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A Black Iron Haven

Lodge Mfg. Expands Web Presence with YouTube & Twitter

Posted by Rick Mansfield

I don’t collect cast iron simply to collect it. I’m not knocking those who do, mind you. Cast iron cookware has a wonderful history, and if anything is worth of collection for hobby or investment, it’s cast iron. But for me, it’s a more practical issue. I’ve got to figure out where I’m going to put it. We bought an entire baker’s rack just for our cast iron. In addition to that, three cast iron skillets are kept on our stove at all times.

So, if I’m going to add a new piece of cast iron cookware to what we already have, I have to justify it. That means, I have to ask if we really need it, if we really will use it. Just last week we had some guest over for dinner. I noticed one of our guests staring at the growing number of items on our baker’s rack. She turned to me and said, “I just realized--you actually use all this cast iron!” Looking at the assorted skillets, dutch ovens, cornstick pans, sizzle skillets, loaf pans, and more, I asked “What do you mean?” She said, “Well, a lot of people who collect something like this just do so to show it off, but you actually cook with all this.”

Of course I do!

What’s more, the great majority of the cast iron we own was made by Lodge Manufacturing in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. Oh, I also have a couple of Camp Chef items, and I have no idea who made my prize skillets handed down from my grandmother which are at least seventy years old if not much older. But the first skillet which was my very own was made my Lodge. In fact, the three skillets that permanently reside on our stove are the two skillets I inherited from my grandmother and my own Lodge skillet--the first cast iron I ever owned, given as a gift from my mother in the mid-nineties.

I honestly have nothing against other cast iron companies. In fact, I welcome quality cast iron in any form, regardless of its source. But Lodge has been very good to me, and I’ve been able to make food over the years that simply wouldn’t have tasted quite as good in other kinds of pans.

All that to say, I’m very pleased to notice that Lodge Manufacturing has been expanding their web presence lately. For the longest time, they’ve had a top quality website--an indispensable source for finding that right cast iron tool for a particular cooking need. My normal habit is to find it first on the Lodge site, and then I often order it from Amazon.com.

Now, Lodge has also created their own page on YouTube. Already there are videos that allow the viewer to tour the cast iron foundry (something I’ve been fortunate enough to do in person) and learn how cast iron is made. There’s a video of Johnny Nix showing off his skill with outdoor cast iron cooking. Watching Johnny Nix cook is the cast iron equivalent of seeing a high profile magician. Both have put in the time and effort to know their craft well, and it simply comes across as if it’s real magic.

Lodge has also joined in with the current Twitter craze by setting up their own Twitter account. I only allow a handful of the folks that I follow on Twitter to come directly to my iPhone and Lodge Manufacturing is one of them. Lodge has been sending out a lot of interesting tweets. Sometimes they’ve used Twitter to promote particular products or specials. Sometimes they send links to articles or internet reviews of their products. They even tweeted about my review of the Lodge Sportsman’s Grill a few days ago. Today, they posted a link about re-seasoning cast iron. I believe that Lodge has discovered that Twitter is a great way to stay in touch with their customers while allowing loyal fans to stay connected with them as well.

There are also some pages about Lodge cast iron on FaceBook, but I’m not sure if they are official or not. Perhaps someone from Lodge will let us know.
Update 9/16/09: Lodge's official Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/LodgeCastIron.

Lodge has been around since 1896, and they are still family owned. They are also the only remaining cast iron company with a foundry in the United States to my knowledge. So, I’m very impressed that a company with such traditional roots can also stay up to date with current technology in an effort to to communicate with their customers.

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Feel free to leave your thoughts or ask questions in the comments below, or you can contact Rick directly at rick@cookingincastiron.com.