K Nelfson wrote:
Here's a nice article that shows how to season a cast-iron pan. There's science in there and everything. I'd put this method above most of the other articles I've seen on the web. And I know there are a lot of cast iron fans around here...
Ms. Sheryl apparently knows quite a bit about the properties of oils, but shares the common ignorance about the crystal structure of cast iron. Seasoning works for cast iron because cast iron is porous. Seasoning does not work for steel or other metals because they are not porous. Seasoning is not baked onto the surface, it is soaked into the porous metal. Oil of any edible kind soaks slowly into the iron, and it soaks in faster when the iron is hot. That is why Ms. Sheryl gets better results when she heats her cast iron. But it would fail if the pan was steel instead for iron even though she used the same oil. Her explanation is all about coating the surface, which would work equally badly on steel, aluminum, or cast iron.
Over time the initial seasoning oil is continually replaced by whatever oil or animal fat is in your pan today. A little bit soaks into the pan and even eventually soaks all the way through and forms a carbonaceous char on the bottom of an old pan.
This ignorance of the properties of cast iron is common, and people like Ms. Sheryl succeed with it in spite of their lack of understanding of the metal.