**Please note: To see the photos contained within a post, you must click on the title of the post to open it separately. Why? I don't know. I just know that it needs to be done to see the pics. :)

Page 26

Jan's cast-iron-cooked pizza.

Jan Zita Grover is a long-time customer of The Pan Handler. She has kindly agreed to allow me to reprint some of her materials on cast iron cooking.

Jan Zita Grover teaches cooking techniques classes for community education programs throughout the Twin Cities. She has catered, run a professional kitchen, written about food and cooking, developed recipes, and taught private cooking lessons since the 1980s. 

Cast–Iron Cookery

Jan Zita Grover

© Jan Zita Grover, 2014

Jan’s Dutch Baby prepared in a cast iron skillet.

Like processed foods, most American cookware is produced to serve manufacturers’ needs, not yours. Manufacturers’ official faith is that Americans want lightweight pots and pans with nonstick coatings. What do you know about those coatings? Their formulae are proprietary, so you can’t assess them, and no one without a degree in chemistry could make much sense of them anyway. Nonstick coatings give cookware manufacturers a comparatively free ride (lighter pans, lower materials and production costs) and the opportunity to sell you new pots and pans every few years. No one wants to cook in a pan that looks as if someone’s taken a router to it—so score another victory for Calphalon and Cuisinart!

Meanwhile, like those silent vegetables in the produce department, cast iron sits there, doughty and dusty, on hardware store shelves, sought out by few. After all: nobody needs to replace cast iron every few years—once you’ve bought it, it stays in your family until the family no longer produces any  sensible, experienced cooks. At that point, off it goes to a church or temple rummage sale, there to connect with a grateful seeker. You can’t destroy it. You can always resuscitate it. How can you market this stuff?

Well, you can’t, much. You can change it a little, as Lodge did back in 2003, when it decided to preseason part of its annual production in response to younger buyers’ lack of familiarity with seasoning cast iron. But that’s about all you can do—cast iron is as basic as an onion, and a lot easier to understand.

Cast-iron cookware is made from pig iron. These days, it’s cast in sand molds robotically. After being removed from the molds, it’s blasted with superheated streams of soy oil, which bake on instantly, giving it its initial seasoning and black coloring. It’s heavy, black, traditional, and cheap.

Jan’s Panettone, cooked in cast iron.

But my—how it cooks!  I’ve yet to work with a cooking student who hasn’t developed a deep affection for it. Often this newfound love for cast iron has forged new connections with family. In my classes, invariably one or two students come in the week after Thanksgiving proudly flourishing an old cast-iron pot or pan that they unearthed when they went home for Thanksgiving. Sitting around the family table, these new cooks told everyone how much they were loving the little 8-inch skillets they were using in class, and someone at the table, usually an elder, piped up, “There’s a whole box of that stuff out in the garage/up in the attic/down in the basement.” At which point a new generation can give that old cast-iron cookware a start on its next forty years of service. (Collective gasps and sighs of envy from the rest of us around the classroom table.)

Here’s the thing about cast iron as a cooking medium—something you cannot get from aluminum-clad cookware, much less from thin, nonstick-coated pans: once it’s heated up, it produces very even heat at every temperature. If you want to simmer beans overnight at 200° F. in the oven, cast iron will do it. If you want to pan-fry chicken in 3 inches of hot fat, cast iron will do it. If you get to Duluth and realize you left a cast-iron Dutch oven of soup on a burner at medium-low and you can’t find someone to go turn off the burner, cast iron will take care of the problem for you (I speak from experience; I have done this)—your soup will be very thick, but it won’t burn.

Over time, your cast-iron skillet will acquire a peerless, naturally nonsticking interior. That’s because iron pots possess deep pores, and the oils and fats you use in frying fill with those lipids, which polymerize, forming a slick, nonstick surface. You can speed up this process by faithfully cooking bacon and/or eggs in your new or reseasoned pan. It will stick a bit at first, but within a month or two of steady use, it will develop a bulletproof surface that only scouring (or going through a dishwasher) can damage.

