Bacon and chicken are, in fact, two of the best things to make in cast iron. But I find my skillets so in-tensely pleasurable to use—they feel solid and authoritative, and somehow grounded in both history and culinary lore—that I end up doing almost everything with them: crisping hash and hashlike combinations of leftovers (see Making a Hash of It); searing meat, fish, or fowl; stir-frying; deep-frying; baking (cornbread, biscuits, nut breads, etc.); making casseroles; melting cheese; toasting nuts and spices—even cooking asparagus or other vegetables in water, which most cast-iron types would consider sacrilege. I also put all kinds of acidic things, like wine and lemon juice and tomatoes, in them—''nonreactive'' be damned. (They've got 50-plus years of seasoning, after all.) And I wash them with water (though rarely soap) and scrub them lightly with a soft brush, instead of swabbing them out with an old rag like some folks do. Hey, it works, and they're my pans—and I haven't burned the pancakes yet.