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Friday Cannon Fodder: useful

Green Plate Special Staff photo by Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

When I opened Twitter this morning, one of the first things I saw was an ad for a Lodge cast iron skillet for “under $20” on sale. Even though I already have one, I contemplated getting another but decided that first thing in the morning, pre-coffee was not the time to make purchasing decisions.

I use my cast iron skillet for everything. No exaggeration — I cook dinner (or part of dinner) in it almost every night. A fun, new thing I’ve started doing is starting my protein in it on the stove then switching it to the oven to finish, apparently that cooks the meat throughout and more evenly. The only issue is the weight of the skillet can make it unwieldy, and I had to buy a silicone grip for the handle because otherwise it would be too hot to hold.

Today’s question: what is the most useful, non-essential item (so like, not your toothbrush) that you own that cost less than $50? It doesn’t have to be a kitchen item, just something that isn’t a common “everybody has one of those” thing that is indispensable for you.