Cast iron pans....what to get.

24

Comments

  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 29,488
    Seems like this thread is a good excuse to ask -- can cast iron cookware be used with an induction cooktop?

    Just curious.
  • tonyp063
    tonyp063 Posts: 930
    edited June 2019
    it works fantastically on induction.

    edit:
    One reason is that an induction stove mitigates the fact that CI is fairly poor when it comes to thermal conductivity* by how it heats the pan.
    Less hot spots.



    *
    Thermal emissivity & volumetric heat capacity are entirely different stories. CI is about as good as it gets there.
  • aprazer402
    aprazer402 Posts: 2,571
    gmcman wrote: »

    I believe I have the exact range you do and was also curious about the possible damage to the cooktop. I figure it would scratch the surface so had plans to use them on the grill if needed.

    We need to replace ours soon anyway as it's been acting up more than we like,.mainly then oven and the temp control

    I have no problem using the iron pans on the grill if it comes to that, but we may go back to regular calrod cooking surfaces as the heat retention on these smooth cooktops makes it more difficult to regulate the temps.

    I appreciate all the input on the pans, I will try to source some of the earlier Griswolds. Might pick up a Lodge for the time being.
    trfc7xdyxxru.jpg

    This is my range, many ranges had the same cooktop. It's about 18 years old now. Never had any problems with it. Whirlpool's IMO are usually decent for average consumer appliances, superior to any G.E. (junk, from my observation and talking with others ). I think I could safely use CI on it but no sliding, just up and down lifting. I have several other type pans; SS, Clad, non-stick, to even risk it.
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 15,166
    edited June 2019
    delkal wrote: »
    One other thing about cast iron pans. After it is seasoned you should NEVER put any soap on it. Soap instantly kills the naturally non stick seasoning. Not one drop or even that soapy sponge that is hanging in your sink.

    To clean just soak in hot water for a few min and wipe with a clean dishrag or paper towel. Let it dry on a rack. You might have a problem convincing your wife/girlfriend/kids about this rule. But one they hear me spouting off and going ballistic when it happens it should only happen once!

    And when you season it put the smallest amount of oil on it, let it sit, THEN WIPE IT ALL OFF. Thick coats get sticky. Then bake at 300 for about an hour and repeat a few times. Occasionally give a seasoned pan a lite coat of oil then wipe it all off. But you shouldn't have to bake it (unless it saw that drop of soap).

    Sorry bub but this is pure hogwash. I know, I know, folks debate it all day long and twice on Tuesday. There will never be a winner but this information is misleading/outdated.

    I have used no soap on my CI for close to 3 decades. About 3 or 4 years ago, I started using soap on all of my CI pans. Not one damned bit of difference. Not one. So long as you have a patina that is good and not too thin? Today's soaps will not harm them one bit. Now move back 100 years when Lye was actually in the soap? Yeah, different story and this is where this myth came from. Today's soaps only use Lye in the making of the soap and then there is a chemical change. At that point, it is no longer Lye.

    I never soak my pans either. There is no need. You don't even need a metal chain or Scocth Brite to clean off hard, stubborn stains....which WILL happen from time to time, no matter how good your patina....unless all you cook is pancakes (for example) in your CI cookware.

    All one needs to do is put it back on the stove top or grill and heat a little bit of water up close to the point of boiling. Take a metal spatula and a green non-scratch pad and using the spatula, slide it around until the pan has released all of the stubborn stuff. Usually 2 minutes from back on the stove to clean. Oil and wipe, then you are good to go.

    @aprazer402, I have that pan, only mine is one of the hammered ones. It's over 70 years old now....and soap was used on it every day FWIW. It's more non-stick than my non-stick pans and smoother than a baby's posterior.

    Tom

    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~

    ~ I have found excellence ~

    ~ The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction ~

  • codycatalist
    codycatalist Posts: 2,663
    edited June 2019
    For what it's worth I have used soap on my Lodge for the last few years and not had an issue as long as I rinse, wipe with oil, get it hot then let it rest.

    I know bacteria cooks off but I am a stickler for food based germs and avoiding those illnesses.
    Just a dude doing dude-ly things

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  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 7,434
    For what it's worth I have used soap on my Lodge for the last few years and not had an issue as long as I rinse, wipe with oil, get it hot then let it rest.

    I know bacteria cooks off but I am a stickler for food based germs and avoiding those illnesses.

    Do you also wash ur grill with soap🤣
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  • codycatalist
    codycatalist Posts: 2,663
    edited June 2019
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    For what it's worth I have used soap on my Lodge for the last few years and not had an issue as long as I rinse, wipe with oil, get it hot then let it rest.