Do’s of Using Cast–Iron Cookware

Washing.  The pores in the surface of new cast iron are deep and unplugged, and to fully season your cast iron, you need to encourage oils and fats to trickle down into and stay in those pores. That means that until cast iron is fully seasoned, you shouldn’t use soap or detergent on it: these are surfactants, and they lift and wash away fats and oils—the opposite of what you want to achieve.

Preheating.  Heat up your cast-iron pan on medium or medium-high before you add cooking oil/fat! This is the

Jan’s Swedish Pancakes, cooked in a cast iron Plett pan.

folk secret to using traditional pans. Once the oil shimmers or the butter stops spitting, the fat is hot enough to cook with. Food does not stick to pans that have been heated first, then had oil/fat added and heated before food added. (Initially, meat will stick, but that’s because it needs to brown first. Once it has, the meat can be easily turned over.)

Searing.  If you want your food to brown beautifully in cast iron, resist the temptation to keep moving it around. The temptation is great, I know, and it’s mostly propelled by fear that the food will stick if you don’t shovel it around. Have faith: the food must stick before it doesn’t stick, and the sticking is necessary to achieve a beautiful brown sear. Turn meat that you’re pan-frying only once—that means it’s going to sit there for a minimum of 3 minutes per side and probably much longer. Cast iron can do it!

Removing food from pan.  Once you’ve cooked your food to perfection, remove it right away from your cast-iron pan: because cast iron holds heat extremely well, food in the pan will continue to cook and become overcooked.

On the other hand, if you want to keep something like a casserole or braise or soup hot, you can turn off the stove, confident that your cast-iron Dutch oven will keep your food hot for at least an hour. (Try that with a lightweight aluminum pan!)

Don’ts of Using Cast–Iron Cookware

No dishwashers.  Don’t put your cast iron through the dishwasher unless you want to reseason it.

Avoid sudden changes in temperature.  Don’t put a hot cast-iron pot/pan down on a cool surface, like a granite countertop. Because cast iron has little thermal elasticity, it could crack. Similarly, don’t pour cold water into a very hot cast-iron pan.

Do the washing yourself.  Don’t allow your friends to wash out your cast-iron pots/pans. With the greatest kindness, they may scour out your hard-earned seasoning. (I speak from sad experience.)

Jan’s cast-iron-pan-grilled chicken breast and zucchini.

What You Get for All This Trouble

Peerless cornbread;

Awe-inspiring fried chicken;

Deeply flavored stews, braises, soups;

The best bacon and eggs you’ll ever eat;

Heavenly high-temperature–roasted chicken;

Fabulous grilled-cheese sandwiches;

A lifetime of faithful service; and

An opportunity to pass on your culinary traditions someday to a lucky young relative.

Some Dishes Made Special by Cast-Iron Cookware

Jan’s cast-iron-cooked pizza.

These are dishes that turn out particularly well when cooked in/on cast-iron. If you don’t have a cast-iron griddle for stovetop use, you’re missing out on a versatile tool that not only cooks eggs, hashbrowns, and cottage fries splendidly but that also makes pizzas and scones far superior to what you can achieve in other cookware, provided that you heat up the griddle while you’re heating the oven. 

Pan-Fried Chicken

Nothing simpler! To avoid spattering, you may want to consider a cast-iron chicken fryer, which is about 4 inches deep instead of the usual 2 inches, but either works just fine. Choose a small chicken (preferably under 3 lb.; 2 lb. is ideal), dredge it first in milk and then in seasoned (salt, pepper, perhaps some ground chipotle) flour in a paper bag, then put the pieces on a cooling rack to sit for about 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to pan-fry the chicken, add enough Crisco* to the pan to be ½” deep when the fat has melted. Wait until you can see a faint shimmer on the surface of the oil or when the temperature measures about 350°. Add several pieces of chicken to the pan, skin side down, and do not crowd them—if you do, they’ll steam rather than become crispy. Cook for about 10 minutes on one side, then use tongs to turn each piece over. Total cooking time should be about 20 minutes, but smaller, lighter pieces—for example, wings—will take less time. If you’re using a thermometer, you want it to read 165° when inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Remove meat from pan and allow to drain on cooling rack.

