Inexpensive Teflon-Culinary Survivor Of The 60’s
Everyone has Teflon pots and pans, somewhere. It is also known as PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). This chemical bonds the black non-stick coating to the pans. The advantage of this cookware was no oil needed in addition to easy cleaning. First marketed as “The Happy Pan” in 1961.
Everything is just fine with this cookware until an event occurs releasing or destabilizing PTFE.
Oh The Humanity!
One serious side effect is with temperature. High heat, around 500 degrees F, causes breakdown of the chemical and it goes airborne. It may cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Doctors named it “Teflon Flu”. Birds are even more highly sensitive than us. At lower temperatures, birds may pass out and never be heard from again. The “canary in the coal mine” has now inadvertently become a guinea pig for home toxicity. Insane! The longer the pan sits empty on high heat, the faster the decomposition of the coating and the release of toxic chemicals.
Another issue is breaks or cuts or scratches in the pan. You should never use metal utensils or any type of scouring pad on the surface. Stick with wood or silicone utensils. Use a sponge and nonabrasive cleaner post meal. If you have any pans with breaks in the material, please discard this cookware. When that damaged pan is heated, it will emit the toxic gas sooner and at lower temperatures. It’s not the flakes of the pan that will hurt you, it’s the chemical that holds those flakes and coating in place.
Teflon and Teflon-like pans come in three different types. Higher priced yields more stable coating materials to prevent scratching and increase durability.
There is a single-layer, double-layer and multiple-layer PTFE. Single-layer is the least expensive but easily scratches and has lousy durability. The most expensive cookware is the multiple-layer variety. This type has three coats for the highest stability and most likely to stand firm over a longer period of time. Of course, it’s the most expensive.
Beauty Shot Of Anodized Aluminum-Wow!
What I find to be one of the best overall cooking material is anodized aluminum. Decades ago, research had shown that Alzheimer’s disease patients had high amounts of aluminum in their brains. The theory was that one of the ways it may have gotten there was through aluminum cookware. What manufacturers did was develop a process to change the aluminum in the cookware. That process is to bathe the aluminum and coat it with a thick layer of metal. This makes it scratch resistant, easy to clean, almost a non-stick surface, and very safe. It’s highly recommended by a number of cooking masters. Another advantage is with a metal handle; it can go right from stove top to the oven safely. Glass tops with metal handles are excellent tops for this cookware.
My recommendations are EarthPan Hard Anodized, Emerilware Hard Anodized and Calphalon Kitchen Essentials.
There is still plain aluminum cookware available on the market that is safer called cast aluminum. Anodized aluminum although more expensive, is one of the safest alternative choices.
You Got To Love The Colors
There are excellent bakeware available made from rubbery silicone. They don’t breakdown under high heat, food doesn’t stick, inexpensive, easy cleanup and dishwasher safe. They are limited to inside your oven not the stove top.
Old Time Cooking Still Going Strong
You may see cast iron pans on the cooking store shelves. It is excellent for durability and the transfer of heat even across the pan. It also gives an added bonus of being an iron supplement that goes right into your food. Great, if you have iron deficiency anemia. Disadvantages are that weighs a ton, need to season (with salt and oil) it, not dishwasher safe and oil is mandatory for coating it during cooking. If you don’t season it and keep it greased, it will rust out.
Great Hanging From A Ceiling Rack
There is also stainless steel cookery. Stainless is pretty inert, but metals do get released in small amounts which could cause problems. They are aluminum, carbon steel, molybdenium, nickel and titanium. For most people the leaching of these metals is not a problem. There is a sub-group of individuals that may be highly sensitive to one or more of these metals. Studies show higher concentrations of these metals bleeding into the food when acidic foods are placed in the cookware.
Expensive cookware advertised by popular TV chiefs are usually not worth the money. An exception, is one by Emeril Lagasse called Emerilware.
Some Tips With Cookware
1. You don’t have to trash all your cookware, purchase one piece at a time. Look for sales.
2. Best bet overall is anodized aluminum with some very cost-effective brands.
3. Silicone is great for baking as is silicone utensils. The utensils prevent scratching the Teflon pans. You may also use wooden utensils.
Isn’t Blue Colored Silicon Smashing?