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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bacon is not politically correct?

First, let me say that there are many different ways to "season" cast iron, in order to make it non-stick.

In fact, there are as many different ways to season cast iron, as there are people who use cast iron.

And while everyone has their own preferred method, it's also a well known fact that some methods are more effective than others.

One quick, easy, tried and true method to seasoning your cast iron pan, is to fry bacon in the pan a few times.  

What I do is, after frying the bacon, put the pan in the oven at 250 degrees for an hour or two; The bacon grease "bakes into" the pan and makes a great non-stick surface.

Since this is my preferred (and very effective) method, that's the one I usually suggest.

Well yesterday I came to find out, bacon is not politically correct!

Bacon is a (gasp!) animal product, you see.  

And bacon has (gasp!) fat in it, you see.

You think I'm joking?  This is what I was told:  

"We are receiving complaints on your referencing bacon for the remedy to many problems.  Many folks on our site are vegetarians, or do not use bacon or other animal fat for any of their cooking needs."

Well for pete's sake!  You don't use olive oil to season a cast iron pan!

Just because the celebrity chefs on TV use extra virgin olive oil in every recipe, and just because extra virgin olive oil is indeed VERY good to cook with, doesn't mean it's any good for seasoning cast iron!

In all seriousness, animal based fats are much more effective for seasoning cast iron, than vegetable based oils.

If you do not use pork for religious reasons, use butter.

If you don't want to handle fat because it's messy, use butter (or lard, which can be purchased on the bakery aisle).

If you are a vegetarian, use butter.  

If you are vegan, coconut oil, or peanut oil, are the best "non animal" products to use.

I simply cannot, with a clear conscience, suggest olive oil, or vegetable oil, as an effective seasoning agent for cast iron -- no matter how popular, trendy, or politically correct it is.

Olive oil is wonderful to cook with, but because it has a low smoking point, it cannot get hot enough to effectively season cast iron.

Vegetable oil, when used for seasoning cast iron, leaves a very sticky residue that must be removed before the pan can be used again.

Here's what I think is going on:

Cast iron is much more than a cookware:  It's a lifestyle.

Vegetarians and vegans traditionally have not used cast iron.  

After all, there's little point to using cast iron to make steamed vegetables; All you need for that, is a plastic bowl and a microwave.

Young urban professionals traditionally have not used cast iron, because they are obsessed with dieting, and want to copy the celebrity chefs they watch on TV.

Lodge wants to market their product to populations that traditionally have not used cast iron.

Suggesting bacon is not "trendy"; It puts off people who are obsessed with dieting and refuse to use animal products.

So, suggesting bacon is contrary to their current marketing efforts.  

Suggesting olive oil "looks better", and makes their product more appealing to those people.

It's like trying to market leather gun holsters to residents of New York City; You wouldn't dare suggest it be used to hold your gun, but rather to hold your cell phone.

And you wouldn't dare suggest conditioning it with saddle soap-- how countrified!  

This blog is not, has never been intended to be, and never will be, an advertising or marketing blog.

I only endorse Lodge products on my blog because they are indeed the best quality cast iron currently in production.

Believe me, it's not because they are my friends-- in fact, I'm sure they would love to see me go away.

So again I say, the fastest and easiest way to season your pans, is to fry bacon in them, and then stick them in the oven for an hour at 250.

It's obviously not "popular", but then again, neither am I.




4 comments:

  1. We use home-rendered lard. Works great. Don't own any Lodge, though. All of ours are vintage Griswold or Wagner. Would probably buy some Lodge, but they seem awfully heavy and thick compared to the vintage stuff. Maybe it's just me.

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  2. I believe cast iron was thinner in the early 20th century. I don't know why though.

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  3. Bacon makes everything better but I always season my cast iron with PAM first then start frying the bacon. I will give this method a try as well.

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