*Many people add a tablespoon or two of bacon drippings for even tastier fried chicken; others swear by peanut oil. So many choices, so many excellent ways to make fried chicken!

 Cheesy Corn Bread    

This makes a soft bread—a spoon bread with crusty edges, thanks to the cast-iron skillet. The canned green chiles can be replaced with fresh ones or 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes. Note: Canned Hatch green chiles aren’t hot, just incredibly tasty!

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Set oven rack in the middle.


1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup milk or buttermilk

1/3 cup melted butter, lard, or olive oil

2–4-oz. of canned green chiles, chopped (Note: these should say “green chiles” or “Hatch green chiles”—they’re mild chiles, not jalapeños. If you prefer more heat, use a half-can of canned jalapeños, or chop up fresh ones to use.)

¾ cup grated Cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter

Combine corn, cornmeal, eggs, salt, baking soda, milk, fat, chiles, and ¾ of the cheese. Melt butter or add olive oil to 8 or 9” cast-iron skillet. Place in oven until butter melts but does not brown, or oil is hot. Pour batter into the warm pan. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until top is bubbly and browned.

Jan’s Currant Cream Scones   

Jan’s currant cream scones, cooked in cast iron.

There are scones and scones. Some people prefer them with a dry texture; others, with a creamy, moist interior. I am of the second camp, so I make my scones with cream, which contributes their pleasing moistness. Because a big part of the scones’ taste comes from the butter you use, buy a really good butter—after conducting tastings for a group of 12 people, I learned that almost everyone preferred the butter I use for baking: beautiful Hope Creamery butter, available at food co-ops throughout the Twin Cities. If you don’t like currants in your scones, you can use blueberries or dried cranberries, or you can make a purist’s scone, with nothing else at all except a bit of citrus zest. However, using currants gives you the opportunity to soak them first in brandy, port, or rum, and doing so imparts a subtle and beautiful flavor to your scones.

Scones are most tender when they are not overblended. For that reason, I recommend using a fork rather than a spoon to mix them up. Don’t use a stand or hand mixer: your scones will not become high and tender. The pan you cook the scones in makes a tremendous difference to their quality. Use a cast-iron griddle or big skillet that you’ve heated up along with the oven for best results.

Be sure, too, not to overpack your dry measuring cup with flour; instead, spoon in the flour gently. 

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Oven rack in middle position; preheat griddle/skillet with oven.


1/3 cup currants

2 cups (240 g.) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons (2 oz., or half a stick) unsalted, cold butter

2 eggs

1/3 cup heavy cream

zest from 1 orange

2 tablespoons heavy cream

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

If currants are dry, put them in a small bowl with just enough very hot water, brandy, or port to cover them. Cover the bowl and allow currants to rehydrate for 30 minutes, then drain.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with two knives until butter is well coated and in shaggy little pieces. (You can also use your fingers to do this. The pieces do not need to be uniform in size at all, and they do not need to be any smaller than, say, a dried bean.) Mix in eggs, one at a time, with a fork. Do not overstir. Add cream. Zest one orange and add zest to dough. Add drained currants to dough. Lightly flour a mixing board and turn dough onto board. Knead gently for 2 minutes, until smooth. Roll out or pat dough into a round about 3/4 inch thick. Score the dough in half, then in quarters, then in eighths. Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the dough disc with heavy cream, then sprinkle sugar over the top from about 12” above (this ensures that the sugar will be evenly and lightly distributed). Place the scones on the preheated cast-iron griddle.

Bake for 15–20 minutes, until tops are browned and sugar has glazed.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

            This heavenly little cake cooks beautifully in an 8- or 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Baking it in cast iron causes the sides, top, and bottom to form delightful crusts—a tasty contrast to the almost pudding-like consistency of the crumb. Because it’s made with almond flour, the cake remains exceptionally moist for a long time: you can keep it for weeks in a closed tin. I like to brush the cake with my homemade marmalades while it’s still hot in the skillet.

Start with a cold oven and an oiled 8- or 9-inch cast-iron skillet.


