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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Super lightweight cast iron?

Pictured above is a "super lightweight" cast iron pan. It has a riveted stainless steel handle.

The two competing brands are Excelsteel and Starfrit. I can find no information on either, but the pans have good customer reviews.

It's marketed to people who complain that cast iron is too heavy and hot to the touch.

My observation is, whenever you try to modify cast iron to make up for the negatives, you also take away the positives.

For example, making a cast iron skillet with a wooden handle. Now you don't need a potholder, but you also can't use it in the oven anymore.

Or with enameled cast iron. Now you don't need to season it, and you can put it in the freezer (??), but enamel chips, and you can't use it outdoors.

Or in this case, making it "50% lighter". Now it's easier to carry, but what about heat retention?* What about outdoor cooking? It's "oven safe"-- to what temperature?

*Consumers have reported that it does not retain heat as well, and wobbles on the burner.

It boasts a "ceramic non-stick coating" (not teflon), which has been reported to eventually come off.

The general consensus among consumers, is that it's great for stir frying. I'm sure it is, but I'd like to do more with my pans than just stir fry.

There are pros and cons to regular cast iron; You just have to decide for yourself, whether the good outweighs the bad. And I think it does.

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