Friday, January 9, 2015

FARMACY: COOKWARE



After my post on what oils to use when cooking, numerous people have additionally requested a post on the best cookware to use. This post is also for one of my physical therapists who had asked me a while back about what cookware to buy in place of her Teflons that she was ready to get rid of. So, I have curated a list of cookware for you that I believe to be the healthiest alternatives to non-stick / Teflon pans that leach PFOAs [perfluorooctanoic acid], which are both complicated to pronounce + for your body. Indeed, PFOA is toxic chemical that is a carcinogen. You can read more about PFAOs + their effects here as well as here. Teflon + nonstick pans also release toxic fumes when heated.

I suggest you simply throw out any of these nonstick cookwares + buy new ones from the list below. Some of these pots + pans are on the higher price range, but I firmly believe that anything that has to do with our health is an investment that is worth the pretty penny . . .

CAST IRON
There is no cookware in my opinion that cooks as well as cast iron does, espceially if you're trying to attain a grilled flavour in the foods you're cooking. The fact that cast iron has been used as cookware for thousands of years can attest to this. It conducts heat very well + is perfect for recipes that calls for the transferring of food from stove to oven. One thing to be cautious about with cast iron cookware, however, is if you have high blood iron levels. This is because cast iron cookware leach inorganic iron into food. This should not be a concern though for people who are low in iron or who have healthy levels of it.

Many people don't want to bother with cast iron because they have heard that it's high maintenance. I don't think this is necessarily true but it does require some maintenance. You must never use soap or detergent on your cast iron cookware. A cast iron pan needs to be "seasoned" by being swished in water after cooking, coated with oil [high heat oils such as coconut oil, tallow, or lard from grass-fed sources], then put in the oven for 300 degrees for around two hours. Once in the oven, it needs to be taken out periodically [around three times] to be wiped + re-oiled. So, ok, it might be a little high maintenance, but the flavour you obtain when cooking with cast iron is worth all the [pun intended] elbow grease . . . 

budget | Lodge 12'' skillet
luxury | Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron 12'' Frying Pan

ENAMEL
Enamel tends to be more expensive than cast iron, but its higher price point reflects itself through its incredible stable heat retention. I think it's the closest one can come to non-stick cookware without the use of chemical-leeching Teflons. The best enamel cookware is cast iron enamel, but stainless steel or ceramic are just as good of an option.

The easy clean up + non-stick surface of enamel also lends itself to be a great cookware option for braising or recipes that call for slow cooking + a stable temperature. 

luxury | Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 11 3/4'' Skillet or Le Creuset Stoneware Baker

STAINLESS-STEEL
Stainless steel cookware is my go-to for when I want to quickly whip up something, whether that is sauéeing, searing meats, or warming up broths/soups. They're easy to clean + heat up much more quickly than enamel or cast iron although stainless steel doesn't retain + conduct heat as well. Another drawback to some [but not for me as I do enjoy cooking with plenty of fats] is that stainless steel cookware does require an adequate amount of fat to obtain a non-stick surface, but this should not be a problem with the flavour that the use of good fats provide . . .

luxury |All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless-Steel Fry Pan

Happy cooking!