Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Cast Iron's durablility stands the test of time


I use cast iron skillets. I have for almost fifty years and most of my skillets are far older. My mother or mother-in-law gave us a few and my husband rescued a few someone discarded and restored them. Yes, they can be restored. I’ll not go not the process here. Cast Iron is resilient. We can use it on a stove, in the oven, a campfire or in a fireplace.


Cast Iron pans have gained popularity once again. Check out Ashley L Jones’s book Modern Cast Iron.

A factory pours molten iron alloy into a mold or cast to create whatever is needed, thus the name cast iron.

Cast Iron was first used in China in the 5th century for warfare, agriculture and architecture. Shipping merchants introduced it to Europe during the reformation. The French were the first to create a cast iron cannon. It was heavier that copper, cheaper to make and more durable. This helped the French economically outfit their warships with cannons.


 Cast Iron bridges and buildings were erected throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th century and eventually reached the US in the 1800s.


Because cloth was very flammable, it wasn’t uncommon for textile mills’ wood framed buildings to catch fire. Over time, flame resistant cast iron structures replaced the wood buildings.


A lighter weight cast iron was created in England in the 1850s and used to create pots and pans. The invention of steam power made it easier to mass-produce cast iron.

Griswold Manufacturing company opened in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1865 to mass product cast-iron cookware. Polishing the cooking surface of the pans after casting made them smooth and non-stick.


Lodge Manufacturing still produces cast iron cookware. They survived the depression and a period of time when cast iron cookware was less popular by producing other products such as garden gnomes.

Cast iron cookware resiliency made it ideal for campfire cooking. Pioneers going west could place a Dutch oven in the coals for baking bread. Or hang it from a hook over an open fire.                                                                             

Even as cast iron stoves replaced fireplaces for food preparation, the cookware continued in use. The large pot and tea kettle pictured above decorate the front of my fireplace. They are remnants of an age gone by. My husband found the teapot in an antique store when he was twelve. He’s seventy now. And he rescued the tea kettle from an outbuilding on his great-aunts’ property before the shed was bulldozed to make room for renovations. It had belonged to my husband’s great-great grandparents. The surfaces are still smooth and sturdy and ready for use. The match stick holder shaped like a lady’s shoe is so adorable. It joins the pot and kettle in front of my fireplace.

These pans are well over fifty years old.

Here is my collection of cast iron. I’m sorry to say these beauties rested in my cabinet for years while I used non-stick skillets that eventually lost their coating and aluminum pans that soon wore out.

I’m back to using cast-iron full-time because I can cook a variety of foods in them and place them on the stove or in the oven and don’t need a lot of extra pans.

Do you have cast-iron cookware? Have you ever used it?


Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published writer. She has been featured in many periodicals over the last thirty years. Her historical romance Secrets & Charades won the Editor Choice, Maxwell Award and Serious Writer Medal. Her contemporary romance, New Duet released in 2018 placed second in the 2019 Serious Writer Awards and a finalist in the 2019 Selah Awards. Cindy is a member of ACFW, Mentor for Word Weavers. founding member of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers and Christian Writer’s Guild alumni. She loves to encourage new writers on their journey. Cindy and her husband make their home in Aurora, Illinois. 


twitter @CindyErvinHuff  instagram@CindyErvinHuf  My writer's


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  1. We have my grandmother's cast iron skillets, and that's almost all we use to cook. They are fantastic and probably more than 100 years old.

  2. I love my cast iron skillet and dutch oven. Some of my friends are using new InstaPots, but I prefer to use my cast iron Dutch oven. Mine are Lodge brand, too! In my book On Sugar Hill that comes out in June, one of the characters is given her mother's cast iron skillet at a bridal shower. Her mama said, "Some families pass down jewelry. We pass down cast iron skillets." Loves the post, Cindy!

    1. When I first married I recieved several pans from my mother-in-la that I still use today.

  3. Welcome to HHH! Thanks for posting! We do own 3 skillets which my husband loves to use. I have to be careful with the largest one, as I don't have a lot of strength in my wrists. Nothing like them to put a good sear on a piece of meat!

  4. Thanks Connie. My older skillets are heavy too. The biggest one requires to hands to lift while cooking. The newer ones that Lodge makes are lighter weight.