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James' first link and his comments are really good ones. I highly recommend them. I got into restoring vintage Griswold cast iron a few years ago. Food grade organic flaxseed oil is my preferred choice of an oil to use. It binds exceptionally well and sets up as resiliently as any oil available. At around $20/pint it is pretty expensive though. Crisco would be my second choice. He's also correct about wiping the oil off with a dry paper towel, until you think you got it dry - It won't be... From the movie, Karate Kid, if you watched it, think, "Wax on. Wax off."

When you bake it during the seasoning process, you need to heat it above the oil's smoke point. My oven goes to 500 degrees F, and that's where I set it. You'll know it's above the oil's smoke point - You will smell it. Let it continue to bake until the odor dissipates. Then turn the oven off and let it cool down, with the door closed. Oh yeah, before you apply the oil, heat the pan to 200 degrees F in the oven, to open the pours of the cast iron - Use an insulated glove to handle the pan, of course. I usually apply 6 coats in this fashion - It takes a while, but you get a good foundation. The way you speed things up some is to season as many pans as you can together, w/o their touching each other.

Ginko is right about not using soap to wash the pans, unless you're wanting to delve back into seasoning, pretty much from scratch. If I have some food that sticks, I make a little slurry of coarse Kosher salt and water and use a wet cloth to wipe it down - You shouldn't need to overdue it. Just a light swirl works well. Then rinse it in water, dry it with a towel and then heat on a burner at a medium low setting until the water finishes evaporating. Then wipe it down with a thin coating of Crisco and put it up - Don't substitute other brands of shortening - They don't work nearly as well... different components.

While you want to bake the pans above the oil's smoke point to season them, you never want to do that when you cook with them. If the oil starts to smoke when you're cooking, you need to dump it and start over.

Once you get the hang of it, cast iron is great to cook with. Fats from meats that you cook will help season the cast iron as you go, as Ginko also commented - Bacon works especially well. The more they're used properly, the slicker they will get over time.

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