Cast Iron Skillets and Teflon Frying Pans

By Keith N Fisher

First, let me apologize. I’ve been studying for a big test, and haven’t posted for a couple of weeks. I passed the test, so I’mmm baaaack.

How many of you have seen an old cast iron skillet that has a smooth surface? No matter what you cook, it won’t stick. The iron surface, once porous, is now tougher than Teflon. I used one of those when I was a kid.

How many of you have seen an old skillet with rust spots or (heaven forbid), it had gone completely rusty? Did you know rust could get into your diet and cause health problems?
Not to worry, however, rust can be removed and you can start fresh, building a new seasoning. Eventually, the surface will smooth out and you will be able to cook anything, non-stick.

Several years ago, Space age science developed a process to coat an ordinary steel frying pan and make it non-stick, right out of the box. They called it Teflon, and everybody purchased plastic spatulas in order to keep from scratching the surface.

Still, the first generation coatings ended up scraping off. Do you remember the news reports of the late eighties and early nineties about the danger of Teflon scraping off into your food? They claimed it would cause illness.

Today, Teflon is tougher, but it can still be scraped off and then rust could start. As I said, I’ve been taking a test and haven’t done the research, but can anybody tell me if the Teflon health risk is still there? Did it really exist? I’m sure our non-regulation government would have made sure it was safe, don’t you?

So, I ask you, If you were shopping in a thrift store and could choose between a rusty cast iron skillet and a scratched Teflon (possibly rusty) frying pan, which would you choose?

I have written before, about the process of re-seasoning cast iron. (Use the search box to find it). I can’t re-apply Teflon, but even if I could, I don’t think it would be cost effective. That’s the nature of our society, Its cheaper to throw it away and buy a new one.

Mankind has been cooking in cast iron for hundreds of years. Some claim the benefits of iron leaching into the food are numerous. Choose the tried and true method of our grand mothers. I think you’ll be glad you did.