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Bedrock Bob

Iron Teapots

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I was Christmas shopping this afternoon and ran across a couple of sweet pieces of iron at the thrift store.

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I collect iron skillets, cornbread tins and such but have never paid much attention to teapots. My son told me that my daughter in law wanted a fancy teapot for Christmas. I was keeping my eye open but saw nothing. Lo and behold! This evening I found these for $5 each at the thrift store!

I got on the internet and learned a bit about them...

The one on the left is a Teavana hobnail cast iron teapot with a red oxide finish and baked enamel inside. I found one for sale in Wickenburg  AZ for $49 and one for sale in Austin TX for $59. 

The one on the right is a Joyce Chen year of the horse zodiac teapot. Cast iron with baked enamel inside. I found a new one for $95 and a used one for $69 in Oklahoma. So I suppose I didn't pay too much for either one.

They are both pretty cool pieces. Now I am going to look for other iron teapots. I didn't even know there was such an animal out there.

I also scored a sweet cornbread tin. I have a dozen of them but you just can't have too much iron. 

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Darn thing cost a dollar more than the teapots! But what the heck. I can't pass up a piece of black iron cookware. This one is an old Wagner Ware with lots of burnished carbon on it so it is old.

 

 

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Great finds Bob. Cant beat good ol cast iron. We have several sizes of skillets and pots that we use. One big 14 or 16 inch frying pan that is great. Several dutch ovens and other cool cast utensils. They were my great grandparents from the early 40s. The flavor from cast iron is amazing. 

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I agree.

Iron is all I have ever used. There have been a few Teflon pots and pans over the years. Short term junk for the most part. I wonder how much Teflon most people have eaten over the course of a lifetime? Aluminum? I like my iron.

I have 3-400 lbs of iron skillets, dutch ovens and cornbread tins I have collected over the years. I have a couple favorites... A 10" deep sided chicken fryer with a lid and a 10" square skillet. I have a couple sweet comals that I use all the time. And an strange old low sided Wagner with the roughest casting I have ever seen. It is lop sided, too low, too thick and strange looking. But it turns out food like a new Teflon skillet. Even scrambled eggs. It is my new go-to skillet for everyday cooking. And I have a cast cornbread tin that is barnyard animals too. A rooster and a pig and a cow I think. 

I got my first iron skillet from my grandmother about 40 years ago. It was old then. Over the years I have polished up a hundred iron utensils. I have a half dozen old meat grinders, a box full of tortilla presses, a couple clothes irons... I am still trying to figure out why. They are just holding a shelf down in my storage building.

I have decided I need some lids for the skillets and some cast trivets. (I want a square lid for that square skillet pretty bad).  And some more teapots. Lots of teapots. I just discovered them and I think they are awesome. 

 

 

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I love cast iron. Just about all my cooking is done on it. I've tried teflon and the newer ceramic coated pans, and they do work ok...for a while. My iron pots and pans will outlast me. :)

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I love food cooked in cast iron, my exwife loves cast iron cookware, my head however prefers the lightweight aluminum teflon pans!:th_panic:

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4 minutes ago, Au Seeker said:

I love food cooked in cast iron, my exwife loves cast iron cookware, my head however prefers the lightweight aluminum teflon pans!:th_panic:

Yeah, I had an ex like that. We ate out a lot.

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I got lucky and scored a nice iron shortbread mold today. 

Chavo approves!

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Hey Slim!

I used to sing the teapot song to my son when he was little! Thanks for posting that! It really brings back good memories!

Do you know any nursery rhymes about shortbread molds? 

 

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Gotta love that Chavo, he knows good cookware when he sees it.:) 

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19 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

...I used to sing the teapot song to my son when he was little! Thanks for posting that! It really brings back good memories!

Do you know any nursery rhymes about shortbread molds? 

I know one but better not mention it since it's most likely
labeled in today's world as racist due to using the word "Mammy.."

Depending on the situation I'm furly sure someone could spin it
up to represent "inferred implication of blackface usage" too..

