Non stick cooking ware

26 Oct

It was only when we came to Melbourne that we bought non stick cooking ware.  Mainly because they sell these ridiculously cheap mega sets of kitchenware and most of the items were non stick.  Back home, my wok was the cast iron sort and my pot, the stainless steel kind. So what is my conclusion having used non stick cooking ware for a while?  I must say, I’ve got mixed feelings.

First and foremost, there’re all these articles on the internet about perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—also known as C-8—a chemical used to bond the nonstick coating to the pan. There are claims that in animal studies, there is an increased risk of cancers and low birth weights and so on from PFOA and there are also toxic fumes that could be released at high heat.  However, there has been contention about PFOA even being present in cook ware – it is said to have been destroyed in the manufacturing process.  So I suppose there is no conclusive evidence per se about the safety of non stick pans.

But there is no denying the relative advantages of the non stick pan – the use of minimal if not no oil.  I fry my pancakes without any oil at all and they come out nice and washing up is easy.  But the advantages end about just there.  I can’t use any metals on the cookware so that I won’t scratch the surface and I can’t use abrasive cleaners and sponges on them either.  Let’s face it – non stick pans DECREASE sticking.  It doesn’t actually mean no sticking!  So when the sauce caramelises and sticks to the pot, I’m filled with a little (if not a lot of dread) because cleaning can be tricky.  Having said that, I’ve come to realise that if some water is added to the pot straight after cooking and heated, the stuck down stuff comes off quite easily.  And that brings me to the other problem.

I’ve warped a couple of my pots and pans.  It’s not such a big issue if we use a gas stove.  But our apartment only has hot plates!!   I didn’t realise what had been happening until I had to replace one of my non stick pans and on the packaging, it said not to place a hot pan in cold water.  Yes, I know, common sense would have told me that but coming from Singapore where the tap water isn’t actually cold, it took a while to put two and two together and realise what I was doing wrong.

A couple of warped pots later, I’ve wisened up and now I use boiling water to soak my pots.  I’ve also stumbled upon the miracle nonabrasive cleaner called sodium bicarb.  I’ve also realised that non stick cookwares can cost a fortune.  And why you may ask – it’s all in the quality, the likelihood of the nonstick portion coming off.   Bonding down the material and adding many many layers of it adds to the costs.

So the million dollar question is would I invest in non stick cookware when I go back to Singapore?  I’d say, probably yes but I’d only buy a frying pan as that’s probably the only thing I’d actually use.  And I’d probably get a multicoated, bonded sort – just to be on the safe side…


One Response to “Non stick cooking ware”

  1. Ross4Teflon November 1, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    Hi — Because there’s so much misinformation out there about Teflon and non-stick pans, I’m not surprised that you are concerned. I’m a representative of DuPont though, and hope you’ll let me share some information with you and your readers, so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

    Regulatory agencies, consumer groups and health associations all have taken a close look at Teflon. This article highlights what they found — the bottom line is that you can use Teflon without worry.

    I’d truly be glad to share additional information about it if you are interested, and appreciate your consideration of this comment. Cheers, Ross.

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