I have a few questions about cast iron pans. Here goes:
I'm embarrassed to admit that for all my enjoyment of cooking for the last decade, I still don't have a cast iron pan. Not that my All-Clad hasn't been serving me well, but I've noticed that my wife has been making eggs most mornings for a good while now, and she keeps using the same non-stick pan that she just leaves on the range-top and wipes clean.
Well, that's pretty much exactly how one would use a good cast-iron pan. And cast-iron skips the health concerns of non-stick pans to boot. So here are my questions:
1. Are there any significant qualitative differences between an older pan I might find at a flea market versus a new Lodge pan? For example, are the older pans substantially heavier gauge and therefore will perform on certain meals better?
Second, if I was going to get just one pan, which size would you recommend? I'd like something that can comfortably fry 4 eggs -- I'm thinking 12". Any smaller is too small and any larger becomes a bit of a challenge to move around and clean up. Opinion?
Thanks so much!