I learned this the hard way with non-stick pans: they're a rip off. Every year or two I would have to throw away my non-stick pans and buy new ones. They can't get too hot because it'll melt the coating, you have to use soft plastic utensils or else it'll scratch the coating, and Teflon in particular is terrible for the environment.
At one point I thought it was just because I was buying cheap Teflon pans, but even after spending $150+ on a all-clad non-stick pan, which died after a year or so of heavy use, I realized this was not the way.
Then I bought two cast iron skillets (10in, 12in). What can I say other than it's a game changer and I'm never going back to non-stick. We haven't owned a non-stick pan in 2+ years.
Here are some features:
- I can scrape it -- hard -- with metal utensils
- They are easy to clean (with one of these)
- They will outlive us
- Once seasoned they can cook delicate items like eggs and fish
Being able to use metal utensils on a skillet is so nice. I can really scrape food off the pan without worrying about chipping the paint.
The litmus test for skillets is: can I make an egg over-easy with it? Now that my cast iron skillet is properly seasoned, cooking eggs, fish, anything delicate is painless. We've been told a lie our entire lives and I'm here to set the record straight. Cast iron is the way.
It's wild to me that I never had a cast iron skillet growing up. I blame my parents for not realizing how perfect cast iron is for the home cook.
Here's a list of myths about cast iron skillets:
- You can't use dish soap on them because it'll destroy the seasoning
- You can't cook with acidic foods (e.g. tomatoes) because it'll destroy the seasoning
- Seasoning a pan is just wiping the pan with oil
These are all demonstrably false. Once a pan is seasoned, there's not much you can do to mess up the seasoning -- in my experience. Furthermore, seasoning a pan essentially is a polymerization process that bakes the oil into the pan. So all you have to do is cook oil with it at high enough temperatures to cause that reaction.
Here is the one I bought on Amazon
For $30 you can have a pan that will never go bad, you can scratch it with metal utensils, and it will outlive you.