Seasoned cast iron (aka non-stick) cookware
This week’s Hot Home Products column is about new types of non-stick cookware. While some of it is pretty fancy, there’s also old-school non-stick. That’s cast iron, which properly seasoned, will — IMHO — perform as well as most non-stick surfaces. How to season cast iron? It’s easy. Wipe a very clean, very dry pan inside and out with a thin coating of oil (I use grapeseed, as it has very little flavour) and stick it the oven at about 300° F for an hour or so. Let it cool in there for several hours. Purists will insist that detergent should never be used on cast-iron, but I sometimes cheat and use it, especially if my teenage cooks have burned food in one of my pans. As for me, I never burn anything. Well, hardly ever. If scrubbing burnt food disturbs the seasoned finish, simply repeat the process. Treated properly, a cast iron pan can last forever — I’m using one that I got from my mother about 10 years ago, and which she had used for several decades. She gave it to me after it got to be too heavy for her to handle comfortably (Mother Dearest is 87!) That’s the one downside to cast iron — it’s heavy.
Full disclosure — I have three cast iron pans, but I also love non-stick for making crepes, omelettes and bacon and eggs. I’m dying to try a new crepe pan from Twin— a line of high-end cookware from Zwilling J.A Henkels (see pic above). This three-ply clad pan with an aluminum core and stainless steel finish has gently sloping sides designed specially for crepes and omlettes. It should soon be hitting the shelves of gourmet shops, and will sell for about $120. That may sound like a lot. But it's a small price to pay for a lifetime of perfect crepes, n'est ce pas?