I was watching a show at my parent's house in which a pair of British women go to disgustingly dirty homes and clean them. Which sounds dull as hell, but these houses are really, really dirty, and the voyeuristic pleasure is high. Also, the ladies wear rubber gloves with pink feather trim. And they give out little cleaning tips. I was mesmerized - I could have watched this for hours (I don't think the rest of the family had the same response). Anyway, one tip they gave out was so intriguing I had to get home and try it out right away. Here it is: use meat tenderizer to remove that nasty, baked-on, hardened grease that builds up on old pans. I tried it out on a Pyrex loaf pan that had become discolored from years of baking bread and, um, meatloaf.*
Not surprisingly, it didn't work quite so well as the British ladies implied, but it did work. The grease softened to the point of becoming removable, given a little soap and elbow grease. The pan actually looks almost new.
Never let it be said that television isn't educational.
*I don't do this any more - meat loaf comes out better baked free-form. But I didn't always know this.