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Equipment & Gear: Common Materials of Cookware
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 6:34 pm    Post subject: waterless cookware Reply with quote

I have the Saladmaster stuff that was handed down to me and am just learning to cook the right way on it. I think it's great! I'll say my grandmother who is 91 is as clear-headed as anyone I know is the one who handed my set down to me. I believe that the aluminum in the pans really does cause problems. It's just that it takes a lifetime to show up and so the lab tests don't show it. By the way they do have to take Teflon off the market by 2015, so the tests have shown something. I'm sold on the waterless cookware--except I haven't figured out how to scramble eggs without the non-stick coating yet. Any advice?
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cook in CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:27 pm    Post subject: teflon and induction burners Reply with quote

Hi there,
Can someone explain to me--in lay terms (I didn't do so well in science in school!)--why teflon pans don't heat up on induction burners? Everytime I put a teflon pan on an induction burner, the burner turns off. It's a great mystery to me!
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Michael Chu

Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1654
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:39 pm    Post subject: Re: teflon and induction burners Reply with quote

cook in CA wrote:
Hi there,
Can someone explain to me--in lay terms (I didn't do so well in science in school!)--why teflon pans don't heat up on induction burners? Everytime I put a teflon pan on an induction burner, the burner turns off. It's a great mystery to me!

Your teflon pan is most likely made out of aluminum. Induction cooktops work only on cookware that is affected by a magenetic field. An easy test to see if you cookware will work on an induction cooktop is to take a magnet (like a refrigerator magnet) and see if it will stick to the bottom. High quality stainless steel clad aluminum (such as All-Clad but not Farberware or Calphalon's new line of cladware) and cast iron are your most likely candidates.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 3:03 am    Post subject: Cooking with Saladmaster Reply with quote

For the eggs, the key is keeping the heat around medium and making sure the pan is warm before you put the eggs in (drop in a drop of water and if the water rolls around its hot). You can cook without adding anything to the pan, but if you want to make it easier, a little bit of butter makes the pan totally nonstick. We have had Saladmaster for a few months and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to try and eat healthier. It is very high quality cookware and will last a lifetime. However, if you aren't going to buy into the lower heat waterless concept (which preserves vitamins and minerals) you are simply buying good cookware. The idea is to actually buy into the concept of how to cook for better health.
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Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:09 am    Post subject: Re: Aluminum Toxicity Reply with quote

slightly off-topic, I'm guilty of continuing it, but I didn't initiate it here . . . .

TruthFinder wrote:
on Jan 6, 2006--Aluminum toxicity is a recognized medical condition.
. . . .. Aluminum is also a component of so- called silver amalgam dental fillings. Composite (white) fillings do not contain aluminum (or mercury, for that matter.) . . . .

Well, what can I say. I am a Prosthodontist. I am an anal, and ultra-compulsive dental bioengineer. A Prosthodontist is a dental specialist who has spent three years in an accredited program after four years of dental school studying the restoration and replacement of teeth, the construction of fixed and removable tooth and implant supported prostheses, cosmetic dentistry, and is an expert in dental biomaterials. The earliest silver amalgam was made in the early 1800's, but the most similar predecessor of modern silver amalgam was invented in 1895 by GV Black--and this was the basis for all modern amalgams. The most modern/currently used silver amalgams, produced by numerous manufacturers (let's say after the mid 1970's) is a eutectic alloy of silver, tin, copper, palladium, indium and mercury. A eutectic alloy is a mixture of substances in fixed proportions that melts and solidifies at a single temperature that is lower than the melting points of the separate constituents, or of any other mixture of them. To my very best knowledge, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANY ALUMINUM IN ANY DENTAL/SILVER AMALGAM. If however you have real information, such as a product insert (always supplied) which contains the exact ingredients accompanying the specific brand of amalgam you are referring to, NOT something cut and pasted from some ridiculous website, then I am interested in the reference. If not, what I say here is the total fact on that matter. Can you tell this is a sore point with me?

