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Cast iron cookware goes wild | The Chronicle Herald |

Cast iron cookware goes wild | The Chronicle Herald

Joseph Lodge and his family settled in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, and opened a foundry in 1896. Known as the Blacklock Foundry, things went well until it burned down in 1910. A few months later and a few blocks down the road, he rebuilt and the Lodge Manufacturing Company officially began.

The Lodge family set a high bar in 1910. They believed that quality and employees were the basis for success. During the Great Depression, they made garden gnomes and animals to keep the furnaces firing and the employees paid, according to the Lodge Cast Iron website ( In 1950, the factory was converted from a hand-pouring process to automated moulding, hiring more workers and producing more cookware. It was now safer, more efficient and employed more people.

In 1992, a changeover from coal to electro-magnetic induction for melting the iron earned the company kudos from environmentalists and the governor of Tennessee. In 2002, Lodge became the first cast iron cookware manufacturer to offer pre-seasoned pots and pans to consumers under the brand name Lodge Logic. Today, the CEO and chairman are Joseph Lodge’s great-grandsons, notes the website, so the legacy continues.

The Lodge Manufacturing Company makes fry pans of all sizes, some cookware and a few specialty bakeware items and accessories. Pre-seasoned and ready to cook with, the Lodge skillets are a staple for many modern homes, cottages and campers. What makes them so good? There are a number of reasons.

1. Cast iron, even high quality, is relatively cheap to melt, pour and mould into cookware. This makes it an affordable purchase for most everyone, especially when you realize it will last several lifetimes with a bit of care.

2. It is naturally non-stick cookware and it only gets better the more you use it.

3. It’s easy to clean as you let it cool long enough to be able to pick it up and rinse it off (or wipe it clean — it depends on what you cook). A gentle scrub with a natural bristle brush or a World’s Best Pot Scrubber takes care of stubborn bits. Then dry it and wipe the surface with a drop or two of good cooking oil.

4. Cooking in cast iron adds a bit of iron to your mineral count for the day. It fortifies what you get from food.

5. Cast iron cookware gives fabulous, even heat. This is what makes it so good on all cooking surfaces, but in particular, over gas or open flame. Slow to heat and cool, it’s the weight and density of iron that makes it so good.

Bonus reason: This cookware is virtually indestructible. It could crack or warp if you drop a sizzling hot pan into lukewarm dishwater, so don’t do that. Wait for it to cool and then rinse it with running water. If it does get rusty, a bit of fine steel wool and some oil and you can re-season it easily.

We are delighted to be introducing the Wildlife Series in Lodge skillets. The bottom of each size skillet features a different critter, including a duck, a deer, a moose, a bear and even a fish.

Did you know? The teardrop-shaped handle on the Lodge skillets has been part of the design since the beginning. It’s short enough not to get in the way and has a whole in the handle for hanging, making it simple and elegant for more than 120 years.

Absolutely Fabulous at Home in New Minas is where you go to find the things you didn’t know you needed. The Valley’s own kitchen, bath, bed, decor and DIY store is Absolutely Fabulous. Cathy Reid owns it, lives it, loves it.

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