There really is nothing special about pam, it is just the application. It goes on thinly. It is twice the cost of decent olive oil, and four times the cost of corn, or canola oil.
I use a little olive oil in my pan, spread it and wipe it fairly clean with a tissue before cooking, whatever. Over time, non-stick becomes less non-stick, so even with them I pre-oil them. I do the same with my stainless.
I don't have a cast iron pan, my son does, and was all about it when he first got it. I'll have to ask him if he still uses it much.
It seems that cast is great if you like to sear your meat, and cook at high heat. Seared on the outside, and relatively raw on the inside. NOT for me. I want my meat cooked all the way through. Medium to medium high heat is good enough for me.
I'll echo ledbetter's sentiments. My pans are modern (compared to cast) for the most part they are all stainless. At least half of them are multilayered 3 or 5 layers clad, and heavy. They probably compare fairly well to cast for heat retention, due to their thick bases. The beauty of stainless is they are easy to clean, and if they get stained, or hard to clean, some scouring powder like, Ajax, or Comet, and they will look like new and perform like new.
I have an Old Hickory knife from the Ontario Knife Company, that I bought it 1977. It's a great high carbon knife that is easy to sharpen and holds an edge.
The bottom one in the picture.
It was replaced, as my favorite knife, by an inexpensive Stainless steel Chef's knife with a plastic handle years ago.
1. for it's shape/style,
2. due to the fact that I didn't have to oil it prior to putting it away. And with the plastic handle it could go into the dishwasher.
Stainless... wash dry, put away.