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Heat it slowly or it can warp
Make sure it's seasoned with a thin layer of oil. Never use anything abrasive; dry it immediately.
Don't clean it with soap. A handful of moist kosher salt is usually all you need to scrub off anything tenacious. Rinse, wipe dry, put back on the burner, pour in a few drops of oil, heat it up, wipe warm oil all over the inside of the pan with a paper towel, let it cool... you'll have a gorgeous patina in no time.
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I'm kind of with ETinDC on this one, except that what I do is to use salt and a towel to wipe out any grease, but then I do scrub (not scour) with soap and hot water, rinse and then burn it dry. One of my friends has old cast iron and insists that you just use salt and wipe it out. That's an old wives tale. I was cooking with his Italian girl friend once and when she looked at his pans she shouted, "non igenica??"
I love my stainless and my non-stick cookware, but I love even more the pioneer-woman feeling I get when cook with my cast iron skillet and Dutch oven. I think they're so beautiful that I keep them on the back burners or on the counter as part of my decor. I do the soap-hot water-dry on a low burner-wipe while hot with a very lightly-oiled paper towel thing. If I won't be using them for a while, I store them upside-down so that they don't attract dust; cleaning that crud off is like cleaning up after a BP oil spill. And contrary to popular belief, I've not had a metallic-taste problem cooking acidic foods such as chili or other Tex-Mex favorites in it, but I am apprehensive about using it for spaghetti sauce or anything else with wine in it. If I remember correctly, I paid $3 for the skillet and $7.50 for the Dutch oven in 1971. I think I've gotten my money's worth,
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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