Pros: An essential kitchen utensil, conducts heat evenly
Cons: Dr. Lecter has different ideas
Before I launch into my thoughts about the Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet, let us consider what the esteemed Dr. Hannibal Lecter had to say about this humble item of cookware:
"Look into the skillet, Clarice. Lean over it and look down. If this were your mother's skillet, and it may well be, it would hold among its molecules the vibrations of all the conversations ever held in its presence. All the exchanges, the petty irritations, the deadly revelations, the flat announcements of disaster, the grunts and poetry of love.
Sit down at the table, Clarice. Look into the skillet. If it is well cured, it's a black pool, isn't it? It's like looking down a well. Your detailed reflection is not in the bottom, but you loom there, don't you? The light behind you, there you are in blackface, with a corona like your hair on fire.
We are all elaborations of carbon, Clarice. You and the skillet and Daddy dead in the ground, cold as the skillet......." Thomas Harris, Hannibal, p. 31.
I'm not sure if I subscribe to Dr. Lecter's somewhat unorthodox view of the skillet, but I do know that I've always had one in my kitchen and consider it to be a utensil that's an essential element in my kitchen repertoire. I recently purchased a Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet that I found on sale for a song, and even though I didn't really need it, the price was so low that I couldn't pass it up.
The Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet is built just like any other skillet I've ever seen, with one exception that I'll address in a moment. It's made entirely of black cast iron which acts as sort of a superconductor of heat. In addition to conducting heat very efficiently, it also conducts heat evenly, insuring that whatever food you're cooking in it will be cooked evenly.
The Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet has the usual handle that is appended to a skillet, but on the side of the skillet opposite the handle there's a protruding lip that allows you to use both of your hands when you're handling the skillet. Like all cast iron skillets, the Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet is very heavy, and sometimes moving it around when it's hot and full of food can be a tricky and potentially dangerous experience. I can put a kitchen glove on each hand and safely handle the skillet by holding the handle on one side and the lip on the other, a pretty nice safety feature if you ask me.
Another thing I like about the Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet (or any skillet, for that matter) is that I can sear a piece of meat on the stovetop then transfer the skillet to the oven for the meat to be finished. This keeps me from having to use two utensils in a cooking procedure that the Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet handles quite efficiently.
Seasoning or curing a skillet is an absolute necessity, but I'll leave that subject to the advice that your mother or grandmother gave you on the procedure. Another matter that I'll defer to them is the matter of cleaning the skillet--you've been told, and there's no need for me to repeat those sage words of wisdom.
I recommend the Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet, simply because no kitchen is complete without a quality skillet. This skillet is one such animal, so if you see one, pick it up.
Thanks for reading.