Kind of Obsessed
I Can’t Get Enough of These Lightweight Cast-Iron Skillets
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I’ve always felt that there’s something primal and visceral about cast iron cooking. Like well-worn leather boots, or my dad’s faded Levi’s 501s, a well-made cast iron pan has the power to transport you to a simpler time. There’s something ingrained deep in our lizard brains that makes us love small-batch, natural products. They activate the hunter-gatherer in us and explain our obsession with hand tools and fire. So, as a hardcore metals nerd, when I heard about a new company making a cast-iron pan in the U.S., run by Chris and Stephen Muscarella, two brothers obsessed with improving on classic vintage skillets through modern production techniques, I was intrigued.
My 10-inch Field Company pan is hefty, but not heavy. I can comfortably tilt my skillet to continuously baste a thick-cut ribeye without my forearm screaming at me like it would with competitor brands. The browning and charring hit my olfactory receptors and brings me back to the great outdoors — enjoying beers and cooking with friends over an open fire. I can almost forget that I’m cooped up in a tiny NYC apartment.
The brothers who started Field Company set out to make cookware like the vintage ones passed down to them — lightweight and cast smooth. When they launched the company, most foundries told them that going as thin and smooth as they wanted to wasn’t possible. But, like Teddy Roosevelt urges his audience during his remarkable Citizenship in a Republic speech, the team took the rejections in stride and refused to give up. They eventually found a materials scientist with expertise in thin-walled casting who helped them overcome the theoretical hurdles.
It’s worth mentioning that my 10-inch Field skillet isn’t just light, smooth and superb at charring proteins and vegetables, it’s also surprisingly eco-friendly. This might be a bit inside baseball, but Field Company are using upwards of 80 percent recycled iron before adding a dose of pig iron to get the metallurgy where it needs to be, proving you can make heirloom quality product while still doing right by the planet.
There’s something special about marrying craftsmanship and generational knowledge, with the latest scientific breakthroughs and modern machining techniques. This is Field Company’s approach. In the knife world, we refer to it as “mid-tech”: you take the best materials and equipment, the latest scientific advances and pair them together to make products that have military-grade tolerances and superior performance.
This skillet is not the product of some glitzy branding agency. It’s a passion project at Field Company. The Muscarellas have built a work of extraordinary craftsmanship. The Field skillet is made to be the best damn skillet out there because its creators are obsessed with quality, not profits, and because they care about every detail. I’m kind of obsessed with mine. You will be too.
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