4 eggs

1 c. extra-virgin olive oil*

zest of 1 lemon and 1 navel or Valencia orange

2 c. sugar

3/4 c. whole almonds, skin on or off, then ground, or 2 c. almond flour

1 tsp. baking powder

*My current favorite for baking is California Olive Ranch’s Everyday Olive Oil, available at Target.

** Pricey but useful, because ground nut-based cakes are light and rich. Keep the flour in the freezer to avoid its becoming rancid.

Beat eggs until ropey and yellow; add olive oil and incorporate. Add citrus zest and sugar, then the ground almonds and baking powder. Whisk until combined; pour into greased 8-inch cast-iron skillet. Place in cold oven and turn oven to 400°; bake until straw in center comes out clean, roughly 50–60 minutes, or until center is fairly firm. At about 50 minutes, start checking. (It’s difficult to overbake this cake because of its high oil content, but you don’t want its crust to toughen too much.) Set skillet or pan on cooling rack and while cake is still warm, anoint top with marmalade or your favorite jam. Cut and serve right out of the skillet once the cake has cooled to lukewarm. Or leave until entirely cool before removing cake from pan—if you can wait that long! The center of this case is never going to firm up the way a non-oil, wheat flour-based cake will—it’s always going to be soft and almost gooey.

Jan’s Aebleskiver.




I have some “testimonials” on the front page of the site, and Robert C. wrote me a wonderful one, along with photos! Here it is in its entirety…enjoy.


All pans aren’t created equal!


As the primary cook in our home I have usually been a big fan of the latest technology.

Coated cooking pans were the preferred tools for almost all of my sautés, sauces, and frying exercises. Over time I found I had to ask the question, “where are these pieces of  non-stick surface material going?” Much like the question about what happens to the brown in soda drinks I became concerned about the chemicals I was feeding my family by cooking with chemical coatings. Then the government confirmed the issue by changing their regulations regarding non-stick surface chemistry.

The deciding factor really was that these surfaces no matter how carefully I stuck to the rules of using non-metallic spatulas and spoons (what about the plasticizers in those?) would eventually become scarred and make cooking and cleaning more difficult.

My cooking experience changed dramatically when my wife purchased a vintage cast iron pan from the Pan Handler website.

Talk about a great cooking surface! Where I first noticed a difference was with my morning egg whites. They had really been mucking up in the non-stick pan I had been using. I couldn’t get a uniform texture, the eggs were crumbling to very small pieces, and actually were almost unpleasant to eat. The clean up was unnecessarily time consuming.

With the vintage cast iron pan’s smooth as a diamond finish using a steel spatula I  could cook picture perfect scrambled eggs or omelets every time.  They had just the right browning and the texture was perfect. I was surprised at the difference.

The cleanup was simple and really was closer to what I was expecting from non-stick pans. A little soapy water with a sponge, drying and then a small amount of olive or canola oil on a paper towel to keep that finish smooth and shiny!

Making sauces, gravies, and browning meats is also better.

I really couldn’t brown a steak or piece of fish effectively in a non-stick pan, but with the Pan Handler vintage pan it is a breeze and the surface is sealed with the juices captured for finishing in the broiler or roaster.

Another note the vintage pan seems lighter and smoother than cast iron pans available in stores today. I guess the hand casting of earlier ages created a smoother lighter weight pan than those pans made currently in who knows where?


Robert C.

Barrington, IL

Wagner Fat Free Fryer Pan Griddle Skillet 1102 10 Cast Iron Antique Old Vintage Cookware KitchenwareUpdate 1.28.14

Jon sent me a photo of his lovely daughter helping to make breakfast. Thanks, Jon! Glad your family is enjoying the pan!

Update 1.21.14

Carmen updated me with another use of the pan – she used it to bake some yummy cookies. Here is what she said:

“Hi Mary,

I usually make cookies on a sheet of foil, but I decided to make them on the fat free fryer. I made some homemade peanut butter cookies tonight. They turned out delicious, they were a hit! They were perfectly cooked, crispy on the bottom and sides and moist in the center. They cooked so uniformly and the bottoms and edges did not burn or stick like they sometimes do on the foil. The possibilities of use for this wonderful pan are endless.


