The cast-iron skillet is a true kitchen champ: it retains heat longer than steel, lasts forever, and gets more non-stick the more you use it. For a pretty presentation, take it straight from stove or oven to table.
Love cast iron but hate the heft? The Komin Fry Pan is thinner and lighter than typical cast-iron skillets, but works just as great for making cornbread and grilled cheese. ($79.95; williams-sonoma.com)
Got a favorite cast-iron skillet? Share in the comments.