Sooo, I guess that means the one I do know is NSFW
as well as being PG-13 and R.. Sorry I thought it up now.. :aw-shucks:

Swamp

Edited by Swampstomper Al

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I dredged up an 18" iron skillet about 15 years ago, it was under about 5 feet of overburden and just above bedrock in the hard pack layer.  Used it at camp for several years then brought it home and the wife "cleaned" it.  Surface rusted the poor old thing badly.  After explaining cast iron to her and finally getting it again seasoned its still our favorite cooking pan.  The claim goes back to early WWII when it was first inhabited so pretty sure thats when it was left to near to the creek.  No markings on it anywhere to determine its maker etc.

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1 hour ago, lotsa luck said:

I dredged up an 18" iron skillet about 15 years ago, it was under about 5 feet of overburden and just above bedrock in the hard pack layer.  Used it at camp for several years then brought it home and the wife "cleaned" it.  Surface rusted the poor old thing badly.  After explaining cast iron to her and finally getting it again seasoned its still our favorite cooking pan.  The claim goes back to early WWII when it was first inhabited so pretty sure thats when it was left to near to the creek.  No markings on it anywhere to determine its maker etc.

That's a good story and a nice find!

An 18" is a huge skillet! I don't have anything close to that diameter.

Back in the day the bottom was always exposed to fire. The sides and bottom would get thick with carbon and grease. The skillet took forever to get hot. They were constantly whittling it off the sides. Pretty soon it gets like ceramic on the surface of that iron and needs to be stripped off. 

My mothers family made lye from the wood ashes and soaked the skillets in it every year. They came out bright, bare metal. I use spray oven cleaner which is the same idea. Whenever I buy one I strip it and re-season the surface with hot oil.

I grease them up and get them smoking hot. Wipe them out while still hot and let them smoke a little. Most iron will turn out pretty good after that first hot grease treatment. Even those corn cob shaped corn bread molds will turn loose of the cornbread. They all get better with time for sure. And some of them seem more nonstick than others. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

And some of them seem more nonstick than others. 

Surface texture? 

I have an old #7 Griswold skillet that I can scramble eggs in easily. That thing is like greased lightning! The interior surface finish is much smoother than any other iron I have though.  

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4 minutes ago, ArcticDave said:

Surface texture? 

I have an old #7 Griswold skillet that I can scramble eggs in easily. That thing is like greased lightning! The interior surface finish is much smoother than any other iron I have though.  

I cant make heads or tails of it. I have some that are like glass and very seasoned. They stick a little. I have one rough as heck and it releases eggs just fine. 

I have done a lot of experimenting on the subject and I don't have anything to offer. Some are just better than others. I don't see a pattern as to why.

 

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If you have experimented with the external variables, then maybe it has something to do with alloy composition. 

A little mystery is good. Some things just...are. :) 

 

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I almost think a little texture allows some oil to remain under the food on the metal surface. My best one has bright metal on the high spots where the steel spatula keeps the seasoning knocked off the tops. I figure the low spots are filled with oil between the food and the iron. 

The glass smooth ones have little surface area. They hold a thinner film of oil.  The thinner film has less surface tension and floats upward allowing the food to fall into contact with more iron.

It seems lard and Crisco sticks less than oil. Kinda like running 50W oil in your old inline six with bad rod bearings... It fills up the space better. Heat makes the oil thinner viscosity and a hotter skillet sticks more. So there may be a temperature/viscosity correlation there somewhere too. 

That is my hypothesis anyway. 

I have a dutch oven that is a rough sand casting on the inside and hardly seasoned at all. Cream  gravy just beads up on it. So go figure.

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My Lodge skillets and ovens are much rougher textured and do okay, so I don't know either. That Griswold I have is baby powder smooth and works fantastic, as long as the seasoning layer is thin. It does seem to get grabbier(if that's not a word...it is now) if I let the seasoning build too high. 

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1 minute ago, ArcticDave said:

My Lodge skillets and ovens are much rougher textured and do okay, so I don't know either. That Griswold I have is baby powder smooth and works fantastic, as long as the seasoning layer is thin. It does seem to get grabbier(if that's not a word...it is now) if I let the seasoning build too high. 

Indeed. The coating can work against you. I plane it off with my spatula all the time while cooking. 

Bacon will make that coating pile up and stick like crazy. It gets like glue on the bottom fast. But you can plane it off with a spatula, get it hot enough to smoke and suddenly it is perfect. 