And here are her cookie pics!


Update 1.20.14

Carmen sent in some photos – she and her family have enjoyed the pan! Carmen said:

“Hi Mary,

The pan is great. I have been busy with school and haven’t cooked as much as I may have liked or had the time to take some pictures. But today was a holiday and everyone was home so I made breakfast with the pan.  I don’t have a camera so I used the one on my phone, I apologize if some of the pictures are not the best. I made homemade sausages, pancakes and fried eggs. The fats from the sausage drained into the moat and when I finished cooking the sausage, it was noticeable! No more greasy sausages for us, just healthy lean sausage thanks to the fat free fryer. I did not have to drain them on paper towels as I usually do. I guess that is a plus I get to save on paper towels too. The eggs slid right off the pan like butter, the surface is soo smooth, it is impressive. Pancakes were made in a cinch too with no sticking, it was great. I am very glad to have received the pan and will continue to use it in health for my family, thanks again!


Glad you and your family are enjoying your healthful pan, Carmen!

And…here are the pics of Carmen’s delicious-looking breakfast!

January 1, 2014 AND THE WINNER IS…or should I say AND THE WINNERS ARE…

I had an amazing response to this giveaway, and many really wonderful, creative, heartwarming, and interesting entries. I couldn’t decide on just one winner; there were too many great entries. So instead of just one winner, I am giving away all three of my Wagner Fat Fat Free Fryers. So instead of just one, there are THREE lucky winners of a Wagner Fat Free Fryer.

To all of you who entered, thanks so much for taking the time and making the effort. I loved reading your stories and appreciate your interest in cast iron and the Wagner Fat Free Fryer (I especially appreciated the photo from Grandpa of the bear pancake he made for his grandchild  – thank you!) My best to each and every one of you; Happy New Year!

Jessica P from Ohio, Carmen H from California, and Jon K from Ohio, you each have won a Wagner Fat Free Fryer from The Pan Handler. I will get your pans on their way to you tomorrow; I hope you love them!

The winning entries:

1. Jessica P wrote and said, in part:

“I would love to win this Fat Free Fryer. I am new to Cast Iron cooking. My late husband and I had a power outage in our town 2 years ago and we were using regular pots on the grill to cook for our children. So from then on we decided to become sort-of “preppers” to make sure it wasn’t so bad on our family the next time something like that happened. We had just purchased a cast iron roaster and tea kettle, then my husband passed away this October. I have had a few months to grieve and now with the new year coming I am trying to figure out how to do the things we had planned on together, by myself. Now that he is gone I am left with one less income and two children to care for. This is not meant to be a pitty plea, I was just explaining why I would love to win this piece. I have a limited income and where I live the places to buy things are Walmart and Target so a piece as wonderful as this would be very hard to find. In a effort to be more frugal my girls and I have been trying new recipes with less ingredients. A few that we had come across are for making your own crepes and tortilla shells. We are also trying to be healthier (they worry about losing me now) so this would be perfect for frying chicken strips or meat for fajitas. I love bacon so we could use it to make a crispier and healthier breakfast. I would absolutely put this to good use in my own home and send pictures of my girls and I using it. So if you pick me thank you and if not thanks anyway for giving me the opportunity and also for blessing someone else with your kindness.”

Jessica, I am happy to send you this pan and I hope that you and your girls use it in good health. I look forward to seeing your photos and to hearing about how you put the pan to use!

2. Carmen H wrote and said, in part:

“Recently I have been trying to cook healthier meals for my family, my husband, daughter and son. My husband is has put on over 40 lbs due to a back injury and is trying to lose weight to help alleviate back pain and avoid another back surgery. He has been exercising daily and trying to eat healthier.

We are also staying away from Teflon since I have come to believe that it is not very healthy to cook in. We had been using Teflon for years and ended up donating it to the Salvation Army with many of our other belongings when we lost our home the summer before last after my husband re-injured his back at work. I am a full-time college student. Amongst the things I kept and put in storage and the only pan I kept was a Lodge cast iron frying skillet. We then went to live with family and friends for the past one and a half years.

