Very interesting. I ran a Google search on 'cast iron cookware' and about the only thing I came up with was Lodge. There was some french junk but I dismissed it. We have Lodge and I'll stick with a winner (besides its easy to find).
walmart sells cast iron stuff, dunno what brand, nor if it's any good. Never bothered with much in the way of cooking, myself. Stews, boiling, roasting are about all I ever mucked-with. Nothing special needed for that sort of thing.
There's also some foreign stuff on the market who's quality varies. If it comes from Australia, Europe, or S. Africa it can be pretty good. There's a traditional Afrikaner lidded pot with legs on the market called a 'potjie' that's really neat and quite functional.
Used cast iron is also an option. If something has much or questionable gunk, like maybe an excess of pork grease (some people don't eat pork), then you can strip a pan with a drill and a paint stripping disk or you can sandblast it. I've done both and it also works on stuff that has gotten rusty.
I've got some cast iron, such as from an outfit called 'Griswold' that was evidently made in the 1920's or earlier. The stuff is as function now as when it was new. One of them is a stove top waffle iron. Living low tech without waffles would be truly uncivilized.
Cooking with cast iron though, especially dutch ovens, is an art that takes some practice. If you're living at less than 21st or late 20th Century conditions, a couple of dutch ovens and the skill to properly use them can make life a lot nicer over the long run.
One thing I don't recommend getting in cast iron is a tea kettle. Get that in stainless or enamelware.
Thanks for the replies!The reason I asked this one is that I have a couple of cast iron pans.The older ones came from garage sales.A few minutes w/a wire wheel ,reseason & presto!Juse like new.I bought a pot from Wal-mart a while back & was NOT impressed.It was only about $20 IIRC but I expected better quality from cast iron.The problems were two fold.First,the finish was very rough/uneven & also it wasn't concentric.It looked like the sand used to cast it was mixed with small rocks & there was no finishing done before shipping.I took mine back to Wally World & picked through a half dozen until I found an acceptable one.
Griswald is the best. I have a #8 at home and one up at the ranch--use them almost every meal. I used to collect them from flea markets and garage sales. I probably have 200 of them, mostly Lodge, someGriswald and some Chicom junk I sell them all except the Grizzies for $4.00 a lb.
Neat way to clean them: put them in the wood stove overnight. They come out clean in the morning. Use mineral oil, not meat or vegetable oil to season so they won't turn rancid.
Forgot to mention, after the wood stove treatment they MUST be re-seasoned. After each use I let them cool then let the dog clean them usually I can get them back in the cupboard b4 the wife catches me and washes them with soap and water.The dog's tongue really helps with the seasoning.
the best way i know of to strip a cast iron pot and i do like to cook in cast iron. is to set it in the fire and let the fire burn if off, you can get cast iron red hot and not damage it. mite be a little bit much to handle when hot, but as usual with cast anything don't drop it or you may need a welder to get back to cooking with it.
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