    I know bacteria cooks off but I am a stickler for food based germs and avoiding those illnesses.

    Do you also wash ur grill with soap🤣

    Something about direct fire that makes me feel at ease. I had a BAD experience a couple of years ago and almost died from dehydration in 5 hours. That's how much liquid I was losing out of both the front and the back if ya catch my drift.

    I just don't risk it anymore.


    Also yes, dawn once every couple months to get rid of the grease. I have a small grill that loves to catch fire easily. =D
    Just a dude doing dude-ly things

    "Temptation is the manifestation of desire which equals necessity." - Mikey081057
    " I have always had a champange taste with a beer budget" - Rick88
    "Just because the thread is getting views don't mean much .. I like a good train wreck doesn't mean i want to be in one..." - pitdogg2
    "Those that don't know, don't know that they don't know." - heiney9
    "Audiophiles are the male equivalent of cat ladies." - Audiokarma Member
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 7,434
    I understand how one really bad experience can make a person act irrationally. There is a local fried chicken place in town that everyone loves. My with threw up after eating it many years ago. Was most likely just a bug since I didn’t get sick. But I don’t k own if she’s eaten that chicken again 😬.

    As for the pan and grill, of course It’s the heat, not the fire, that kills active bacteria.
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  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 20,704
    edited June 2019
    Yep i too have washed CI with soap and re-seasoned promptly.

    A few germs will season your gut, I'm not advocating you eat up a little E. Coli or salmonella but being too clean is also bad. It's one of the reasons why so many young children have allergy problems. Modern parents do not let them get down and dirty.
  • afterburnt
    afterburnt Posts: 7,892
    edited June 2019
    gmcman wrote: »
    aprazer402 wrote: »
    I'm a Griswold man myself. I do have some "Clark W." tendencies unfortunately. :) Smoothest cast iron ever made. Great lid for basting too. Good resale market on these puppies (hooter's, did I say hooter's?) :) Will only use on a gas burner outside rather than scratch my cook top. Doesn't see much use these days.

    qs8ohs88dncw.jpg
    edj3rxo55uws.jpg
    jzkurr0ud6y8.jpg

    I believe I have the exact range you do and was also curious about the possible damage to the cooktop. I figure it would scratch the surface so had plans to use them on the grill if needed.

    We need to replace ours soon anyway as it's been acting up more than we like,.mainly then oven and the temp control

    I have no problem using the iron pans on the grill if it comes to that, but we may go back to regular calrod cooking surfaces as the heat retention on these smooth cooktops makes it more difficult to regulate the temps.

    I appreciate all the input on the pans, I will try to source some of the earlier Griswolds. Might pick up a Lodge for the time being.

    You will need to put some time in with the Lodge. Mine said that they were preseasoned, but that was like a preseason deer. I baked mine with peanut oil about 5 times to get em right. Besides the stainless spatula one of those steel razor wire Brillo type thingies to scrub the crud off helps to smooth em out too. I like mine just fine now, very nonstick but I still wish that I had my Grandma's which I think was her Grandma's so it was like from Roman Empire days.
  • afterburnt
    afterburnt Posts: 7,892
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    For what it's worth I have used soap on my Lodge for the last few years and not had an issue as long as I rinse, wipe with oil, get it hot then let it rest.

    I know bacteria cooks off but I am a stickler for food based germs and avoiding those illnesses.

    Do you also wash ur grill with soap🤣

    Something about direct fire that makes me feel at ease. I had a BAD experience a couple of years ago and almost died from dehydration in 5 hours. That's how much liquid I was losing out of both the front and the back if ya catch my drift.

    I just don't risk it anymore.


    Also yes, dawn once every couple months to get rid of the grease. I have a small grill that loves to catch fire easily. =D

    Cody as a PSA you should tell everyone what you ate that tried to kill you.
  • delkal
    delkal Posts: 764
    treitz3 wrote: »
    delkal wrote: »
    One other thing about cast iron pans. After it is seasoned you should NEVER put any soap on it. Soap instantly kills the naturally non stick seasoning. Not one drop or even that soapy sponge that is hanging in your sink.

    To clean just soak in hot water for a few min and wipe with a clean dishrag or paper towel. Let it dry on a rack. You might have a problem convincing your wife/girlfriend/kids about this rule. But one they hear me spouting off and going ballistic when it happens it should only happen once!

    And when you season it put the smallest amount of oil on it, let it sit, THEN WIPE IT ALL OFF. Thick coats get sticky. Then bake at 300 for about an hour and repeat a few times. Occasionally give a seasoned pan a lite coat of oil then wipe it all off. But you shouldn't have to bake it (unless it saw that drop of soap).

