Cast-Iron Cookware: The Care and Keeping Handbook
Appleseed Press Book Publishers, 2017
If you grew up unfamiliar with cast-iron pans; if your kitchen was full of non-stick travesties, bits of scratched coating flaking into your food, and weird gasses filling the room and killing nearby birds (this really happens!), then cast-iron cookware might be intimidating. All that curing and oiling and never putting the things in soapy water (which even this book says not to do, but you totally can, the pan will be fine) seems like an awful lot of work. But as a devoted user of cast-iron cookware, I can assure you, it’s not, and the rewards are so great.
Author Dominique DeVito has put together a handy guidebook on everything to do with cast-iron cookware, offering its history, how to choose the right pieces, how to cure and care for them, and a section on restoring old antique pieces. There’s even a section on hearth and outdoor cooking, which is where cast-iron does its best work.
To accompany this, DeVito has compiled a collection of 50 recipes perfect for cast-iron cookware, such as puffed oven pancakes, cornbread, fried chicken, and even a chocolate cake. As she points out, cast-iron, particularly the skillet, does its best work going from stove-top to oven, creating products with a perfectly crunchy outside and a soft centre.
Recipes are easy to follow, with readable fonts, although the background colours and patterns change so some recipes appear in white text on a black background or in black atop a watermarked pattern. There are no metric measurements included.
If you’re a devotee of cast-iron cookware, this book offers a great selection of recipes to make the most of your tools, and if you’re still using other types of pans, hopefully it will encourage you to take the plunge and try something new. Cast-iron is not at all intimidating once you know how to use and care for it, and the difference it makes in the cooking process is sure to impress.