How cast iron went from gun to pan

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Cast iron Dutch ovens, pots and pans are some of the most popular cookware in many modern kitchens. But how did they achieve such levels of worship and status?

On the first episode of Eater’s new series how we eat, we sit down with Dr. Leni Sorensen, food historian and cast iron lover, who tells us about the history and journey of the material. “My feeling about the first use of cast iron is that it came from China,” she says, then explains how the first Chinese invention of the blast furnace was used to create stronger versions of cast iron. The earliest evidence of this smelting iron dates back to 800 BCE in the Zhou Dynasty. The smelting process made it stronger and cheaper than bronze and copper, and made it one of the most important materials in China for the next 1000 years, where it was mainly used to forge weapons and tools for farming and farming. In sub-Saharan Africa, notes Sorensen, “there is an iron industry among the Bantu – again for armaments. So there are a number of different groups that want this technology. But in the beginning, the majority of its uses did not involve cooking.

So, who discovered that this property would be ideal for cooking and reheating food? And when did it become more widely affordable for the common household? Find out how the material went from sword to pan in the full episode.

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