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Equipment & Gear: Common Materials of Cookware
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largejunglecat
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:55 am    Post subject: Stainless steel, oxide layer Reply with quote

The chromium-oxide layer on stainless steel is the result of oxygen in the air reacting with the chrome in the stainless steel alloy. Even if you did manage to remove it, the reaction is pretty fast (If you've ever welded on stainless steel you know how quickly the oxide layer returns), especially when the steel is heated, which is a regular occurence for a pot or a pan. Because this layer is pretty non-reactive, it actually serves to protect steel.

What makes stainless steel so much nicer than regular steels is that chromium oxide is not air-permeable, so only a very thin layer at the surface reacts. Iron-oxide, which developed when normal steel reacts in air, is much less attractive and is air permeable. As a result, a piece of mild steel can corrode all the way through.
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largejunglecat
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:26 am    Post subject: radiative heat transfer vs. looks/conductivity Reply with quote

Since this is cooking for engineers...

I was wondering a while back, while thinking of excuses not to clean the copper bottom of my cheap stainless steel pan, whether the better radiative heat transfer that I'm bound to get from the non-shiny, more darkly colored surface of my discolored copper is worth decrease in conductivity that I assume I will get due to the oxide layer that is causing the discoloration.

Obviosly this is assuming that I'm not concerned with the asthetic aspects of the pan, since shiny things are definitely prettier.

Anybody happen to know?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that I really enjoy cooking on my Calphalon commercial annodized alluminum pans. I got them for a real steal (90% off), but watch out for pans made in china rather than Toledo, OH. I've never used All-Clad as the price was prohibitive, and with a lifetime warranty on my Calphalon, I'll never need to.

As far as the Alzheimers thing goes. Studies have shown that the original premise was false. Doctors had been finding elevated levels of aluminum in the brains of Alzheimers patients so they naturally linked it to the disease. Now though, studies are showing that the Alzheimers may cause the elevated aluminum levels rather than the other way around, and that aluminum causes no harm to the body.
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ken mines
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:14 pm    Post subject: problems with non-stick pans and induction hob Reply with quote

recently installed a Neff induction cooker and hob. New stainless steel pans work well, but two non-stick frying pans take for ever to heat up - in fact the smaller pan which we bought for omelette cooking is useless for this - as well as long time to heat it never gets to a high enough heat to cook quickly, as an omelette should. Has anyone else had problems with non-stick and induction (the pans are magnetic and are being sold for induction use)
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 7:24 pm    Post subject: aluminum and disease - rubbish Reply with quote

Most antacides are compunds of aluminum (eg. aluminum hydroxide). These have been sold for a long time - they're a standard therapy for heartburn, no-body considers them dangersous, and the amount of aluminum you actually swallow with antacids (excluding the calcium ones, like Tums) is at least 2 orders of magnitude greater than ANYTHING you'd ever get from cooking in an aluminum pot - like ten years exposure per teaspoon. So, if aluminum predisposed to alzheimers, people who take antacids would all be brain dead. Aluminum is HARMLESS.
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Joe
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:03 am    Post subject: yummy nonstick coating and working with bad cooktops Reply with quote

I was worried about this for a while when my mom continued to use a pan which was peeling. I did some research and found out dupont got teflon classified as a food additive. Though I personally stay a way from nonstick it isn't for any safety reasons.

Also, I have a horrible cook top in my apartment and often find myself doing dishes requiring searing. I can get around this using cast iron which holds enough heat that I can finish searing before the thing noticeably cools down.
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TruthFinder
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:53 am    Post subject: Aluminum Toxicity Reply with quote

Aluminum toxicity is a recognized medical condition.

http://www.healthy.net/asp/templates/article.asp?pagetype=article&id=1958

With use of aluminum pots and pans and aluminum foil, some aluminum leaches into food, especially with acid foods such as tomatoes or rhubarb. Cooking with fluoridated water in aluminum cookware increases the aluminum in the water and the food; still, the amounts we obtain in this manner are small in comparison with those from additives. Aluminum salts used in antiperspirants are not a major contaminant either, unless these products are overused. (Aerosol sprays, however, should be avoided for environmental toxicity reasons.) Antacids containing aluminum hydroxide can be a big source if they are taken regularly or abused, as antacids sometimes are. Some children's aspirins have been found to contain aluminum as well.

http://www.doctoryourself.com/alzheimer.html

A single aluminum coffee-pot was shown to have invisibly added over 1600 mcg aluminum per liter of water. This is 3,200% over the World Health Organizations set goal of 50 mcg per liter. Aluminum is known to build up in the bodily tissues of persons with Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin. Aluminum is also a component of so- called silver amalgam dental fillings. Composite (white) fillings do not contain aluminum (or mercury, for that matter.) Most baking powder contains aluminum. Rumford brand baking powder does not, however. Neither does baking soda, which is a different substance entirely.

