I wonder how cast iron cookery actually works. My skillet is now fully matured with a durable black layer. It is amazingly non-stick and easy to clean. Aside from the embarrassment factor of having a Martha Stewart household product it has been a great investment. (It was only $15 for the skillet). It looks somewhat like a layer of graphite, although there must be more to it than that.
Why did the cast iron skillet fall out of favor so much? Is it the weight? They are heavy. Is it the black and dirty look? Was it just an infatuation with new technologies? There are plenty of other cooking uses where the cast iron tools are not practical, so the no-stick coatings have a long life. Cast iron's resurgence may hold up as well.