Read this horror story at your own risk! (may induce tears and garment rending in the faint of heart chowhound chef):
My holy grail - the twelve inch cast iron frying pan with a perhaps fifty year old slick black natural non-stick patina. Yes, it was black and beautiful - until I left it on a shelf with another pan on top of it, which somehow trapped ambient moisture, and (Eeeeek!!!) RUST developed in patches on the cooking surface. To add insult to injury my attempts to re-season it by leaving it in the oven, which is kept semi-warm by the gas pilot light, with a thin coat of oil on it - resulted in the oil somehow reducing to a semi-hard sticky (horrible) resin. I attempted to remove same with a copper scrubber and further scratched the original black patina, which is now totally eroded from perhaps 20 % of the interior cooking surface.
PLEASE tell me it can be saved!
God help me! I'm praying that you, God's earthly agents in the cooking world will have a solution which will save this, the most precious and revered icon of cooks everywhere: the well-seasoned black cast iron fry pan.
I'd call it a skillet, but I recently read a post from a cook in the UK claiming never to have heard that term.