1. To flavor foods in order to improve their taste. See also seasoning. 2. To age meat, which helps both to tenderize it and to improve its flavor. 3. To smooth out the microscopic roughness of new pots and pans, particularly cast iron, which might cause foods to stick to the cooking surface. This is normally done by coating the cooking surface with vegetable oil, then heating the pan in a 350°F oven for about an hour. Continued use and gentle cleaning will improve the seasoning. Pans may occasionally need reseasoning.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.