We have a good friend David (the kids call him good David, you'll hear about evil David in a future post!) and I swear he knows everything about everything. He knows all about plants, birds, wine, game, cooking, carpentry, camping.... you get the picture. Sometimes his wealth of knowledge is a bummer- like when he told my husband that having a fire in the fireplace sucked the heat you were paying for on your monthly gas bill right up the chimney. I don't think we have had a fire more than a handful of times since he enlightened us with that fact! He always knows about all the things we should be afraid of, and he's not afraid to tell us. However, this font of knowledge has also been a great asset. Let me give you one example:
Our family loves to go camping and we have a propane camp stove by Coleman (a lot like the one pictured here) that came with a really great griddle with a deep well for fat to drain. We used that year after year for breakfasts, cooking bacon, sausage, and eggs, mostly on our family camping trips to Crabtree Falls Campground in Tyro, VA (seen here to the right).
Last spring, I started noticing that my pancakes were sticking even though the griddle was Teflon and I had sprayed it generously with Pam spray. Our friend, "good David", was with us camping and he told us that Pam reacted with Teflon and deteriorated the coating so that it loses its non-stick nature, and eventually starts flaking off. Not being a big fan of Teflon anyway, we threw away the griddle, went to Ebay and found a cast iron griddle that would fit our campstove. It's a lot heavier than our original griddle but it has a flat surface on one side and a grill side on the other and it fits across the two burners of our gas range at home too. The moral of this story- don't use Pam on your non-stick pans. Over time the surface will actually get sticky and you will lose all the advantages that come with a Teflon pan.
I thought I'd share this since you may not have a "good David" that can keep you from messing up your Teflon pans. FYI, my understanding that it is something in the propellant in Pam that causes this reaction so butter, shortenings and oils are just fine for your Teflon pans. Keep your Pam for pans without non-stick coatings (say that three times fast!)