Cast iron pots and pans have always been in vogue, and with good reason, you boil, steam, fry and set fire to these pans and they stand right up to it. If you do you manage to break one it is because war has broken out and an armor piercing round has hit your pan while you were shielding yourself in a corner. They are a lifelong commitment.
They also have the ability to retain flavors of previously cooked food, which admittedly can be double-sided. Basically, if you cook bacon for long enough, and often enough in a cast iron pan, it will eventually make everything cooked in it taste like bacon. People tend to get protective of their pans, for this reason, they retain their history, and all great cooks have at least a streak of sentimentality running through them. This is also why they are not washed, just wiped out and hung up.
A Great Cook Learns to Control Pan Heat.
There are a few things beyond the basics you should know about these pans.
First off, they have a thicker base than most of your other pans. This a blessing once you understand that it takes longer to heat up, heats more evenly and retains more heat once you drop in a piece of whatever your cooking. The act of adding something to a pan seems a mundane task to most, not much too it right?
In the mind of the cook, the craftsmen of food, there is a small physics experiment happening each and every time this is done, there is a transfer and exchange of heat, the larger and colder the steak that hits a pan the quicker it will cool down the pan, with cast iron this just is not the same. Because cast iron retains heat so well it cools down a lot less and cooking things faster, with more intensity.
With all that heat retention comes a new skill to learn, a new art to master, the art of controlling heat.
Cast Iron gets Hotter Than You Think it will.
As a rule, a cast iron pan is hotter than you think it is. It takes getting used to, like all lifelong commitments you are going to burn a little.
Because the pan is hotter this also causes an issue with Oil, if you add oil to a pan that is too hot it burns. With cast iron, they get hot much easier than normal pans. So if you are going to use oil make sure to dial back the heat and save the fire department a trip to your house.
In short, understand your cookware and it will take care of you back.