Cast iron and stainless steel, step aside.
Didn't you hear? We're in the age of the cast-iron skillet. Before that it was all about the bright and shiny and new stainless steel pan: It's what all the Food Network chefs were using on TV. Way before that was the cast-iron skillet, again—or rather, the first time. Think: Mama Joad's biscuits and gravy in Dust Bowl–era California...
It seems that in the past five years or so, you can't turn a corner without seeing a love letter to cast iron. It's the best pan, they say, the only way to cook in 2018. You're not a real bonafide cook's cook if you don't cook in cast iron. I actually do agree with this to an extent (I j'adore my 10-inch skillet, even my tiny 3 1/2-inch one—a single filet mignon cooks up gorgeously in it).
But have you ever tried scrambling eggs in cast iron, or even in stainless steel? Sure, if you use an heirloom cast-iron skillet that's been seasoned with 200 years of fatty bacon breakfasts and chicken-fried dinners, washed only with the tears of two turtledoves, then maybe your eggs will slip right out. Or get your stainless steel pan smoking hot, and fried eggs will slide on down onto the plate like a luger at the Winter Olympics annnnnddd WHOOPS! There's the fire alarm.
For me, there are certain foods where only a nonstick skillet will do. When there's no thinking involved, no technique. The meals that aren't a flash in the pan. Just...cooking. Which is all any of us really needs.
I reached out to my colleagues to see what foods they only ever cook in a nonstick skillet. Here's what they had to say.
"Scrambled eggs," says Kristen Miglore, creative director and author of Genius Desserts. "I know everyone else will say this."
"Scrambled eggs," reverberates Caroline Harris, SVP of partnerships. "I hate it when there's egg residue on a pan because I feel like it's wasted food."
"I agree with scrambled eggs" was the third motion from Sean Lee, VP of people and culture. "But also omelets," he tells me, "especially if you're making omurice. That top layer of egg comes out perfectly."
"I make my omelet every morning in it!" adds Digital Designer Megan Güntaş. "It slides right onto the plate."
"Ever since I got my GreenPan 4+ months ago, I've only used another pan once," enthuses Marketing Coordinator Danielle Curtis-Williams. "And that's only because my GreenPan wasn't big enough to fit everything I was cooking. I heart cooking eggs in this pan (scrambled, fried, omelet), makes things so much easier."
Eggs are clearly the one thing we love cooking in our nonstick skillets.
But for me, it's seafood. There's nothing I despise more than when my scallops stick. A part of me also dies a little inside when skin-on fish doesn't slip off the pan perfectly; I love the crispy skin on fatty fish, especially salmon, and want none of it to go to waste.
Is there anything stickier than rice? When you want to—need to—fry it, like really caramelize it (because caramelized rice tastes divine), it helps when you don't lose half of it in the process. It's really all about nonstick for recipes like above.
The nonstick skillet with the red dot in the middle (you know the one?) was iconic for me growing up. My mother cooked everything in it.
So do my colleagues, apparently:
"I do everything in my Ballarinis," says Operations Director Jon Schober.
"I cook everything in nonstick, too," echoes Victoria Maynard, director of finance. "#lazy."
"I did not grow up with nonstick," says Kaitlin Bray, director of social media, "because my mom is a hippy and thought they were 'creepy.' But I love my nonstick pans."
What do you only ever cook in a nonstick skillet? Let us know in the comments below.