Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook: A Treasury of Timeless, Delicious Recipes
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I have been using cast iron cookware for several years, but this is my first cookbook devoted solely to it. For this review, I'll avoid talking about the advantages of cast iron since those are well discussed on the product pages for cast iron cookware.

CONTENT - The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook is paperback, but it has a thick strong cover and binding with a nice matte surface that I think will hold up well in the kitchen after many years. I get my cookbooks pretty dirty, but I think grease should wipe off pretty easily from it. The book is about 80% cast iron recipes, with a lot of short stories from employees and cast iron enthusiasts talking about their love for cast iron or sharing a special memory from cooking with it. There are also a lot of cooking tips scattered throughout that will help ensure your recipes are a success. A few of the stories are mildly interesting, but most I could do without and seem like testimonials that I could just read on the Lodge web site. A lot of things like "I can remember inheriting my grandma Sally's 40-year old cast iron pan and I make her famous peach cobbler in it every year..." But a lot of people who use cast iron develop a somewhat emotional attachment to it, so stories like this can be a nice touch and don't seem to take away from the actual recipes. Most of them are printed in the margins, which is where a lot of cookbooks usually just leave wasted empty space. The book contains a total of 191 recipes plus a dozen or so recipes for sauces, etc. There are 92 color pictures, which I feel is a good ratio to the number of recipes. Maybe a couple dozen of the recipes are reprinted from other cookbooks. Two of the recipes are reprinted from Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love. Some of the recipes are reprinted from A Skillet Full of Traditional Southern Lodge Cast Iron Recipes & Memories. Four recipes are reprinted from Griswold and Wagner Cast Iron Cookbook: Delicious and Simple Comfort Food. This book has a strong focus on outdoor cooking (almost a fourth of the book). They give tips and details on cooking over a campfire and bean hole cooking (digging a hole in the ground and cooking your food in a pot surrounded by hot coals). I like that they have a table for specifying the number of coals you should have when using a bean hole to ensure the proper cooking temperature. It can be easy to just dump a huge pile of coals on top of your oven and overcook your food, which I have done many times with peach cobbler.

Table of Contents:

Pg. 7. Welcome to the Family's Table - H. Lee Riddle discussing his great great grandfather Joseph Lodge
9. Lodge Cast Iron: A Song for a Cook's Soul - 3 page history of the Lodge company and their values.
17. National Cornbread Festival - 1 page summary of the festival held in Tennessee.
18. Breakfast (16 recipes)
38. Soup, Stew, Gumbo & Chili (23 recipes)
72. The Main Course (55 recipes)
152. Cooking Outdoors (29 total recipes)
Gas Grill (14 recipes)
Open Fire (12 recipes)
Bean Hole (3 recipes)
192. Sides (20 recipes)
220. Nothing' But Cornbread (27 recipes)
252. Desserts, Biscuits & Bread (21 recipes)
284. Caring for Cast Iron
285. Metric Conversion Chart
286. Index

RECIPES - I have tried around fifteen of the recipes so far, including several of the Cooking Outdoors recipes, which the book contains a lot of. Overall, the recipes are very easy to follow and work well. They are not too complex and I feel that most of them are for cooks at a beginner to intermediate level. The recipes don't contain a lot of exotic ingredients that you'll have to go to several different stores to find, which is a plus. For the most part, they are all very traditional, southern recipes that I feel will have a lot of mass appeal.

CONS - The main problem with this book, is that it seems like Lodge decided they wanted to make some money on a cookbook, and/or promote their products, so they just gathered a bunch of the best cast iron recipes they could find and threw them together with little effort for cohesion. I don't have a problem with the cookbook not being entirely original, but I do have a problem in that in order to make all of the recipes by following the instructions, you are going to need to buy about 40 different pieces of cast iron cookware. Lodge's main sellers are their 12" and 8" Skillet. They should have looked at all the recipes, and modified them so that they use a few of the most prominent pieces of cookware. However since the recipes come from different books, they all call for different pan sizes. There is no reason to have 10 recipes using a 10" cast iron pan, and 10 recipes using a 10.5" pan. Realistically, it will make little to no difference if you are using a 10" or 10.5" pan, but you will see that this problem becomes even more prominent as you look at all of the recipes. Several recipes call for a 7 quart dutch oven, and several just call for a "large dutch oven." So what is a "large" dutch oven? If I was the editor, I would have modified all of the recipes to say "10" or 10.5" skillet," or included a page about different sizes. Unless you are a complete beginner, you can figure out which pieces of cookware will work as a substitute, but I just think it would have been nice to spend a little time (literally a few hours) and modify the recipes so they all flow together well. Since they didn't, I will try to below.

