Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What a Find!

*B* and I decided to start cooking with cast iron since our encounter at the market fair.  My mom had three cast iron pans when I was a kid.  They were all part of the Wagner 1891 set.  I recently found out that this was made around 1991 as a celebration of the company's 100th anniversary.  It's not the same quality as the great "Wagner Ware" that I hear so much about.  But we decided to use them anyway until we could find some of the good stuff.

That day came!

We went to a flower and jazz festival Saturday, one of our annual traditions.  We decided that we'd actually go into the shops on Main Street for once.  We went into a little church-run thrift store, and made a bee line for the housewares section.  A quick once over revealed nothing, but as we were walking out, I spotted two cast iron pans on a bottom shelf.  *B* flipped them over, and there it was - Wagner Ware!  They were a bit neglected looking and very crusty on the bottom, but the price was right.


We have a #6 pan and a #8 pan.  Apparently there was a newlywed set of these pans including a #6 and a #8, so they're fairly common.  I would like to find a #3 pan to round out the set.  According to my (quick glance around the internet) research, they were cast between 1935 and 1959.  I was a little disappointed that they weren't older, but I realized that at best, they were almost as old as my grandmother and at worst, older than my mom.  That's not bad at all!  And the cooking surface is soooo smooth.  It's wonderful.

I was so excited that I wanted to get them reseasoned right away.  While the inner seasoning was alright but slightly scuffed, the outer surface was very rough, and I'm very nervous already to use cast iron on my glass-top stove.  I successfully reseasoned my Wagner 1891 griddle a couple of weeks ago, so I felt confident that I could do it.  I threw them (and the smallest of the Wagner 1891 pans) into the oven.  I put the self-clean cycle on for two hours, and look what happened!

The old seasoning blew right off in a puff of red and grey dust.  When I did the griddle, I used olive oil.  This is the finish it gave me, plus some layers of bacon grease due to weekend breakfasts.

For my "new" pans, I used flax seed oil as recommended in this blog post.  It smelled terrible in the oven, but this is what I got after 4 coats of oil.  Isn't it beautiful!?

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