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slkinsey

Lodge Signature Series

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Many of us, yours truly included, love cast iron cookwares for a variety of cooking tasks. When it comes to searing a thick steak or making cornbread, good old seasoned cast iron wins out every time. One of the best features of cast iron has always been its cost: cheap. A twelve-inch cast iron skillet is unlikely to run you more than twenty bucks.

As various manufacturers of cast iron cookware have faded away along with cast iron's popularity as a cooking surface, not to mention as part of a few corporate mergers, one maker has carried the torch: Lodge Manufacturing. Their "Original Finish" cookware has remained true to the original product that should be a part of any well-equipped kitchen.

But those of you who clicked through to the home page may be thinking: "Ruh? What is this? Calphalon?" Not quite. It's Lodge's new "Signature Series" which, as far as I can tell, consists of a cast iron body with "new style" stainless steel handles riveted to it. The difference? Well, presumably the new handles will "stay cool" more than the old integrated cast iron handles. Well, I hope those handles are worth a 500% increase in price, because a twelve-inch Signature Series cast iron pan will run you a cool hundred bucks.

Clearly the folks at Lodge aren't stupid, and clearly they have reason to believe that people somewhere will line up to pay a hundred bucks for a cast iron pan with a stainless steel handle. But, seriously, I can't think of any reason why anyone would want them. And, at the same time, no one seems to be selling polished cast iron, which most everyone agrees would be a great idea that's worth an extra, say, 15%.


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I think it's for real. Look at the mega $$ people are shelling out for "signature" lines of cookware endorsed by "chefs" all over the place. I guess I can't blame them for stepping up to the trough. I just hope I don't go to someone's house and see some of it in their kitchen. It might be difficult to remain silent :wink:.


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I would hate to be a manufacturer of cast-iron cookware. You make a product that costs $15 and lasts forever -- as in, it will still be just fine in the year 7,000. People hand these things down to their great grandchildren. Short of a massive population explosion in the industrialized world (which is the opposite of what's happening), there are only so many more cast-iron skillets that can be sold in the 21st through 25th centuries.

Meanwhile, were I a cast-iron cookware manufacturer, I'd be looking at the incredible stupidity of cookware consumers. Not only are cast-iron skillets $15, but also the middle class has rejected them because they don't cost $100.

So I would devote lots of resources to figuring out how to make $100 cast-iron skillets that would appeal to the Williams-Sonoma set. You bet I would. Go for it, Lodge. Just please keep making $15 cast-iron skillets for me. Not that I'll ever need another one.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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*sigh* Way to go a ruin a good thing. I wonder how long before they stop making the old ones and only offer the new fancy smancy ones. Not that I think that would happen. *gulp*


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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*sigh*  Way to go a ruin a good thing.  I wonder how long before they stop making the old ones and only offer the new fancy smancy ones.  Not that I think that would happen.  *gulp*

Take heart, other folks besides Lodge make cast iron cookware -- does Wagner ring a distant bell? And unless the folks at Lodge lose their minds and their marketing savvy, surely they'll continue to produce the 15 buck pan for the rest of us.

Steven makes a great point about the longevity of the cast iron pan. I believe we're still digging up examples from the, well, Iron Age. If manufacturers can get this silly new product on the Wedding Registry at Bloomingdales or Crate and Barrel maybe the foolish young (or the upwardly mobile clueless middle-aged ) will spring for one ... rejoicing and high fives in the Boardroom.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Steven, there will always be a market for Lodge because those as foolish as i said to my sister, when we were going through my deceased grandmother's house said "go ahead, take it."

Now, if they could just come up with a "stay cool" handle so I'd quit grabbing the handle of the pan that's been in the oven for 1/2 hour without a potholder, I'd pay BIG bucks.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Now, if they could just come up with a "stay cool" handle so I'd quit grabbing the handle of the pan that's been in the oven for 1/2 hour without a potholder, I'd pay BIG bucks.

Wow, you mean I am not the only person stupid enough to do this? :laugh:


Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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Take heart, other folks besides Lodge make cast iron cookware -- does Wagner ring a distant bell?

Actually, I don't believe Wagner is manufacturing "standard" cast iron these days. Wagner was bougnt by World Kitchen, which doesn't seem to even mention it on their site. And the Wagnerware web site appears to be vestigial (I ordered something off that site around 6 months ago, and while they did accept my charge information and appeared to process the order, my card was never charged and I never received any product). I'm not aware of any manufacturer besides Lodge selling traditional cast iron cookware with wide distribution.

Now, if they could just come up with a "stay cool" handle so I'd quit grabbing the handle of the pan that's been in the oven for 1/2 hour without a potholder, I'd pay BIG bucks.

Unfortunately, those stainless steel handles will still be blazing hot after 30 minutes in a hot oven.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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As far as I know, Lodge is the only remaining U.S. manufacturer of cast iron cookware. When I visit the family in TN, I almost always stop by their factory store in South Pittsburg. You can pick up factory-second skillets for only a few dollars. They have some rough edges on them, so a few minutes work with a file is necessary.

Like Fat Guy mentioned, the stuff lasts forever, so Lodge is continually needing to create new and different products in order to stay in business. Their line of enamelware looks like it's aiming for the Le Creuset market. Not cheap, but less than the French stuff... and good-looking.