We were finally able to afford to move into a rental unit last month and I am now trying to build up a functional cast iron cooking collection. I am looking for pieces that will serve my family as I cook meals for years to come and will be something of quality that I can pass down to my daughter one day, and she to hers. Your Wagner fat free fryer would be a great addition/start. I am in nursing school and my husband is not working so our budget is extremely tight. I am unable to purchase such quality pieces. I found a used basic essentials griddle pan (with the ridges) for $4.00. It was badly rusted and very dirty, but all I could afford. I baked all the gunk off it, cleaned up the rust and reasoned it. It is like new and makes great grilled chicken and steak. My Lodge is my go to egg frying and pancake making pan and for things like ground turkey for tacos and most other meats and fish, I also bake cornbread in it.

If I am blessed with your fat free fryer I would use it for so many things as it seems very versatile. For example I would make pancakes, Johnny cakes, crepes and brown up tortillas since it has a flat surface. I would also fry fatty meats like steak, pork chops, bacon and sausage and watch as the fat drains to the moat leaving a much healthier leaner meal behind for my family.  Thank you for your consideration and have a very blessed new year!”

Carmen, your fryer will be on its way to you tomorrow. I hope you love it, and look forward to seeing your pics of the pan in action at your home!

3. Jon K from Ohio.  Jon, like me, restores and sells cast iron pieces. I have purchased some lovely pieces from him.

Jon had an awesome entry and a cool and creative idea. He wrote and said:

“1) I WILL use this pan for cooking for my own family.

2) I have plenty of cast iron in my area, but this is a Wagner piece I don’t have yet. I will use this for cooking for my own family, but WILL PAY IT FORWARD AND HOLD THE SAME CONTEST, GIVING AWAY ONE OF MY OWN PIECES OF CAST IRON!  I’m a Wagner collector, but will use the pan for everyday cooking… Especially hamburgers! I think the greaseless skillet is the original George Foreman grill!

(3) pictures and story… agreed!”

Jon, yours is a great idea, and I love it that you are going to use the pan with your family and also pay it forward by giving away one of your own pieces. Awesome, creative, and generous. Thanks for coming up with such a cool idea – I look forward to hearing about your own contest…and to hearing your stories and seeing the pics of the pan in action!


 I believe in paying it forward.

This holiday season I am so very thankful for those of you who have supported me since I started this business. Some of you are customers, some of you are friends, some of you are both. Some of you are cast iron collectors and / or enthusiasts who have graciously provided me with invaluable information and education about the vintage and antique cast iron cookware world. Some of you are people from whom I have acquired the raw product – collectors, pickers, auctioneers, antiquing friends, cast iron enthusiasts, and others.

In addition to all of my very valued customers, special thanks this year to Annamarie, who has been knitting and felting up a storm in addition to providing sage advice and helping me with maintenance of the site; Margo, who contributed knitting and felting talents; and Bonnie and Doug, who enthusiastically look for cast iron for me on all of their travels. And then of course there is Linda, who has spent so much time and helped me in so many different ways with the business.

To all of you – customers, friends, advisors and providers, I appreciate you. Thank you so very much.

I am offering, FREE, a beautiful Wagner Cast Iron Fat-Free Fryer, product number 1102. I will pay shipping to the lower 48 US States* or to our service members via AFO/FPO/DPO.

What’s the catch? There is no catch. I would like to give this beautiful pan to someone who really wants it and who will use it. Maybe you don’t have vintage cast iron available in your area; maybe you have a special use for it; maybe your budget doesn’t stretch to permit purchase of a quality vintage piece of cast iron cookware; maybe you just really would like this pan.


(1) You yourself will use the pan (or gift it for free – i.e. not resale);

(2) You enter the contest and tell me about how you plan to use the pan;

(3) You live in the lower 48 US States or are on active duty receiving mail via AFO/FPO/DPO (If not, you agree to pay any shipping costs over $15); and

(4) You agree to send me photos of the pan in use if you win it, and allow me to tell your story and post your photos on the website.