The following is a listing of all of the different pieces of cookware mentioned in the book, followed by the number of recipes that use them. When a recipe specified that you could use one or the other type of pan, I attributed it to the most common. If a recipe calls for a generic type of cookware, I have added my own recommendation in parenthesis beside it.

5" Skillet (2)
6.5" Skillet (1)
"Medium" Skillet (2) (this is the same as a 10" or 10.5" skillet)
9" Skillet (4)
10" Skillet (27)
10.5" Skillet (10)
12" Skillet (or "large" skillet) (44)
14"-16" Skillet (1)
17" Skillet (1)
Lodge Wonder Skillet (1) (this is a square skillet with raised sides)
Lodge 10.5" Square Skillet (2) (you can use the Wonder skillet for this)
7 cup Skillet (2)
9" Lodge Wedge Pan (1)
Corn Finger Mold (1)
Lodge Drop Biscuit Pan (5)
Dutch Oven (1)
3 Quart Dutch Oven (2)
4 Quart Dutch Oven (2)
5 Quart Dutch Oven (9)
6 Quart Dutch Oven (3)
7 Quart Dutch Oven (26) (a 6.5" dutch oven is fine for all of these recipes)
9 Quart Dutch Oven (1)
10" Dutch Oven (2) (this is a 4 quart dutch oven)
12" Dutch Oven (3) (this is a 7 quart dutch oven)
10.5" Griddle (1)
12" Griddle (2) (either size griddle is okay to use)
Griddle or Skillet (1)
Wok (2)
Aebleskiver (1)
Muffin Pan (4)
10" Grill Pan (1)
Large Grill Pan (4)
Medium Dutch Oven (3)
Lodge Grill Pan & Panini Press (1)
Lodge Pizza Pan (1)
Lodge Sportsman's Grill (3)
5" Camp Dutch Oven (1)
12" Camp Dutch Oven (8) (for the cake recipe you will need two of these)
14" Camp Dutch Oven (2)

As you can see, they really need some consistency in this book. You don't have to have all of that cookware, but you will need to know what to substitute. For the cornbread recipes, it's important that you use the specified size, otherwise your cornbread will be too thin. I would say to make the majority of the recipes in the book, you should have a 10.5" or Lodge Logic 10-Inch Chef's Skillet, a Lodge Logic L10SK3 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet (if you can only get one, go for the 12"), Lodge Logic L8DOL3 Pre-Seasoned 5-Quart Dutch Oven with Loop Handles (the 5 quart), and Lodge Logic 8-Quart Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Camp Dutch Oven (if you want to do any of the outdoor cooking). This will give you enough flexibility to handle most of the recipes. Overall, while I think the recipes in the book are fairly solid, it could have used better editing. If you like making cornbread or cooking outdoors with cast iron, this is the book to get.

Update March 6, 2012 - I've had a chance now to compare this book with the other popular cast iron option - The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen. Although I prefer the organization and recipes in that book, I would probably recommend Lodge's over it due to the pictures and the thorough cornbread section.
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on March 25, 2012
I'm surprised to see how little other reviewers like this book. I am often the odd-reviewer out. And I'm still sticking with the review I wrote; I enjoyed the book, we've had great eats from the recipes, and the "chatty" parts made me smile. I recently saw a book that was a serious waste of of a cook's time, and a FalconGuide that maybe interesting to those who are looking for an option outside this book. Here's the rest of the review:

Cast Iron cookery is trendy once again. Perhaps the changes of income and economy remind us that value is often reflected in length of use rather than throw-away products. Cast iron is perhaps the hallmark of this value and Lodge Logic is the rock star of cast iron. Most people know it--if you have any you probably love it! The many applications and ways you can use any piece from Lodge Logic is truly astounding.