My grandma said that if you make gravy in the pan it keeps it perfect. It makes sense. You kinda clean out the pan and scrape all the fond into the gravy. And the water/oil slurry kinda refines the oils in the skillet. If you wash it with plain water and a rag just enough to remove the food you leave that rendered coating on the skillet and it is perfect for the next meal.

Slumgullion was what they ate on the trail a lot. It was basically the hot wash water that came out of the skillet with whatever grease and oil the water could draw out of the metal. If you leave your skillet dirty and then boil water in it to get the chunks out it comes out perfect about 99% of the time. So there is something about making gravy or boiling slumgullion that keeps the skillets perfect. I am going to say it is rendering and refining the oils and floating all the water based soluble stuff away. 

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I've noticed that about store bought bacon. Ham and other "cured" meats will do it too. My homemade bacon and hams don't do it nearly as much. I always assumed that an ingredient of the chemical bath they are injected with, was the culprit. 

I made sausage gravy last night in a big Lodge skillet. As I was stirring it, it occurred to me, that the gravy could be a polishing rouge, or maybe some molecule in the flour acts as a binder with the oil. Giving the polymerised oils extra tenacity and structure.  Maybe it is all the above. 

One thing I do know. Iron is king in my world. Buy it once and take care of it. 

 

 

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Other then a big stainless Pot for Boiling stuff that's all I ever use these days. When ever the outside of my 12 inch skillet starts getting to gnarly I just burn it off in a fire and start over. I Think your right on the Texture. The Rougher they are the better they pool oil under the food and nothing sticks. If I let mine go a purdy smooth eggs stick real bad. I've rescued quite a few Skillets from peoples yards they said were dead meat. Few weeks in a White Vinegar Bath and some elbow grease they work just like brand new. Funny you all are on about this . My Mudder in law just gave me a large Lodge Dutch oven still in the box that had sat on her porch for some 5 or 6 years she said. The box was just recognizable but the Oven had ZERO rust on the thing. Still sporting the factory Gick inside a plastic bag what ever they cure them with.

Edited by homefire
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try virgin cold-pressed coconut oil. don't let the oil get so hot that it smokes.

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7 hours ago, wet/dry washer said:

try virgin cold-pressed coconut oil. don't let the oil get so hot that it smokes.

It was a hard sell to convince me to even try coconut oil again. The first time I tried the stuff...it  kinda scared me away. It was absolutely horrible tasting. Like something that came out of the Devil's butt hole. :evil1: 

It must have been rancid, because I have newer jar of the stuff sitting on the shelf...and it works great and has almost zero taste. 

I disagree about the pan temperature though. I read a rather scholarly paper once about seasoning cast iron, and the recipe for success involves getting a very thin layer of oil hot enough to polymerise on the surface of the iron. 
The basic polymerization reaction involves the cross-linking of carbon-carbon double bonds within fatty acids using oxygen and possibly other things, including iron, as catalysts. You have to get the pan above the smoke point of the oil used, for that voodoo to occur. Also unsaturated fats contain more carbon=carbon for the seasoning process and will build the layer faster.

 

 

Edited by ArcticDave
Grammer

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All I ever do to a Raw iron pan is heat until all but red hot and wipe down the inside with any vegetable oils at hand.     Or just slow cook some bacon in the thing a few times.   That works most the time for me.   After cooking the bacon just wipe it out with a metal NO SOAP Brillo type pad and hot water.   I'm some what a Happy Cook and dribble chit all over the sides of the pan.  After six months or so it builds up a 1/4 inch layer of UNKNOWN all around the sides and even I have enough of looking at that.  In the Fire it goes. 

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I use fire once in a while to clean skillets too Homie. It works slick. There is a point just before that skillet gets red that everything just jumps off.

The trouble is that only works when you have a fire. And in these parts that is only about three months out of the year. And even then only occasionally.

I get the "spray lye" from Wal Mart on sale for about a buck a can and it works great in the hot summer sun. Kinda like a campfire in a can. It'll take it down to bare metal if you let it sit about 24 hours. I use that stuff for a lot of cleaning jobs and paint stripping. The only down side is you have to wear your gloves and make sure nothing splatters on you when you are scrubbing off the gunk.

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Yea, Lye does the trick too.   Yep, one of those little crystals of Lye lands on your forearm and it sorta just sinks right in.  That stuff loves human Fatty tissues.  And Eyeballs.  

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