Cast Iron In A Land of Scarcity.
I have recently joined a facebook group called Cast Iron Cooking. I am quite enjoying it. It is a nice bunch of mostly Americans. That has been interesting. The third person to welcome me to the group has turned out to be a lovely man, but his avatar is looking down the barrel of a handgun. The idea of someone saying “welcome!” while pointing a gun at me seemed odd to my Canadian heart.
But I digress
The general consensus of the group is that “they don’t make ’em like they used to.” I absolutely agree. Older pans tend to be milled on the inside or at least polished from use. This makes them nicer to cook in than your modern day pan. They tend to be a little thinner and lighter. I like that. Even if I buy a very nice Lodge Pro-Logic (which I have) it would take years to get the kind of interior you can find on a vintage pan. I have eventually gotten there with my Lodge Signature series through years of twice weekly use, so it does happen, it just takes time and effort.
The part that I find interesting is that despite everyone agreeing that (insert favourite vintage brand name here) is better than (modern American Made Cast Iron Brand Here (who are we kidding, it’s Lodge, Camping Grade Cast Iron is not beloved by anyone)) people have very unusual ideas about how much you should pay for an old pot.
Some of the deals people find ARE amazing. A bundt pan for $5 was recently shown and my heart went pitter pat and I went a little green with envy.
Up here, there isn’t the same huge supply of vintage cast iron. I have to live in a world of finding one piece in a garage sale or thrift shop every few months. To be fair, I have not suddenly made hunting for cast iron a full time job. On the other hand, I thrift shop for most of our clothes (especially at the rate Little Girl is growing) so I am in there fairly often. If there is a huge supply out there, I am not seeing it.
And this is where I think it gets interesting. If I find a nice vintage piece of cast iron for close to the cost of (hardware store wax coated monstrosity) I am OVER the moon! If I can find it for the cost of a new piece of Lodge I am still very happy. I am confident that I can judge if I am getting a piece with a nicer interior and lighter weight. If I order it from away shipping alone would cost more than a new piece of Lodge, never mind brokerage fees and import duties.
I did eventually find a cast iron waffle iron. I paid $50. I am very happy with it for that. It was less than a new one and it has a base, which new waffle irons don’t include. I am really looking forward to using it. I expect that by American standards I have hugely over paid. I see them come up for $15 or less on the internet…. except that it would also be $60 for shipping.
While I envy the affordable vintage, I kind of find it a bit…. strange that people admit that vintage pan are better, but still want them for so much less money then new. Hey we are all looking for a deal. But for me, living in a land of vintage cast iron scarcity, a deal is getting a better pan for the same cost as a worse one.