The arrival of this cookbook is welcome and exciting. A variety of other cookbooks have come on the market at the same time. Don't despair! As trustworthy as their equipment, the Lodge Logic brand on this book does not disappoint.

My first spin through the book revealed more recipes of interest than I could possible make for one review--I always make at least three but time limits to me to usually no more than five. My first list included well over 20 selections. Other valuable qualities also showed up during the initial handling of the book.

Those of you who read my reviews on a regular basis know how much I dislike cookbooks that are hard to keep open. Novel-style binding is normal in the current market. This book offers a pleasant surprise. The cover is thicker than the usual sleek, thin format. In addition, the binding is pre-creased to make it easier to stay open. As a result once I popped the book into my holder that also covers the book from splatters I didn't have to touch again. A huge relief for any dishes requiring messy hands.

The pages are also heavier than many books on the market right now. Although you may look at the price and consider it a bit pricey, the publishing values are designed to hold up for longer than any of the competition. Even better, I easily predict a number of these recipes will become standards in your house. Best of all, you can reproduce most of them indoors or out thanks to versatile cast iron.

All of the recipes tested met with positive feedback. Although the Simple Berry Skillet Cobbler really won the taste testers over and introduced interesting ways to use a skillet, there was one recipe no one could resist. In fact, it even got an embarrassing nickname. Polish Pork and Cabbage Stew is one of those rare recipes that is easy, manageable, with to-die-for results. Yes, it has a few steps but none of them are hard at all and well worth the process.

Visit your local health food store or upscale market for the small amount of juniper berries needed. I was literally able to buy just the 12 needed so the cost wasn't an issue.
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on November 30, 2012
I love cast iron cookware in all forms, am a charter member of a Dutch oven cooking club, and a Dutch oven cookoff competitor. At last count, I own seven cast iron camp ovens, three Dutch ovens, a stack of skillets, a square cornbread pan and a two griddles. My antique cast iron includes several Griswold skillets, a deep gumbo pot and a fish cooker.

I believe a camp oven (the style with three legs, and a lid designed for holding coals) is a must-have in any preparedness or survival kit. Further, I contend that simple, tasty recipes that can be cooked outdoors are survival tools.

With that background, I would have to classify the latest slick stock, full-color cookbook from Lodge as cast iron porn. It's like free heroin to an addict, or a "Drinks on the house!" to an alcoholic. As soon as I got a copy, I sat down and read it cover-to-cover.

Lodge, FYI, is the only cast iron cookware manufacturer in the United States. Founded by Joseph Lodge in 1896 in South Pittsburg, TN, the company continues to manufacture a full gamete of cast implements.

Lodge quality is a given. While I own other brands of cast iron, most of my camp ovens are Lodge. I rely on the Lodge even heating, overall quality and consistent cooking times in competitions as well as family reunions.

The cookbook is divided into several useful sections, which include breakfast; soup, stew, gumbo and chili; the main course; desserts, breads and biscuits and caring for cast iron.

The recipes come from all over and the ones I've tried are fantastic. The book is also a good read. If you're like me, you love reading the stories behind the recipes, and the ways they may have originated. And any good cast iron cook will look at the book and immediately start thinking about how they can tweak or improve certain food selections.

There is also a heating chart that suggests the number of coals for different-sized camp ovens to obtain certain cooking temperatures. A section on taking care of your cast iron is also invaluable.

I give this cookbook two thumbs and five stars. There is something in it for the beginner or the experienced Dutch oven cook.
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on February 8, 2012
I am a farmer and love to cook with real food. Whole food that I can grow or buy from my local farmers. Finding a collection of recipes like this book contains is like finding your great grandmothers secret recipes in a box. So simple yet so sought after. This book is full of colorful photographs, and starts off with an introduction about the family owned foundry. The tidbits and cast iron memories make you feel like you just got your hands on a cherished handed down recipe. I cook with cast iron daily and getting a book full of new recipes has been a delight. A nice surprise was that it was printed right here in the USA!!!! That is rare....almost all of the books I have recently purchased have been printed in China. Pair this cookbook with a Logic skillet or dutch oven and you have a wonderful gift that will last a lifetime.
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on February 10, 2012
I am so delighted at the quality of this cookbook. There are no "strange" ingredients that you are going to be hunting all over town for... just plenty of good stuff to serve my family. The photography is beautiful and inspiring, and the recipes are well written and easy to follow.

