Ever since the Internet flipped out about the fact that you can bake a pizza in a cast-iron skillet (surprise!), people have been questioning how they’ve gone so many years without owning one.</br></br>But, if cooking a pizza in a skillet isn’t enough to tip the scales for you, here are the first eight of 16 <em>more</em> reasons why the skillet-less are missing out:</br></br><strong>1. It’ll last forever.</strong></br></br>How long is forever, you ask? It’s a long time, but for those literal-minded folks who would like to dispute the measure of eternity, we’ll say that “forever” in this instance means it will last longer than the owner.</br></br><strong>2. You don’t have to wash it.</strong></br></br>A good <a title="Cast Iron Skillets" href="http://www.atgstores.com/cooking/cooking-dining/cookware/skillets-frying-pans/material/cast-iron/" target="_blank">cast-iron skillet</a> is well-seasoned, which is achieved by baking it with a coat of cooking oil. This gives it a nonstick quality, keeps it from rusting and gives it a sweet, black patina. To clean, just rinse, wipe it down and dry it.</br></br><strong>3. You <em>can</em> wash it, if that’s your thing.</strong></br></br>Iron skillets don’t need to be washed with soap, although you can if you must – just re-season it afterward.</br></br><strong>4. It’s pretty cheap.</strong></br></br>It’s a hunk of iron, and you can only charge so much for a hunk of iron.</br></br><strong>5. You can use it as a cooking weight.</strong></br></br>The “chicken under a brick” recipe may be a little too uptown for the down-home iron-skillet aficionado, but it works just as well with a grilled cheese, a burger or for putting a quick sear on a pan-fried steak.</br></br><strong>6. You can scrape it as hard as you like.</strong></br></br>You’ll never have to wonder again how to remove burnt cheese, baked-on egg or anything else. Use a chainsaw if you want – as long as you’re cool with buying a new chainsaw.</br></br><strong>7. They come in all shapes and sizes.</strong></br></br>Have you ever seen those little ones for cooking single eggs, like the one in the picture above? They’re soooo cute! <em>Aaaaggghhhhh!</em></br></br><strong>8. You can’t scratch it.</strong></br></br>Well, you <em>can</em> scratch it, but it doesn’t matter. In fact, scrapes and scratches just give it more character; like an old, grizzled general that lives only for the next battle. <em>Grrrrrr</em>.</br></br>Tune in tomorrow for the stunning conclusion (the final eight reasons!) to our two-part series on why you need a cast-iron skillet if you don’t have one yet.