If I could only have one piece of cast iron cookware, I would choose a 12″ skillet. It’s large enough to cook dinner for me and my family, make half a batch of broth, roast veggies in the oven and, if need be, you could bake cookies in it.
If you look inside my skillet, you’ll see it just doesn’t have the dark, black color of a nicely seasoned pan. It did at one time then it got left on the stove overnight with a bit of food left in it. (Yes, we forgot to wash it after dinner.) The next morning it had areas of rust. I got out my steel wool and started scraping. I scraped off much of the seasoning. (I wouldn’t use stainless steel on it like that again.) That was a long time ago. Since then I just haven’t gotten around to seasoning it to bring back the black color. I’ve also made numerous acidic dishes in it with tomatoes or vinegar. (Those will chemically strip the seasoning.)
Yet, through all its abuse it continues to provide me with non-stick service. I use it many times a week.