posted in the past about cast iron skillets as "nature's teflon" (am I the only one who thinks that's clever? I think that's pretty darn clever) and others have commented on how much they prefer cast iron skillets over non-stick pans. The main criticism about cast iron skillets is that you have to use grease but my belief is that, if you've seasoned your pans well, you don't even need to use any oil or butter in your cooking. Here is a great primer on seasoning your pans from Chowhound (there must be a lot of folks with this problem because Chowhound's post has been googlebomed to #1 in the "reseasoning cast iron skillet" search). The 1870's farm, incidentally, has probably THE BEST seasoned cast iron skillets on the eastern seaboard - nothing, absolutely nothing, sticks to those pans.
My problem, of course, if I've never seasoned my pans well enough. My babybear skillet is the one that I have the most problems with; it's also the one I've had the longest. I'm taking off the patina each time I have to scrub it - part of the problem is that I'm using steel wool to scrub it, which Chowhound says you should do to get rust spots off, but a soapless scrubby to keep it clean. The thing I'm worried about, probably needlessly, is that once I've scratched off some of the seasoning that it creates a sort of cascade of misery where even reseasoning it won't give you a smooth, non-stick surface, because you're reseasoning the old coating along with the new seasoning, creating an uneven cooking surface.
Like I said, I'm probably worrying about nothing, but thought I'd update on my cast iron cookware and see if anyone has any thoughts on this.