If you're going to buy cast iron, buy Lodge.

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I love my Lodge pans, and the price of course can't be beat. But one way in which they've been "working around" that lasts-forever stuff is by making cast iron pans in every shape imaginable. You need a cast iron pan for very small, small, medium, large, and very large, of course. And then you need individual cast iron souffle pans. Of course. And if you want your omelettes to be triangular, well there's a cast iron pan for that too. :rolleyes::laugh: I'm always wondering what shape they'll come out with next, I do love their mother-of-invention attitude.

Does Lodge make anything besides cast iron pans?

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I've not seen any new Wagner stuff in years. I did not long ago buy a cast-iron skillet at Target branded Benjamin & Medwin. I don't know whether that line is still manufactured, I believe by Lipper.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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On the Lodge web site, there's no description of how the Signature Series is constructed. Is the body of the pan just cast iron (seasoned or raw), or is it coated with something?

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This is a page from the Lipper website:

http://lipperinternational.com/catalog/cas...p?CategoryID=30

However, I can't seem to find any online retailers actually selling the stuff. So who knows what's up with that.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Actually, I don't believe Wagner is manufacturing "standard" cast iron these days. 

I don't think Wagner has been manufacturing anything for a long time. However, this article says that some incarnation of the company plans to begin commercial production of cast-iron cookware this year.

Of course, there's a TON of Wagner and Griswold stuff still available used, since, as noted, it lasts forever.

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This is a page from the Lipper website:

http://lipperinternational.com/catalog/cas...p?CategoryID=30

However, I can't seem to find any online retailers actually selling the stuff. So who knows what's up with that.

Lipper makes Martha Stewart's cast-iron cookware, which is carried in-store and on-line by Kmart.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Take heart, other folks besides Lodge make cast iron cookware -- does Wagner ring a distant bell?

Actually, I don't believe Wagner is manufacturing "standard" cast iron these days. Wagner was bougnt by World Kitchen, which doesn't seem to even mention it on their site. And the Wagnerware web site appears to be vestigial (I ordered something off that site around 6 months ago, and while they did accept my charge information and appeared to process the order, my card was never charged and I never received any product). I'm not aware of any manufacturer besides Lodge selling traditional cast iron cookware with wide distribution.

You mean my Wagner stuff may be becoming rare?!

I can't wait till Antiques Roadshow comes to town!!!

:laugh:

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QVC's got the enameled cast iron for a great price and pretty too. I haven't tried it yet. By polished do you mean enameled???

Technique Enamel Cast Iron 5 qt. Oval Pot with Sculpted Lid

just go to qvc.com it's umm a few products down from the top. Only fifty bucks pretty good. There are other ones in tomato or garlic or pumpkin or apple shapes too. Cute cute

Umm and about getting eternally burned on the everhot handle, could we maybe make a mental note to leave the potholder sitting on the pot handle or a folded up towel?? It works sometimes... :rolleyes:

edited to fix link I hope


Edited by K8memphis (log)

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... And, at the same time, no one seems to be selling polished cast iron, which most everyone agrees would be a great idea that's worth an extra, say, 15%.

What is polished cast iron?

This stuff (from Wagner's unfortunately vestigial web site). It's cast iron where the interior of the pan has been machined so that it is smooth instead of rough.

Umm and about getting eternally burned on the everhot handle, could we maybe make a mental note to leave the potholder sitting on the pot handle or a folded up towel?? It works sometimes...  :rolleyes:

I don't quite see that working while the pan is in the oven. :smile:

Personally, I have attempted to train myself to never touch the handle of a pot that's in use except by using a towel.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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... And, at the same time, no one seems to be selling polished cast iron, which most everyone agrees would be a great idea that's worth an extra, say, 15%.

What is polished cast iron?

This stuff (from Wagner's unfortunately vestigial web site). It's cast iron where the interior of the pan has been machined so that it is smooth instead of rough.

Umm and about getting eternally burned on the everhot handle, could we maybe make a mental note to leave the potholder sitting on the pot handle or a folded up towel?? It works sometimes...  :rolleyes:

I don't quite see that working while the pan is in the oven. :smile:

Personally, I have attempted to train myself to never touch the handle of a pot that's in use except by using a towel.

Well yeah there's no help/hope at all for someone who will grab a hot pan from a hot oven without a hot pad. Hello-o. I thought y'all meant after you take it out of the oven and it's sitting there like a peaceful nuclear bomb on the stove top just holding it's breath till someone touches it.

We at least wait until it's out of the oven.

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You mean my Wagner stuff may be becoming rare?!

You might be surprised what collectible cast-iron pans can bring. I think Griswold tends to be more valuable than Wagner (not sure why). Check out this website. There are Griswold skillets going for hundreds of dollars apiece. A #8 Spider Logo (pre 1890) is on offer for $1495. Whether anyone will really pay that is questionable, but still.
It's cast iron where the interior of the pan has been machined so that it is smooth instead of rough.

I bought a machined Griswold skillet used (I think it's a number 8, and I think I paid about $30 for it about 3 years ago, and I think it's 1920s-1930s vintage) from some online seller, can't remember which. There's gazillions of these things out there. Unfortunately, they don't necessarily tell you on websites whether the pan is machined or not. I actually don't really like the smooth surface as well as the rough; it doesn't seem to hold seasoning half as well.

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