Next, while resin composite fillings (tooth colored composites) do not have mercury which many people are so unnecessarily concerned about especially since the advent of high copper and palladium containing alloys in the mid 1970's, let me be the first to inform the wholistic lovers of composites that the epoxide resin component of the composite contains compounds very similar to/congeners of estrogens. About 10-15 years ago this was brought to light, but no one wanted to hear this because everyone wanted tooth colored fillings. SO . . . all you people who want really fine dentistry, you have two main choices--gold or porcelain. The finest material to use in small cavities would be compacted gold foil, followed by cast gold inlays for most situations and then gold or porcelain fused to gold crowns, which are the benchmark ("gold standard") by which all other materials are judged. While porcelain and other ceramic tooth colored materials look natural, they tend to wear down the opposing teeth faster than another tooth or gold chewing against it. Furthermore, all-ceramic/non-metallic restorations generally need to be cemented/"bonded" by a resin composite cement or else they break. So, you can't totally avoid the composite here either, and it doesn't seem to be a problem either, although you can minimize it's surface exposure by using the material as a cement, rather than the bulk restorative material. Now that you know that nothing is perfect, you can sit down and try to decide where the real dangers (if any) really are and what you would like in your own mouth. You will get more mercury from eating large fish--at the top of the food chain, because heavy metals tend to be cumulative in tissues--than from silver amalgam fillings.

I'm sorry about the tirade, but there is so much bad information out there that I am bombarded with on a daily basis that I had to set this part straight, hopefully falling on intelligent ears.

As far as the "purity" of the special cookware mentioned by a guest on Jan 24. 2006, that is "purer" than 18/10 in cheaper pots and pans that a guest poster was concerned would leach nickel, let me say that cookware and flatware comes in 18/8, 18/10 and rarely 18/12--the best. The first number is the amount of chromium that is contained in the stainless, i.e., 18 is 18% chromium. The second number is the amount of nickel, i.e., 8 stands for 8% nickel. So 18/8 means that this stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. 18/10 is 18% chromium and 10% nickel. The higher the numbers the more corrosion resistant the material. 18/0 is a misleading designation. Both 18/8 and 18/10 contain nickel and are part of the grade family "300 series" stainless. 18/0 means that there is 18% chromium but zero nickel. When there is no nickel the stainless grade family is the "400 series". 400 series are not as corrosion resistant as the 300 series and are magnetic, where the 300 series are non-magnetic. Therefore the more expensive/better/shinier stainless steel alloys have MORE nickel. Those alloys with more nickel are more corrosion resistant and have a brighter shine/luster. Regarding the term "purity", if the cookware the guy was selling was 100.000% pure lead, it would be very pure, but I wouldn't want to eat from it. Using the word "purity" is VERY misleading.

Regarding Micheal Chu's comments on June 7, 2006 on induction cookware, as he stated, the cookware must be affected by magnetic fields to heat up. Therefore, they (the All-Clad and others) must be 400 series stainless steels OR be 300 series and have a different magnetically inductive meterial in the base of their cookware. Maybe that information is a proprietary secret. It's a pity you can't use tinned copper--generally recognized as the best cookware on an induction stovetop.

The aluminum in cookware is another discussion, and I don't want to get into here, but I will say aluminum as a cause of Alzheimer's Disease is very controversial and definitely NOT proven. Some researchers believe the aluminum is a CAUSE, while others feel the accumulation of aluminum is the RESULT of the disease. Since we are on the topic of metals and Alzheimer's, zinc is another metal being looked at as a cause. Try doing some research in the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. The verdict is definitely NOT IN on aluminum, in fact there are many other suspected causes which have more evidence than aluminum.

Since concern about aluminum in antacids was mentioned in another post, here is a list of aluminum containing antacids:

Di-Gel liquid
Gaviscon tablets
Gelusil liquid
Gelusil tablets
Extra strength Maalox
Mylanta & Mylanta Double Strength liquid & tablets
Tempo Soft Antacid

These antacids are Aluminum-free antacids:

Di-Gel tablets
Maalox caplets
Mylanta gelcaps
Rolaids tablets
Tums E-X

Thank you, and have a nice day! Smile
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Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:12 am    Post subject: Re: waterless cookware Reply with quote

nurmich wrote:
. . . . . By the way they do have to take Teflon off the market by 2015, so the tests have shown something. I'm sold on the waterless cookware--except I haven't figured out how to scramble eggs without the non-stick coating yet. Any advice?

The statement by nurmich (April 21, 2006) is not correct. Teflon will be here.

Teflon PTFE and e-PTFE ---- expanded PTFE (Gore-Tex) saves lives. The cooking counterpart is OK too. e-PTFE (Gore-Tex) is used in surgery in several medical fields. There are many different configurations of Gore-Tex used in surgery. Google it. It is notably used in cardiovascular surgery for heart and great vessel grafts and repairs and in oral surgery bone grafting procedures. What is to be eliminated is the Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) from factory emissions and finished products by 2015.

