I used to use non-stick cookware - seems everyone did - from electric skillets to pressure cookers to skillets and pans, it seemed everything was non-stick coated, even storage containers. Teflon used to be the standard and has proven to be a terrible invention for food - it would break apart and get eaten with your food.

Remember how you were warned to not keep birds in the kitchen? That's because non-stick fumes would kill them. Remind you of the canary going in from of the miners to make sure air was ok to breathe? If canary died the miners went no further. Why should we breathe the non-stick fumes? Now there are other non-stick options, but I still don't trust them - I've had other types but they all break down and get into the food.

I use stainless steel, glass and cast iron to cook with. It's not so difficult to season the stainless steel or cast iron cookware - I don't have issues with food sticking. Glass is good for boiling or baking - not for frying, which we don't do much of. I stay away from aluminum - it can leach into your food - and aluminum is linked to health issues (Alzheimers, for one).

For cast iron - scrub it clean. Use salt to break up any sticking particles and scrub them off. Then put a couple drops of oil - I use flax oil. Wipe it around the entire surface and heat it in the oven (or I just heat it on the stove at high temperature for several minutes) for awhile at high temp, 375 or so, for perhaps ½ hour. I wipe out the oil, as it has seeped into the pores of the iron, and you should be able to see a nice sheen. Let it sit to cool. This is called seasoning the pan. Iron will seep into your food, as you cook on it, which is a good thing. Once seasoned correctly, it should act like a non-stick pan. I season it after every use, after cleaning. Cast iron has the best heat distribution - it generally heats evenly.

Glass is a good option for heating water and cooking things that need an inert vessel. I won't use anything but glass for certain types of cooking. It's not non-stick, so I defer sticky cooking to the cast iron.

Stainless steel is also able to be seasoned, in similar way as cast iron. Be sure to put oil or butter down onto the pan to warm up before putting other food on the pan, so less of a chance to stick. When cooking, take a good spatula and move your food once it's set, as in meat or pancakes. Once food is loosened from the pan you can keep it from sticking by keeping it moving. This also works for cast iron. Stainless steel has recently come under fire for leaching aluminum and other metals into the food - like nickel and chromium (though these two metals don't harm anyone, unkess allergic to them - like nickel, which I am). They should be fine unless scratched so that leaching can then occur. Try not to pit or scratch your SS cookware.

I occasionally use anodized aluminum pans - only once in awhile as I am not convinced of its safety - though better than regular aluminum. Anodized aluminum has been dipped into a coating that is said to prevent leaching of aluminum, but as always, the coating can wear down.


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