When I was a kid and beginning to cook, there were two pans that we were given free rein with-the cast iron frying pans that had been my great grandma McC's. I learned how to make home fries in them, fry up leftover spaghetti, make a roux and countless other things. If we had burgers as kids, they were always friend in those pans because nothing else gave them a crust like the cast.

When my mom was consolidating her New York house when she sold it and was moving to Florida, each of us kids was asked if there was anything we wanted. The only thing I wanted was one of those cast iron pans. Alas, two of my siblings beat me to them.

Those pans were dark black and nothing stuck onto them. One of my first purchases for a kitchen of my own was a pair of similar pans, but I knew nothing of curing them and had no idea that the ones I'd grown up with had been in use for probably 70 years, which is why I could use Brillo pads on them with no ill effects. The ones I bought soon had rusted so severely that I pitched them out.

A few years later, a little wiser and more savvy to the ways of cast iron cookware. I picked up a Lodge Chicken fryer (a larger pan than the old ones) when Homeplace went out of business and set about curing that bad boy. It took about five years, but eventually, the pan itself had a rich, black patina, while the lid was the original gun metal gray that it appeared when they first came out of the box.

For years, I had my go to pan for home fries, crab cakes, home fries, empanadas and anything else that needed even heating or a good crust on it. Then, we moved into the rental house, with it's flat top stove.

A few months in, and that surface was scuffing up, even with the smoother surface of the newer cast iron. In my brief tenure selling appliances, I discovered that the manufacturers usually don't recommend using cast iron on ceramic stove tops. Despite being careful, there were a few scuffs that did not come up when I used the ceramic cleaner. (In my defense, it appeared that the landlord was also a fan of similar cookware)

Last fall, we replaced Mom and Jane's builder's grade electric coil stove with a nicer ceramic topped unit. When we moved in, I didn't even get to use our well-loved Lodge on it, but her dutch oven found residence on the stove while we awaited getting some shelving units to put some cookware. (I swear, despite the kitchen layout being the same, these cabinets are substantially smaller and my stuff doesn't fit!)

In barely two months, I noticed it happening: scuff marks. A half hour of elbow grease later, I got 95% of them out, but one thing is clear: if I use this bad boy, my stove will look like crap pretty darn quick.

Anyone out there successfully use cast on ceramic that wants to share their secrets?


Jenna said…
When I was younger my family had a cast iron skillet, I have no clue where it is now days. I would love to have one again but I don't see me putting the effort into it anytime soon.
Have you thought about getting one of those travel burners? I don't know if they get hot enough but if they do I think they are coil.

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