If you don't like Teflon, you can always use SwissDiamond non-stick cookware. It is not a teflon product. It is VERY good but fairly expensive. I like it a lot.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:04 am    Post subject: Cooking with Gas Reply with quote

I thoroughly enjoyed the article and all the comments, however I haven't seen any address the appropriateness of the heat source to the cooking material. We have natural gas and some of the clad cookware is separating. (We're using Macy's Tools of the Trade Grand Prix, about 20-25 years old) For replacing it, I've seen some cookware with maximum temperatures posted, yet the fire itself is hot, even at low temps. Granted, I don't expect to be cooking for another 25 years, but I don't want to keep buying cookware either. From the post's I've decided stainless clad aluminum or anodized would be best, but how would the temp or gas affect the wear?
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Helen Wills

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:50 pm    Post subject: Teflon ?? Reply with quote

My Husband just purchased - Pyrex Non-Stick Cookie sheets.
I do not want to use ' Teflon ' - nor is the word used anywhere on the labeling.
Iwould like to know what is used on these sheets and why the Canadian Government allows the product to be sold without clear definition.
Can anyone provide knowledge on this substance?

Thanks Anger
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:20 pm    Post subject: cuisnart/all clad comparison Reply with quote

I am searching for a comparison of performance between the all clad line and the cuisnart tri-ply 18/10 stainless cookware. It appears on initial comparison that the construction is essentially the same. The all clad is significantly more expensive, however, making me wonder what the inherent differences may be in specifications and performance. Can anyone provide comparative feedback?
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Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:07 am    Post subject: Re: cuisnart/all clad comparison Reply with quote

dg wrote:
I am searching for a comparison of performance between the all clad line and the cuisnart tri-ply 18/10 stainless cookware. It appears on initial comparison that the construction is essentially the same. The all clad is significantly more expensive, however, making me wonder what the inherent differences may be in specifications and performance. Can anyone provide comparative feedback?


There might be some minor difference in performance that could be detected if Julia Child rose from the dead and cooked with them side-by-side, but there is not that much difference in most quality tri-ply cookware. Where there IS a difference is in Cuisinart's approach to marketing. They often change the design and specs of their cookware to update the fashion appeal of their lines, and when they do, you're not able to get the former version for very long. This makes a warranty less meaningful than most of us would like it to be. Let's say that five years from now, you have trouble with a Cuisinart skillet. You got a "limited lifetime warranty" with it, so you're fine, right? Well, maybe not, because if Cuisinart has discontinued your cookware in favour of something else that has become fashionable, there may be no replacement stock with which to honour your warranty claim. You'll get an offer to replace with a "comparable" piece, or you'll get some other offer. What you won't get is a new piece just like the old one. Cuisinarts is in the process of phasing out its "Everyday" cookware, the classic copper-stainless sandwich construction, probably due to the rising cost of copper. All Cuisinart lines now feature aluminium in the sandwich. If you valued the copper sandwich enough to pay well for it, would you be happy with an aluminium-sandwich piece to replace it under warranty?

All-Clad is also not a very consumer-friendly company, from what I've heard from friends still in the biz (I was in the kitchenwares business for six years), and the stuff costs what a mortgage payment used to. If you would like to save a lot of money over the price of All-Clad, and get essentially the same quality and performance, I would suggest you take a look at Tramontina's Tri-Ply line. It's so close to All-Clad you can hardly tell the difference in some pieces. Tramontina is a Brazilian company that now makes cookware in the United States (they bought the old Mirro plant in Manitowoc, WI for the purpose- nice to see a foreign company bring jobs HERE for a change, eh?), and in China.

If you want to see some Tramontina Tri-Ply, with pricing, go to: You should be aware that Tramontina, like a lot of other companies, makes several lines of cookware, with Tri-Ply being their highest quality. Be absolutely certain that any Tramontina you buy is Tri-Ply, not one of their lesser lines like Sterling. Be especially careful on eBay; some ignorant sellers (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here) describe all Tramontina as tr-ply, because of the three-layer sandwich on the bottom of the cheaper lines. ONLY the Tri-Ply line has the same straight-gauge construction as All-Clad, with a layer of aluminium between two layers of stainless, that goes all the way up the sides of every piece.

