'd got that bit out of the way on FB. I've spent less time in hospitals over the past year. What about yourself?


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

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Two enameled dutch ovens by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #17 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 06:27:39 AM EST
Inherited from Mom, older than I am. Belgian manufacture. Use them all the time.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Those must be awesome by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #22 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 10:14:44 AM EST
I've got a LeCruset enameled DO, but in my youth I damaged the bottom with bleach.  They have a lifetime warranty, I should get it replaced.....

I've heard good things about the Belgian DOs, we see one cross the auctions on select occasions....

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I had/have one by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #18 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 09:09:03 AM EST
Not sure if I still have it or not - it was a small skillet that I used as a hammer when I moved out and got my first place during the college years.

It not only worked fairly well as a hammer (until I got a proper one) but was great at cooking up eggs and hash browns etc for years.

Mmmmmmm eggs and hash browns...

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

How's my blogging: Call me at 209.867.5309 to complain.

*faints in horror* by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 10:05:12 AM EST

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I'm an aluminium man, as our Lord Jesus intended. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #27 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 10:46:37 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

REPENT by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #29 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 12:06:04 PM EST

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I'm not a skillet by ana (4.00 / 3) #31 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 12:52:07 PM EST
But I play one in the movies.

Now that's cast irony.

And we were days from starvation until those missionaries knocked on our door. We made Alfred Packer stew. --georgeha

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I have by barooo (4.00 / 1) #30 Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 12:14:28 PM EST
 a 12" lodge skillet, a 10" lodge skillet from a discontinued line called "professional", it's more rounded than the typical almost-straight-sided profile, a 10 inch regular lodge that is used exclusively for cornbread, and a Le Creuset big-ass-dutch-oven.  Use them all the time.  The only other skillet that ever sees any use is a plain stainless (not non-stick) sitram commercial pan.  I use that one when I want to sear the shit out of something and also make some sort of sauce, it seems to develop a much nicer fond than the cast iron pans.

man, i need a beefy taco now.
I love this by LoppEar (4.00 / 1) #34 Fri Jun 26, 2015 at 09:52:36 AM EST
I love cast iron, but even more hearing your collective persuasions...

We use three cast iron pans most weeks: a 12" Lodge skillet (that I really ought to buy a lid for, and that is due for re-seasoning this fall), a 6-qt(?) Lodge enamel dutch oven (5 years old, a few scratches on the bottom but holding up well I guess) and a tiny 4" skillet that makes the perfect amount of cornbread for two.

We also have an old (haven't looked for a  mark / id) 6" skillet that needs re-seasoning, and a 9" square skillet from S grandmother for making cornbread for larger tables.

I also love the idea of you helping track down some future pans - most of my wish list is dutch ovens (campfire, non-enamel) but we'll be in touch ;) Looking forward to the seasoning/caring installments!

Nice! by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #36 Fri Jun 26, 2015 at 10:54:05 AM EST
I'd be happy to help!

Send me pics of the top, bottom and bottom handle of your pans I can ID them for you.  I have the Red Book (Book of Wagner and Griswold) and the Blue Book (Book of Griswold and Wagner) for ID help.

Seasoning and care will likely be next week!

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2 pans, one large and one small. by ni (4.00 / 2) #38 Sat Jun 27, 2015 at 12:31:42 PM EST
A few years ago I restored one that had been used as an outdoor flower pot for a few years, using an electrolysis contraption consisting of a bucket of water and a nintendo gamecube power supply (I've never owned a gamecube, but highly recommend keeping at least one of those power supplies around: they can deliver incredible DC current at reasonable voltages). It took about 24 hours for the barnacles to fall off.

More to the point, I have a fungus collection, and don't appreciate being besmirched in this manner. I once met a man with an extensive slime mold collection. He met me in a coffee shop, and kept his slime molds in an array of tiny matchboxes, which he carefully brought out one at a time, whereupon he delivered a seemingly prepared talk on each specimen.

Listen, three eyes. Don't you try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal.

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM

Sigged! by ana (4.00 / 1) #39 Sat Jun 27, 2015 at 01:24:16 PM EST
 It's been a while since I had a new sig.

I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal. --ni

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I can't take full credit. by ni (4.00 / 1) #40 Sat Jun 27, 2015 at 02:14:35 PM EST
It was Douglas Adams, but in this age of "curated" everything, I'll take credit for having the astute aesthetic judgement to recognize its glory.

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
[ Parent ]
Cast Him Out! | 42 comments (42 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback