Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm Changing My Cookware

I try to make sure my family is healthy, I really do. I've thrown out everything (well, mostly everything) in the house with hydrogenated oils, I make all meals at home from scratch, I buy organic when I can, and I've switched every sippy cup and plastic bottle in the house from dangerous 1's and 2's to either the safer 5's or to stainless steel. You wouldn't believe the conversations I get into about my kids' cool stainless steel sippy cups they tote around in public! But then I started seeing articles like this and this. These articles tell all about the dangers of non-stick cookware - I won't bore you with the details - you'll either read it or you won't. But seeing how most of my cookware is of the hard-anodized variety, or just the plain old non-stick variety, the articles gave me pause. So I started to do some research.

The trouble is, I like my non-stick cookware. I like that it's really easy to clean. I like that food doesn't stick. I do a lot of cooking - I need cookware that's not going to cause me extra work! So after a bit of research, I decided to give cast iron a try. Sure sounded like it might be suitable. And these days, it comes pre-seasoned - naturally non-stick - and with a little care, you can maintain the non-stick surface and have cookware that lasts a lifetime. I remember my grandmother had cast iron skillets, and so does my mom. So why didn't I try them before?

I decided to try one skillet and see how it worked for me. I actually found one at Walmart - and would you believe they're actually cheaper than the regular non-stick, and much, much, much cheaper than the hard-anodized stuff? I bought the 10 1/4 inch skillet, brought it home. Let me tell you - it rocks! Totally non-stick. A little heavy, but very, very handsome. Cleans up very easily with just hot water and a little brush action. You can even use a little mild detergent, but it can break down the seasoning, so they recommend you don't. It doesn't bother me - I'm used to using seasoned stoneware and not using detergent to clean it. You do have to dry it right away and then they recommend a very light layer of oil before putting it away. But all in all, I love the stuff. Mark got me the 8 inch skillet as one of my birthday presents this past weekend, and now I'm looking for a 12 inch griddle to replace my Teflon one.

With all the dangers lurking around, it feels good to know that at least SOMETHING is safe. I'm not going to run out and replace every pot I have right away - as my non-stick pieces wear out or show signs of age, I'll replace them one at a time.
Lodge cookware is even manufactured in the United States at a foundry in Tennessee that has been there over 100 years. You HAVE to feel good about that - the less products from China in the household, the better! They have some great pieces, too - covered dutch ovens and deep skillets, chef skillets, grill pans and griddles. I probably won't find a replacement for every one of my favorite cookware pieces, but I think I'll come close!

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