FACT: More than half of nursing home beds are occupied by AD [Alzheimers Disease] patients.

FACT: Alzheimers disease is the Number 4 Killer of Americans, causing over 100,000 deaths each year in the USA alone.
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TruthFinder
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:04 am    Post subject: Teflon Toxicity Reply with quote

http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/teflon4.htm

In new tests conducted by a university food safety professor, a generic non-stick frying pan preheated on a conventional, electric stovetop burner reached 736F in three minutes and 20 seconds, with temperatures still rising when the tests were terminated. A Teflon pan reached 721F in just five minutes under the same test conditions (See Figure 1), as measured by a commercially available infrared thermometer. DuPont studies show that the Teflon offgases toxic particulates at 446F. At 680F Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses. At temperatures that DuPont scientists claim are reached on stovetop drip pans (1000F), non-stick coatings break down to a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas phosgene.

http://ww3.komotv.com/Global/story.asp?S=3615478

A $5 billion class-action lawsuit is being filed against DuPont for failing to warn consumers of the dangers of an ingredient allegedly contained in Teflon, lawyers said Tuesday.

Two Florida law firms told the Associated Press they were filing the federal suit on behalf of 14 people in eight states who bought cookware coated with non-stick Teflon. It reportedly is made with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which earlier this month the U.S. Environmental Protection agency said is "likely" to cause cancer in people, the AP said.

The plaintiffs contend DuPont has known for more than 20 years that the product caused cancer in lab animals, according to the AP. A company spokesman said federal tests "show that nonstick coatings used for cookware sold under the Teflon brand, do not contain any PFOA." Spokesman Cliff Webb added that DuPont would "vigorously defend itself against the allegations."
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guest
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 12:56 pm    Post subject: surgical grade stainless steel cookware vs. Calphalon Reply with quote

I went to a "dinner party" that was really a sales pitch by a company called Saladmaster that makes surgical grade stainless steel waterless cooking pots and pans. The sales rep maintained that 1) this type of steel was purer than the standard 18/10 found in cheaper pots and thus wouldn't leach any nickel into your food and 2) that metals leach into your food from our Calphalon pots. To prove this later assertion, he boiled water with a teaspon of baking soda in both pots. The water from his pots tasted like water with baking soda but the water from the Calphalon had a horrible metallic taste. Based almost solely on this test our neighbor bought a set which STARTS at $3,000.

So, does nikel leach into your food from cheaper stainless steel pans and does aluminum leach in from Calphalon? Why did the water taste so much worse out of the Calphalon and what can it mean other than that we tasted the metals from the Calphalon pot?
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TruthFinder
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject: Teflon Toxicity Reply with quote

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-teflon28jan28,0,1542186.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials

EDITORIALS: THE SATURDAY PAGE THE EPA FOLLIES
Sticking up for health
WHEN IT COMES TO TEFLON, the Environmental Protection Agency is living up to its name. By calling this week for the reduction and eventual elimination of a potentially dangerous chemical used to make Teflon, the agency has shown it is willing to protect global wildlife and human health.

Unlike Teflon presidents or Teflon sports figures, Teflon itself has sticky health issues that refuse to slide away. A troubling compound used to make the slick stuff, called PFOA, is found in 95% of Americans and has been detected around the world, even finding its way into polar bears in Greenland, Alaska and Canada.

It's not clear how this chemical finds its way into the environment; it's removed from Teflon and other products during the manufacturing process. But PFOA is practically ubiquitous, used to make waterproof clothing, phone cables, building materials and more. In animal tests, it has been found to cause birth defects and has been linked to cancer and immune suppression, among other health problems. It stays in the human body for years and is passed on to a fetus during pregnancy.

Last year, the EPA went aggressively after DuPont Co., saying the chemical powerhouse that pioneered the use of PFOA had been hiding the substance's health risks for close to 25 years and had failed to report that PFOA had seeped into residential water supplies in Ohio and West Virginia. DuPont agreed last month to pay the largest administrative fine in the EPA's history: $16.5 million.

It would take years for the federal agency to ban PFOA; instead, in a rare move for the EPA under any administration, it called for preventing its release into the environment. Releases would be cut by 95% by 2010 and eliminated by 2015, it appears the eight major companies that use the chemical are agreeing to go along.

Before anyone slaps a halo on the EPA's head, it's worth noting that the agency is comfortably following a parade that was headed in this direction. DuPont has agreed to pay a settlement of up to $342 million in the water-contamination case incentive enough to control its release. The company reports that it already has cut emissions of PFOA over the last few years by 94%.