    Sorry bub but this is pure hogwash. I know, I know, folks debate it all day long and twice on Tuesday. There will never be a winner but this information is misleading/outdated.

    I have used no soap on my CI for close to 3 decades. About 3 or 4 years ago, I started using soap on all of my CI pans. Not one damned bit of difference. Not one. So long as you have a patina that is good and not too thin? Today's soaps will not harm them one bit. Now move back 100 years when Lye was actually in the soap? Yeah, different story and this is where this myth came from. Today's soaps only use Lye in the making of the soap and then there is a chemical change. At that point, it is no longer Lye.

    I never soak my pans either. There is no need. You don't even need a metal chain or Scocth Brite to clean off hard, stubborn stains....which WILL happen from time to time, no matter how good your patina....unless all you cook is pancakes (for example) in your CI cookware.

    All one needs to do is put it back on the stove top or grill and heat a little bit of water up close to the point of boiling. Take a metal spatula and a green non-scratch pad and using the spatula, slide it around until the pan has released all of the stubborn stuff. Usually 2 minutes from back on the stove to clean. Oil and wipe, then you are good to go.

    @aprazer402, I have that pan, only mine is one of the hammered ones. It's over 70 years old now....and soap was used on it every day FWIW. It's more non-stick than my non-stick pans and smoother than a baby's posterior.

    Tom

    The problem with using soap on an oil seasoned surface is how soaps work. Every soap molecule is basically a long oily chain on one end and a acid salt on the other that is water soluble. When you normally use soap millions of soap molecules stick to a drop of oil with the water soluble acids sticking outside. Then water sticks to the acids and it is washed away. Search for a picture of a "Micelle" it makes it clearer.

    With seasoned cast iron the oil is baked on and polymerized. The soap will still stick all over it but it can not be washed away. You are left with the soap in your pan with a surface that likes to stick to water. Food proteins like water too so guess what they stick too. If you think your soapy pans don't stick it is probably because you use a lot of oil. Scrub one down and reseason it. It should work better.

    You will notice when you are done cleaning a well seasoned pan water will bead up on it. Pans that see soap will stay uniformly wet. This is an easy test for when your pans seasoning needs a little refreshing.
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 15,166
    edited June 2019
    Just tested. Beaded right up just like fresh Rain-Ex on a clean windshield. Both inside and outside of the pans. All of them....just because I was curious.

    I also use very little oil when cooking, as it isn't needed at all. My omelets slide right out of the pan without breaking. One, right after the other using less than a half a pat of Kerry butter with each omelet. More for the taste, not for non-stick capabilities.

    Like I said, if the pan is properly seasoned, there is not one bit of difference in using or not using soap. I use Dawn and not much is needed. Just a quick squirt, quick clean, wipe dry, apply 3 to 5 drops of oil depending on the size of the pan, wipe the inside until everything is covered and all excess gone.....the pan is good to go. Onto the rack it goes to await the next meal.

    Personally, I don't care, truth be told. I have seen it done both ways and have a collective 200 plus years experience with and without using soap in my family. We will simply have to agree to disagree. In my personal experience of nearly daily cooking with CI for close to 35 years, there is not one bit of difference.

    The fact of life is that some people swear soap ruins a pan. Other's use soap. It does not matter to me what everyone else does. I just so happen to think that soap is an added step toward cleanliness, even though truthfully it isn't needed as evidenced by me cooking for close to 3 decades without soap.

    Tomato - Tomahto type thing. To each there own.

    FWIW, my first Lodge pan, I purchased new when I was young. I have never stripped it, never seasoned it. Just started cooking on it and the patina is awesome. It's just now starting to get the carbon buildup on the outside.

    My Great Grandmother's Griswold pan had so much buildup when I inherited it from Nana that it would not sit flat on my flat top stove. So, I stripped it and stripped it, and stripped it and....well, you get the picture. I didn't have an E-tank, nor did I want to build one, so I cleaned it the old fashioned way, using Lye. Took me about a week, as it was a hammered and the buildup was so thick that I didn't even know it was a hammered piece until I restored it.

    I did this about a year ago after only using it on the grill. It is now at the point to where I can cook an egg, any way you want without using any additional oil at all....just the few drops of oil I use to wipe the inside it after cleaning the pan.

