Thursday, November 13, 2008

You've Gone Green - Now Cook Green!

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Everyone is "going green" lately, from their water bottles to their clothes to the food they eat. We purchase wonderful, organic, locally grown foods and then cook them in our Teflon-coated cookware exposing our bodies to all the chemicals that our food choices were intended to avoid.

Yes, nonstick pans have revolutionized the way we cook. We can cook virtually anything without adding extra fat and calories and cleanup is a breeze! But did you know that conventional nonstick pans can give off potentially harmful fumes at even medium to high temperatures , and a chemical crucial to the manufacture of nonstick surfaces - but not found in the finished surfaces - is prevalent in the environment, including most Americans' blood!

If you have birds in your home, a nonstick pan pre-heating on the stove can mean death to your tweeting friend. Noxious fumes emitted from overheated cookware coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) will produce fatal Teflon toxicosis in birds. Didn't they send canaries into the mines to check the safety of the air for the miners? If it's fatal to your birds, can it possibly be healthy for your lungs... or your children's?

All of these problems are present if you have a nonstick pan that is in perfect condition. Say, your hubby makes an omelet, but uses a metal fork or whisk to stir the eggs... and makes scratches on the bottom of the pan... This makes them even more dangerous as the surface is no longer intact and more chemicals can leech into your food.

The best case scenario? Toss all of your old nonstick and start over with something more "green" and healthy. Probably not an option for everyone because, let's face it, good cookware does not come cheap. How about aiming to just replace the scratched pans and then gradually replacing from there.

I'd been reading about the new "Green" nonstick pans and, quite frankly, didn't think there was any way that something "environmentally friendly" could perform as well, or tackle my tough cooking projects like my old friendly nonstick cookware could. I read about Cuisinart's new "Green Gourmet" line of cookware. A line of anodized clad pans with an aluminum alloy core, and a ceramic-based nonstick interior that is indeed nonstick and safe. The cookware contains no petroleum products, no PTFE or PFOA, the pans and their metal handles can withstand oven use up to 500 degrees F and is broiler-safe.

I decided to conduct an experiment of my own... Could this cookware really compete against everyone's old standby nonstick pans? Could it truly perform well enough that I'd want to toss my old dangerous cookware and make the switch? After all, I'm just as concerned about dangerous chemicals being leeched into my healthy foods as the next person. My friends at Cuisinart were kind enough to send me a frying pan from their new Green Gourmet cookware line. The morning after I received my pan I set to work making fried eggs for the "fam's" breakfast. Nice, slick surface, even heating, nothing burning... the eggs were a success - not even a broken yolk in the bunch! But how was cleanup? A quick swish of soapy hot water with a sponge and 'voila - ready to tackle another project. This pan is awesome! I've been a cooking fool since I received this pan, sauteed veggies, pancakes, you name it - everything has turned out perfectly and cleaned up just as quickly as the first time. Even though the handle is made of metal, it stayed cool so there was no need to mess around with a pot holder or glove.

So the bottom line is this... If you can possibly afford it - toss the old non-stick pans. Replace them with new ceramic versions such as Cuisinart's Green Gourmet line of cookware. If nonstick isn't that important to you there's always the cast iron or enamel on cast iron options, but they will never give you the convenience that nonstick will.

The next time you're whipping up a quick meal, think about it - you've put careful thought into what foods you're feeding your family - but have you thought about what chemicals your cookware is feeding them?

Turning Lemons into Pink Lemonade!

Posted by Liz of Pink Lemonade

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