I cooked some seasoned chicken breasts tonight for supper using my cast iron pan. First I turned the oven up to 300F (still old units for some things, even in a country that's been metric for about 30 years), then I put the cast iron pan on medium heat and let it warm.
Once the pan was ready, with the oven still heating, I seared the chicken two minutes per side, keeping a lid on the pan, then popped it into the oven, and started cooking rice and beans on the stove.
The chicken was ready when the rice was, about half an hour later, and I was pleased to see that it had stayed nice and moist. The meal was delicious.
Four hours after having cooked supper, I went back to the pan and washed it. Now, you never use soap on a cast iron pan -- that's a no-no -- because cast iron is slightly porous. It retains a little fat, and naturally provides a non-stick surface (or, mostly non-stick, anyways). Clean-up is a little scrub with my metal Kurly Kate and some water, then a bit of a dry with a cloth. I re-season this pan once in a while, but after 25 years use, it doesn't need it much. It's a well-used, well-loved pan, and one of my favourites.
Sort of like how Perl's been my favourite for some time -- about 15 years ago I was starting to tinker around with scripting languages because I was getting tired of writing C programs to open files, read arguments from the command line, do the usual munging of data. I found Perl after a little noodling with awk. Perl does have its quirks, both in the language and in the community. But treat both right, and you'll be well served for years and years.
So when I see some commercial on TV for a new kitchen appliance (and some of the American commercials are most comical, as seen by these Canadian eyes), I smile, just as it amuses me to read SlashDot's talk about how use in Perl is declining.
No, it's not the latest, coolest, shiniest thing, but there are many smart, hard-working people on the job behind Perl (the language and the community). And like my cast iron pan, it's going to be around, useful as ever, for a long time to come.
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