Still, EPA officials made the right move. It's good to see the agency back in action; here's hoping it lasts.
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baula
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:54 pm    Post subject: Costco Kirkland Signature Stainless Set w/Bonded Copper Base Reply with quote

Yesterday at Costco I saw the following 13-pc set:

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=10048379&whse=BC&topnav=&browse=&s=1

I might prefer the tempered glass lids over stainless to view the cooking action, but my web research hasn't unearthed anything close in either 13-pc sets or copper bonding to this set @ 199.99. Closest ones are Emeril or Cuisinart on Amazon, both of which have less or zero copper and fewer pieces for the same price. No idea of the precise thickness on the stainless-alu-copper-alu-stainless layers, but I can guess no less than industry standard from the physical heft of in-store demo pieces and general online discussions.

Does anyone here have experience or an opinion on the value and quality of this as a jack-of-all trades starter set? I've generally had very good results with Kirkland private label products, save the reduced prestige from the brands they compete with head-to-head, but I could care less about the brand if the goods are legit and cost 50% less than the equivalent.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
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guest
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:09 pm    Post subject: teflon scare Reply with quote

Regarding the health concerns about teflon, I can personally attest to its byproduct fumes being toxic as it nearly killed my African Grey parrot. I was heating a pot of water, got distracted and the water evaporated which caused the teflon coating to get hot. I myself noticed my throat feeling acrid, but the poor bird was puffed up, breathing with great difficulty and listing. He was so ill, he didn't mind me putting my hands around him to place him in his carrier for an emergency trip to the vet. My dear parrot survived, and fortunately being an engineer I could afford the three days of vet services that totaled over $700. After that incident, all teflon coated cookware and ustensils were tossed out. I have a gas stove, so cast iron, pyrex, stoneware and enamel (graniteware) cookware along with wooden and stainless utensils are used without adverse effects. Oh, just for the record, the parrot is definitely a 'boy', I had him sexed via blood analysis when I first got him. Engineers like to know everything! I'm like the fourth or fifth owner but he's a lot of fun. If anyone is interested about parrot itelligence, google Dr. Irene Pepperberg who has an African Grey named Alex. Trust me, Greys are very smart, so please if your going to have birds as household pets, then get rid of your teflon cookware and utensils. All it takes is one careless moment and your feathered companion might not be so lucky to survive fumes from overheated teflon.
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donandmel2
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:57 am    Post subject: Teflon vs. Anodized Aluminum Reply with quote

So, is there a difference between "Anodized Aluminum" and "Teflon?" Is Anodized Aluminum subject to the same health risks as Teflon?
Mel
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 8:26 am    Post subject: Re: Teflon vs. Anodized Aluminum Reply with quote

donandmel2 wrote:
So, is there a difference between "Anodized Aluminum" and "Teflon?" Is Anodized Aluminum subject to the same health risks as Teflon?

Anodized aluminum and teflon are two different things.

Anodized Aluminum is a type of aluminum that has been treated to provide an thin but extremely hard aluminum hydrate layer. This layer is non-reactive, so it does not have the downsides of plain aluminum (which may react with acidic foods changing their color and taste). When cooking, treat anodized aluminum pans as if it were a (black) stainless steel clad aluminum pan. It is possible to put a nonstick layer (such as Teflon) onto an anodized aluminum pan, but I don't really see the point - you'd be covering up the ultra-hard layer that was put on.

Think of Teflon as the clear coat of your car's paint job. It makes the surface nice and smooth and slippery so it's easy to clean off. They can put a coating of Teflon onto basically any cookware material that you can scuff up in manufacturing - stainless steel, aluminum, and sometimes even titanium (for lightweight camping).

Calphalon has a newer line of pans that they call infused anodized aluminum that is supposedly nonstick without the use of Teflon. For some, it seems to work magically well - sticking to produce fond when they want it to and releasing at just the right time. For others, it's just a pain to work with. Your milage may vary.

So far, my favorite non-stick (Teflon) pans are made by Scanpan. (I use this 9-1/2 in. fry pan whenever I make eggs and other "sticky" foods. I use stainless clad aluminum for just about everything else.)
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rosemarygrace
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:51 pm    Post subject: cookware...Lifetime Reply with quote

I loved the article.

Do you have an opinion on "waterless" cookware. Kuhn Rikon and Lifetime carry this stuff. It is VERY expensive, but if you ever sat through a Lifetime Song and Dance at a home show, you would think you are actually killing your family if you don't buy this stuff.

Please advise if you or anyone out there is familiar with this stuff.

Thanks much.
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