That’s it. Really.

How to enter:

1. Email me at mary@thepan-handler.com

2. Tell me your name and shipping address (see above geographical shipping limitations).

3. Tell me why you want this piece, and what you plan to do with it. Heartwarming is always good, as is creativity.

On New Year’s Day 2014 I’ll read all the emails, and pick the one I like best. I’ll post the name of the “winner” here (first name and initial, and state), along with the winning entry. I’ll then send it off at my expense. Once you get the piece, you’ll send me photos that you will permit me to put in this post of the pan in action.

About the pan:

The pan that I am offering is a vintage Wagner Ware cast iron “Fat Free Fryer.” It is more akin to a griddle than a skillet – the height of this piece is 1″. It is 11-1/8″ in diameter. It has a “moat” around the inner cooking surface in which fat collects; hence the name “Fat Free Fryer.” Some would call this pan a skillet griddle.

The pan is marked on the bottom with the Wagner Ware stylized logo, FAT FREE FRYER, and the p/n, 1102. It has the letter B after the p/n. There is also a B on the underside of the handle. The handle has a thumb rest. The pan sits flat.

There are still milling marks on the cooking surface of this piece, which makes me think that this lovely pan has had little if any use. There is some light roughness on the surface in areas; this will even out with use and additional seasoning. I took some photos of the pan so that you can take a look.























































































I carefully cleaned this piece to bare iron. After cleaning, I heat-seasoned it (my methods are detailed HERE) with one coat of Crisco vegetable shortening. This skillet griddle is ready for your use and display.

Again, thank you to all of you. I appreciate your support very much.

*I will likely ship this pan via FedEx or UPS. If you live outside of the lower 48 states, I will pay $15 toward the shipping cost; you pay the remainder. I will PayPal you for the cost.

the pan handler cast iron pans playboy magazine antique vintage cast iron cookware skillets kitchenware cooking steaks cast iron

We are at #50. Photo by the talented Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb Photography. Reprinted with permission.





“Hey Mom, I’m in Playboy!” Five words I never imagined I would ever say.

Not only am I in Playboy, Playboy paid me for a photo!

Okay, it’s not me; it’s The Pan Handler. A photo of one of our Griswold large logo #10 skillets, along with the url for this site, is featured in Playboy’s 60th Anniversary Issue, January – February 2014. The pan is one of Playboy’s “Best Practices: 60 Things Ideas & Actions Every Man Should Own Know & Do From The Essential to the Chivalrous To The Completely Frivolous.” The 60th Anniversary issue came out on mobile December 3, and will be on newsstands on December 6.

Playboy contacted me about a month ago seeking permission to use the photo, which they found on this site. When I was first contacted I thought it must be a joke; some kind of spam. I was pretty quickly convinced that Playboy was serious, though, when I had a phone conversation with a Playboy photo researcher. During our conversation, the researcher actually referenced “Hef” a few times. I was star struck, of course, and quickly agreed to their request to use the photo. They offered to pay me for the photo. Immediately after hanging up the phone I called my darling Mother and screamed, “Mom! I’m going to be in Playboy!” I did the same to my friends and family. It has been fun seeing / hearing the reactions and anticipating the article.

The pan is number 50 of Playboy’s 60 Best Practices. Here is the part of the article that features the pan (forgive the blur – I expect I’ll be getting a better .jpg soon):


The pan was photographed by the talented Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb Photography (thanks, Sarah!)















(You’d have to be darn lucky to snag a #10 large logo Griswold EPU skillet with no wobble that was painstakingly cleaned and seasoned and in excellent condition with an immaculate cooking surface  for $20, but hey, no need for me to quibble.)

The same day that Playboy’s mobile issue went live, the pan in the photo – the one I had listed as the “Sexy Playboy Pan” – sold. After all, everyone – not just Playboy men – needs a good vintage cast iron pan!



Happy December, all. And thank you very much to Playboy for featuring our pan in your article; we are thrilled to be part of Playboy’s 60 Best Practices!