Good luck!
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:51 pm    Post subject: A couple of things to keep in mind Reply with quote

Remember that different kinds of cooking require different characteristics. There's no one perfect material.

For sauteeing and especially for delicate sauces that require control, nothing is better than copper, for its fast response.

But fast response is a problem for other things. If you want to deeply brown or blacken a large piece of meat, you want heat retention. The best material is probably heavy cast iron, with its high density and high specific heat. The pan will maintain high temperatures even after the room temperature food is thrown onto it. Heavy, slow response materials like enameled cast iron also work especially well for slow simmering (I don't fully understand the physics behind this, but a couple of big batches of stew or soup in a dutch oven will sell you on these qualities).

A minor issue with copper is its poor ability to keep food warm. That fast response means your sauce will cool rapidly as soon as the fire goes out. If you use copper sauce pans (lucky you if you do) it's worthwhile to adopt professional techniques like a bain marie (water bath) to hold the food at temperature, if you can't serve immediately.

Heavy aluminum cookware comes somewhere in the middle and is a good general purpose solution.

Surface material is also worth strong consideration. Like most cooks, I'm starting to prefer stainless steel interiors for most pans. It does almost everything well, and its bright color makes it easy to judge the state of carmelization (technically the Maillard reaction) of pan juices. Very important in any kind of sauteeing and roasting. Clad metal comes to the resucue: 18-10 stainless lined copper or aluminum.

I like my anodized aluminum pans, too, but the surface is definitely harder to use, and ultimately doesn't hold up as well.

If you cook a lot of eggs, you should have at least one non-stick pan. Get a cheap one. They don't stay nonstick very long. Even the ones warranted forever are only warranted to keep the surface intact ... they say nothing about how well it will actually work.

Naturally nonstick surfaces like seasoned spun steel or cast iron work great for things like fish, but beware of using for omlettes ... your breakfast will taste like fish, fried dumplings, or whatever else you cooked in there last night.

If you choose clad or laminated aluminum, keep in mind that pans vary greatly in overall thickness and thermal mass. Pans that look the same will have very different cooking characteristics. There isn't always a right answer as to what's better ... what you cook, how you cook, and what you're used to will play into this. Best to borrow some pans before investing.

And don't buy a set. False economy. Get what you need, in the material you need, one at a time.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:12 pm    Post subject: one more thing about copper Reply with quote

You won't really get the benefits of copper from cheap copper cookware (pans with thin disks of copper on the bottom, clad pans with a thin layer like the all-clad line, or the french "tourist copper" pans with 1.6 mm thickness and brass handles.

Some of these pans may be decent, but if you want the benefits of professional copper cookware, you need the real deal: 2.5+ mm thickness, usually clad with 18-10 stainless, almost always with a cast iron or stainless steel handle.

The more traditional pans are tin-lined. These offer some advantages (slightly faster response, and they are re-tinable) but many disadvantages (fragile surface, and low melting point of tin makes many kinds of cooking impossible).

The brands I can vouch for are Mauvielle, Bourgeat, and Falk.

Copper prices are ridiculously high right now.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:04 am    Post subject: Best pot for stews & soups? Reply with quote

Hi all,

I was wondering if you could recommend a safe but low maintenance pot (~ 10 quarts) for making beef stews, soups, and other slow-cooking foods?

Your advice is greatly appreciated (I've been pulling my hair out trying to decide)!
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If 8.5 quarts is enough, I recommend SwissDiamond. I love my SwissDiamond stock pot. Their non-stick surface can be used to brown meats in the pot prior to the remainder of the cooking as a stew, it is a durable non-stick and nothing cleans up easier. By the way, for the teflon haters, the non-stick is NOT teflon.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:09 am    Post subject: waterless cookware Reply with quote

I have been researching cookware for weeks, and I can't seem to make a decision. My mom has waterless cookware from Health Craft and loves it. However, I do not want to pay the high price. I keep finding other waterless cookware sets that are a lot cheaper. Two are Vapo-Seal and Maxam's World's Finest 17 pc. set (KT17ULTRA). Does anyone know anything about these? Are there any waterless cookware sets with stainless steel handles at a reasonable price (most seem to have the phenolic handles)? I love the looks of All-Clad, but I don't think it is stackable like other waterless cookware sets. I would also prefer not to pay that much. Any suggestions?
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