    Tom

    Post edited by treitz3 on
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~

    ~ I have found excellence ~

    ~ The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction ~

  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 15,166
    edited June 2019
    5q2geqfjqwlv.png

    There is proof in the pudding. This is an extreme close up of my Griswold pan that has only had one year of cooking in it after reseasoning. I spritzed water on it and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Here is the photo I just took. As soon as I turned it over to its side, 95% of the water beads, slid right off.

    Let me repeat, this is the underside of the pan, not the cooking surface. This is also a CI pan with only one year of cooking and patina buildup, using soap daily. Photo was taken about 2" away from the bottom of the pan.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~

    ~ I have found excellence ~

    ~ The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction ~

  • codycatalist
    codycatalist Posts: 2,663
    afterburnt wrote: »
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    For what it's worth I have used soap on my Lodge for the last few years and not had an issue as long as I rinse, wipe with oil, get it hot then let it rest.

    I know bacteria cooks off but I am a stickler for food based germs and avoiding those illnesses.

    Do you also wash ur grill with soap🤣

    Something about direct fire that makes me feel at ease. I had a BAD experience a couple of years ago and almost died from dehydration in 5 hours. That's how much liquid I was losing out of both the front and the back if ya catch my drift.

    I just don't risk it anymore.


    Also yes, dawn once every couple months to get rid of the grease. I have a small grill that loves to catch fire easily. =D

    Cody as a PSA you should tell everyone what you ate that tried to kill you.

    LOL! Ground turkey tacos that I wasn't told were sitting out for 2 hours then put back in the fridge. Got home from work, made a quick bite of dinner, dropped my daughter off back to her mom and just started to not feel right. Then came the puking and got water diarrhea that alternated for 5 hours until the hospital gave me radiation therapy grade anti nausea medication.

    Thankfully I had a little flower to help get me to eat over the following days.
    Just a dude doing dude-ly things

    "Temptation is the manifestation of desire which equals necessity." - Mikey081057
    " I have always had a champange taste with a beer budget" - Rick88
    "Just because the thread is getting views don't mean much .. I like a good train wreck doesn't mean i want to be in one..." - pitdogg2
    "Those that don't know, don't know that they don't know." - heiney9
    "Audiophiles are the male equivalent of cat ladies." - Audiokarma Member
  • gmcman
    gmcman Posts: 1,661
    aprazer402 wrote: »

    trfc7xdyxxru.jpg

    Looks like a match.

    hed43v7yjsz0.jpg


    Ours is at least 14 YO, conveyed with the house. Works pretty good, just wish I had more control of the heat.

    Great info on the CI pans, much appreciated.

    I assume you don't want a CI pan that's perfectly smooth on the cooking surface, but allow some type of minute texture or is smooth the key?
  • delkal
    delkal Posts: 764
    gmcman wrote: »
    aprazer402 wrote: »

    trfc7xdyxxru.jpg

    Looks like a match.

    hed43v7yjsz0.jpg


    Ours is at least 14 YO, conveyed with the house. Works pretty good, just wish I had more control of the heat.

    Great info on the CI pans, much appreciated.

    I assume you don't want a CI pan that's perfectly smooth on the cooking surface, but allow some type of minute texture or is smooth the key?

    I have a similar glass top range and also have a big problem with heat control. Unlike other ranges where you set the heat and that is the temperature it stays most glass top grills think they are "smart" and cycle from off to high to maintain the temp. Unfortunately this does not work well if the pan is not dead flat on the burner. The temperature sensor can get fooled. I have a Griswold griddle and while the outer part is flat the cooking surface is raised slightly and does not directly touch the burner. It starts off at the perfect temp but after a variable amount of time the stove gets fooled and the temp skyrockets.

    I would suggest flat bottom pans without a smoke ring. You also need to make sure the bottom is flat. A lot of cast iron pans have a slight warp to them. This was OK back in the day before these crappy glass top ranges were invented.
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 15,166
    edited June 2019
    gmcman wrote: »
    I assume you don't want a CI pan that's perfectly smooth on the cooking surface, but allow some type of minute texture or is smooth the key?
    Actually, it is a toss up. Many decades ago, the CI manufacturers did it right. They would cast the Iron and then use huge grinders to finish the cooking surface smooth. Note that this is a very expensive part of manufacturing. So, most CI manufacturers decided not to smooth out the surface to cut costs so they could match up with other new and exciting, yet cheaper pots and pans that folks were buying.

    Truth be told, they all cook the same (somewhat). My old Lodge pan has so much patina buildup over the years that most all of the pits, valleys and imperfections from not grinding have all but gone away. The smoother ones tend to release a bit better but if you know how to cook in each particular pan, one could cook the same identical steak (for example) the same exact way and have the same exact end result when using an older grinded pan versus a brand new, out of the box cheap Chinese made CI pan from Walmart.

