How to Season a German Skillet

I bought a small shiny metal skillet, my 2 scrambled eggs having seemed lost in the big one here. When I asked the gentleman helping me about seasoning it — coating it with oil and putting it in the oven — he got a vague look and said I would need to talk with his colleague up front. She took my 20 Euros and told me to pay close attention to the instructions on a red piece of paper that I had so far ignored. Here is what it said:

IMPORTANT! Before first use, pay heed absolutely.

1) Put fat or oil in the pan
2) Add raw potato slices which have been generously salted on both sides
3) Cook the potato slices thoroughly on both sides, turning continuously
4) Discard the cooked potato slices
5) Wipe the pan out thoroughly with a paper towel. (Featured photo: fried salt)

“Now your pan is ready for use.”

But the instructions were far from finished:

“Never heat an iron pan without fat!
The diameter of the pan may be at most 3 cm larger than the burner!
An iron pan must be HEATED GRADUALLY on a ceramic stove top!
After every use, rub the pan out with a paper towel.  For more thickly encrusted food, use only hot water and a scrub brush to clean, dry well and coat with edible oil!
Never use scouring agents or chemical cleaners. Store the pan in a dry place.
Do not allow food to stand in the pan!
The more you use the pan, the darker the surface will get, which will only improve the quality of the food you cook!
Your food — prepared in an iron pan — cannot be improved in taste, color and goodness! Hotel cooks can confirm this.”

One of the great things about German culture is that one can be reasonably sure they’re not just jumping on the latest bandwagon, and this method of pan-seasoning has probably been perfected over hundreds of years. Which thoughts only added to my consternation when, after its first use, the pan had indeed darkened, but in a pattern quite reminiscent of a measles outbreak.

Just to be safe, I purchased a ceramic pan for half the price.


Just a traveler in a fast-changing world, trying to write enough to keep up

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