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Cooking with cast iron should not be feared

Even the most technology-obsessed cooks, those with remote-read Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometers, electric wine bottle openers and Youtube recipe swaps still can get back to the low-tech basics like a cast-iron skillet.

Cast-iron cookware is making a comeback among cooks who prize its durability, easy cleanup and heat retention.

Cast-iron cookware fell out of favor after World War II when a surplus of aluminum made its way into lighter-weight pots and pans.

Before long, a cast-iron skillet was seen as a sign of old-fashioned stubbornness, wielded primarily by disgruntled housewives in endless comedies.

Apart from its dubious distinction as a would-be weapon, cast iron is versatile, transferring from stovetop to oven with the same reliable, even heating.

Once cast iron's porous finish is treated with oil, a process called seasoning, food does not stick to cast iron, making it, according to cookbook author Tracy Barr, “the original nonstick cookware.”

The seasoning process used to scare off some cooks from buying cast-iron cookware.

To season cast iron and make it smooth, several bouts of heating and piling were required.

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