Cast iron skillets!
The History of Cast Iron Cookware
The first known use of cast iron cookware was during the Han Dynasty in China, around 220 A.D. Casting techniques became widespread in Europe by the 16th century, and since then, this versatile equipment has been a staple in households all over the world. In 1707, Abraham Darby patented the sand casting method, which is similar to the way we make cast iron today. Because of Darby’s contribution, the 18th and 19th centuries saw a boom in cast iron cookware. Cast iron pots and pans were so important to daily life that in his book, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith says they were worth more than gold. Cast iron cookware saw a decline in the 20th century as other cooking materials like aluminum grew in popularity.
How to Reseason a Cast-Iron Skillet
Rusty pan? Here's what to do.
Scrub the pan well in hot, soapy water. Yes, using a little soap is fine in this case because you are reseasoning the pan. Use a nylon scrub brush or fine steel wool scrubber to remove rust, if needed. Once the pan is clean, dry it thoroughly inside and out. (And keep the pan dry in the future to prevent rusting.)
Rub a thin layer of vegetable oil or melted shortening over the entire pan. Make sure to cover the inside, outside, and the handle. Don't add too much, you don't want the pan to be so oily that it's slippery. A nice even coating is what you're looking for.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the pan upside down on the middle oven rack. This prevents the oil from pooling inside the pan. Put a sheet of aluminum foil on the lower rack to catch any drips. Bake the pan for one hour.
After one hour, turn off the oven and leave the pan in the oven to cool completely. When the pan is cool, wipe away any excess oil with a paper towel.
When it's time to cook with your shiny new skillet, make sure to wash it with hot water (no soap this time) and dry it completely after each use. If and when it needs to be reseasoned again, now you'll know what to do.