My friend S.B. - who is a dedicated cook- used to say you should never wash a frying pan. The ancient grease, impregnated with the flavours of a thousand fry-ups, is a treasure, adding subtlety and depth to anything you cook in it. I sometimes let my pan go a day or two without washing- and acknowledge that it's a bit of a thrill when the flavour of yesterday's mushrooms turns up in today's bacon and eggs- but then I start to worry about health and safety and the pan goes into the sink and receives a good scrubbing. Am I being unduly cautious?
Once upon a time, which is how all good fairy tales begin; there was a place where the food we raised and bought, cooked and ate was free of pesticides, strange chemicals and even stranger microbes. The animals whose remains were frequently transformed in these old frying pans spent their lives eating grass - as most of them were intended to do and were not asked to eat ground up parts of their cousins mixed with antibiotics and corn oil derivatives. Then a good wipe out was more often than not sufficient, although an occasional date with soapy water couldn't hurt.