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  • All I want for Christmas

    Posted on February 27th, 2012 Michael No comments

    For several years I have been promoting a “Made in America Christmas”.  My family knows this so they try and give me gifts that were made in America.  This year, one of my gifts was a Lodge Logic Combo Cooker, which is a cast iron skillet and lid/griddle combo.   My first two thoughts about the gift were, “boy is this heavy” and followed immediately by “how am I going to use this on my electric stove.  Fast forward a few weeks to a Sunday morning when I was making breakfast for the family.  I had a craving for hash brown potatoes, so out comes the new skillet and I proceeded to make hash browns.   

    Being that the skillet was pre-seasoned, all I had to do was take it out of the box, wipe it with a dry piece of paper towel and I was good to go.  When I put the skillet on the stove I told my wife that I was not sure how this was going to turn out. I then turned up the heat on the skillet and let it warm up.  I used that time to read the pamphlet that came with the skillet and do a quick online search on cooking with a cast iron skillet on an electric stove.  The initial information was not inspiring, since it documented problems and references to electric stove manufacturer’s statements that cast iron skillets should not be used on “glass top” electric stoves.   As I read further down I found people who used cast iron without problems, with many using the cast iron item weekly.  The major things I discovered from the online sources was that as long as I was careful not to drag the cast iron skillet across the stovetop and not overheat it, I would be fine.  With this information in hand, I went back to cooking my hash browns.   I was surprised at how well the cooking went.  From onions to the shredded potatoes, the skilled did a great job.  In all, the skillet took the heat well, maintained a consistent temperature, kept the food hot as my family took second and third helpings, it was easy to clean, and my hash browns came out great.  In fact, my family told me that I should make hash browns again.   

    So now that I used the skillet, with great success, and my life became less hectic, I started looking into the Lodge Manufacturing Company.   From their website I discovered that the company was founded in 1896 by Joseph Lodge, in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, and that they are the oldest family-owned cookware foundry in America.  I was disappointed to learn that they import, from China, two lines of enamel coated cast iron cookware.  I emailed the company for some information and got some general information with a pledge to answer any additional questions not covered in the supplied material. 

    From the supplied material I found that the Lodge Manufacturing Company is ahead of the curve on being green along with some basic company information.  In doing an internet search I found that they also have been a good corporate citizen.  They even have a $2,000/yr scholarship given out to a child/grand-child of their workers.  The Lodge Manufacturing has 220 U.S. employees, and Mark Kelly, of the Lodge Manufacturing Company, wrote “based on continuing record demand for Lodge Cast Iron, we are reviewing our production needs and may expand our US foundry but the final decision hasn’t been made.”  The company currently only attributes 6% of their sales to exports, but that percentage is growing.

    The Lodge Manufacturing cites two main reasons why they import the enamel coated items from China; Production costs, and EPA restrictions on the manufacturing of bright-colored enamel.  So odds are that if you want enamel coated cast iron items they are not made in the U.S. no matter who the manufacturer is.

    As stated before, in my research I found many posts on the internet about cast iron skillets, Dutch ovens, etc.   There are many avid users of cast iron on electric stoves, which I am now one of.  I would also point out that when a brand name, for the cast iron item, was mentioned by someone; it was almost always Lodge.  The company’s website says that some of the items made 100 years ago are still in use today.   Based on my experience I can see why and I also understand why they are having record demand.

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