Friday, July 27, 2012

Cast Iron vs Clay Pots

I cut my teeth in cooking while living in a vegetarian hippy dippy housing cooperative during college. (GREAT time!)

There we had many, many cast iron pots and pans. Veggie stews were cooked in a cast iron pot with a lid. Pancakes were cooked off on a cast iron skillet. Our rice (brown, of course) was cooked in a smaller pot.

I learned to clean these pans, not with dish detergent, but with salt (to scrub) and sometimes some vinegar (there was very little [but some] oil in this style of cooking). The idea was that if you used dish detergent it would bond with the seasoned pot and appear again in your next dish - yuck.

Also, we NEVER put soap in our coffee pots. Just ice water, scrubbing, and a vinegar bath followed by a good rinse. Same reason.

Now I am cooking, here in Brazil, with seasoned clay and stone pots. It seems logical to me to carry forward the same thinking. Avoid the detergent.

But tell that to a Brazilian. At least in our area, people would not THINK of cleaning a pot without copious amounts of detergent.

I always cringe at the idea of putting dish detergent in a seasoned pot, but, you can't push the river. It will be, here, what it is. Jim does not have a say. (But I do protect my coffee pot!)

Furthermore - most of the things we cook in these pots are either rice or seafood - not that much oil to clean up after. No matter.

Oh well. Maybe I am just getting used to the slight soapy after taste...

All things considered - I prefer clay and stone pots.


The Reader said...

Jim, I would LOVE your tips for cooking in clay. I keep wanting to buy some, but have NO IDEA how to cook in them. Maybe a future blog post...?

(I wouldn't use dish detergent either....eek. But, "you can't push the river" -- so true.)

GingerV said...

I wouldn't use detergent in the USA - but it is not likely to hurt here - removing the seasoning oils from the cast iron with the dishwasher detergent you get here - it doesn't have the same consitancy (somewhat oily and thick) as the liquid detergent of the USA. I make my coffee with an enamaled pot for boiling the water and a glass lined thermos to serve the coffee and if it isn't cleaned routinely it gets a stale coffee taste. and I am with the reader - some cooking with clay online classes would be great.

GingerV said...
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Laural Out Loud said...

I don't have any cast iron (I was supposed to get my great-grandmother's skillet when she died, but it got sent to Goodwill instead, I haven't really gotten over it!), but I do have some clay pieces. My husband is NOT allowed to touch them because his Brazilian brain can't comprehend cleaning without soap, lol. I thought it was just him, but now I know it's beyond him!

Rachel said...

My brother has pots like this and he says that you should occasionally cover them in oil and bake them in a low temperature. Dont know why :)

Jim said...

Rachel - that is exactly correct when first seasoning your pots. Over the years this is not necessary. You want to have a baked in layer of oil to soften your cooking.

Reader - I plan to make a muqueca soon, in a clay pot. I will be sure to give a play by play.

The Reader said...

Jim, that would be awesome! Thanks!

(and thanks for welcoming me back earlier; I'm ashamed I stayed away so has been...interesting)

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