As always, you get the best quality when you buy Lodge!
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Not my usual genre, eh? But I love cast iron, and have a whole collection of it, quite a bit of it from Lodge , who in my humble opinion makes the best cast iron currently . OK, I have some older stuff which is wonderful, and not made by Lodge, and if you can find some decent cast iron at a yard sale, grab it! But if you are going to buy cast iron new- Lodge is the company. Quality stuff which comes pre-seasoned.

Now sure, Lodges "pre-seasoning" isn't as great as some of the cast iron I own, passed down in the family with a half-century of seasoning. But it's a darn good start.

To keep your cast iron seasoned- never, ever wash with detergent or in the dishwasher. Rinse (or even soak) with very hot water, sometimes even boiling water if needed. Dry on a stove burner, on high, watching like a hawk. When it is dry, put a tad of bacon grease or oil on there. Then take it off the heat a minute later, before the oil starts to smoke. Be aware, the handle is cast iron too, so it gets hot. Careful!

This cookbook has over 200 mouthwatering recipes "collected from notable chefs and authors, including Rose Levy Beranbaum, John Currence, Julia Reed, and Allison Fishman". Heavy into "comfort food" of course.

Have I tried them all? No, but I have used and gotten raves about Lodges "Camp Dutch Oven Cooking". My Dutch Oven Camp Roast is a real group favorite.

Get your hands on some good cast iron, treat it right, and then treat your family to some of these family favorites.
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on April 4, 2012
I started out just using my cast iron skillet for eggs and basic skillet uses but after finding this cookbook I have opened myself and my family up to an abundance of easy and delicious new recipes! I highly recommend this cookbook and a cast iron skillet if you don't already have one!
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on March 11, 2012
Great product! Opened the box, washed the Dutch Oven and started immediately a great stove top stew on the wood burning stove. We thoroughly enjoy this type of "Old Iron" cooking. So far we have done about 6 stove-top recipes and each one came out wonderful!
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on July 5, 2013
I love to cook and I'm one of those guys who believes in getting the right tool for every cooking job. So, when I got a 12" Lodge skillet I figured that their cookbook would be the best source of recipes to use it. The recipes in this book are easy to follow and delicious. But it turns out that most of the recipes are specifically written for cookware that I don't own. Since I don't have a cast iron Dutch oven (yet), I can only read about those treats. Even the skillet recipes are written with a specific sized skillet in mind. It would have been better to give the quantities for either a ten or twelve inch skillet, rather than leaving it to the readers to guesstimate our own conversions. Or, write a cast iron skillet cookbook and a separate cast iron Dutch oven book so that owners of each piece of cookware could derive the full benefit of their investment.
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on March 23, 2013
Watch the Youtube Video Promo. Go to youtube.com and search for "The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook Promo"

Any cook knows, any given recipe is made to alter to the cooks likes and dislikes and by using the cookware they have with a few added exceptions. You can use a Dutch Oven for skillet recipes but you can't boil spaghetti in a shallow skillet...it's all about common sense.

It is my opinion that this book is the best cast iron book on the market! Lodge sells cast iron cookware and this book tells the story behind their products along with out standing recipes from different chefs and competition winners. Lodge is a southern company with a lot of southern comfort food recipes. You can tell that the author is speaking with heart and devotion. I enjoyed both recipes and the stories so much, that I want to take a trip to meet H. Lee Riddle and shake his hand and say "Thank You!" I have purchased several Dutch Oven and cast iron cookbooks. There are a few good ones out there but, this book is by far the best! The book is thicker, taller, and wider than any of the cookbooks I purchased. The photo's are in color and the pages are thick semi-gloss sheets. I worked in a commercial printing company and I can tell they used good quality material to make the book. The book's contents are well designed and informative. You can tell a lot of people and a lot of time and a lot of heart went into creating this book. I'm a new fan of Lodge especially, knowing that their product are 100% American made! I ordered a Dutch oven table from camp chef and it had a sticker that said "Made In China", I was very disappointed. I'm sticking to Lodge even though the price is higher than most, but the quality is unbeatable! I give my heart felt gratitude to all those who contributed to this book! "THANK YOU!!!!"
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