    Good example of cheap would be the Pioneer Woman series (I think that's what they are called) from Wally World. One can get the same quality of an older Griswold or Wagner in a new pan but said pan would be $200 versus $30. The grinding process is extremely expensive. Take a look at the 12" Finex pan seen below. This one retails at $225 and they don't even grind the edges....just the surface itself.

    img23o.jpg

    Older pans are generally lighter, newer pans are generally heavier. Older pans heat up quicker but also tend to lose heat quicker (not by much, mind you). Cleaning really has no difference at all unless you have not built up your patina good enough.

    Believe it or not, some folks like the pebbled, uneven cooking surface of the newer pans. Others swear by the smooth surface pans. It's another one of those tomato - tomahto things.

    Tom

    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~

    ~ I have found excellence ~

    ~ The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction ~

  • Upstatemax
    Upstatemax Posts: 2,530
    One of the many reason Carbon Steel pans for modern pans are better.

    They get all the pluses of CI and have better heat dissipation almost zero odor retention (since they are more dense and better uniformity than CI) and are smooth surfaces. Readily available and at reasonable prices.

    They can be stamped since they have more iron in them than CI so they don’t have to be ground.

    Unless you’ve been handed down old school, really nice CI, Carbon Steel should be on your shopping list.
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  • delkal
    delkal Posts: 764
    edited June 2019
    Pre 57 pans made in the "golden age" of cast iron were cast with much finer sand than what you see today. Even then you are correct they even milled some surfaces. It is nice to see quality coming back but unfortunately at $225 that puts it out of reach for most cooks.

    And Pioneer Woman series? Did they have a matching iron?
    For some reason I don't think that name would work today..........
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 15,166
    The Pioneer Woman of today would only use the Ci to bop the head of their husband when they step out of line.

    Agreed on the Carbon Steel. Professional cooks use these often but that's an entirely different discussion.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~

    ~ I have found excellence ~

    ~ The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction ~

  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 20,704
    Pioneer woman cast Iron stuff is made in China.
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 7,434
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Pioneer woman cast Iron stuff is made in China.

    Just like lodge...
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  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 20,704
    edited June 2019
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Pioneer woman cast Iron stuff is made in China.

    Just like lodge...

    wrong made in Tennessee for over 100yrs.

    http://www.lodgemfg.com/story/progress-on-the-new-lodge-foundry
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 7,434
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Pioneer woman cast Iron stuff is made in China.

    Just like lodge...

    wrong made in Tennessee for over 100yrs.

    http://www.lodgemfg.com/story/progress-on-the-new-lodge-foundry

    Okay sorry split the difference...

    Are Lodge products made in the USA?
    All of our foundry Seasoned Cast Iron and our Seasoned Carbon Steel products are manufactured in the USA and always will be. All Enameled Cast Iron products are made in China to our strict quality standards and overseen by an American owned 3rd party inspection company. Our accessories come from multiple sources, some of which are American, and some overseas. Our in-house Quality Assurance Department constantly inspects all items we produce and sell.
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  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 20,704
    Interesting although I've never bought or used the enameled stuff or actually looked into it.

    That enameled stuff must have something that flies in the face of EPA regulations.

    Split it is :D
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 7,434
    I will say @pitdogg2 that I still use my plain ole lodge cast iron skillet I bought maybe 10-12 years ago? But got rid of the enameled ones and bought la creuset and never looked back...
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  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 15,166
    edited June 2019
    Le Creuset is the bees knees but I can't justify the cost. It's up to them to honor warranty and I have read waaaay to many horror stories. Most of the time, you are on your own.

    I just got a set of Sam's Club Tramontina Enameled in gunmetal and called it a day. https://www.samsclub.com/sams/2pk-dutch-oven-4-7-qt-cast-iron/prod21280180.ip

    0001601713542_B?$DT_PDP_Image$

    I believe twice a year they have a clearance (at least for the past two years they have) and the price for both drops to a whopping $30. At that price, if they chip or discolor? I can replace them at little to chump change cost. So far, so good with mine and the finish is stunning. I bought mine on clearance somewhere around 2 or 3 years ago and while I don't use them often? No issues thus far. FWIW...

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~

    ~ I have found excellence ~

    ~ The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction ~

  • aprazer402
    aprazer402 Posts: 2,571
    edited June 2019
    ^^^^ Tom, we were thinking alike here. I have the same pots bought from Sam's about three years ago. Mine are navy blue, no problems at all. Few people see my cookware anyway. :) Even fewer have the courage to eat my cooking! :)