In the last post, we talked about the 5 pots and pans that you should have in your kitchen. Interestingly, in the wake after the blog post was published, I received some enquiries from concerned friends who wanted to know more about safe cookware materials. WHAT? MY POT IS LEACHING TOXIC METAL INTO MY FOOD?!!! Okay... so maybe they weren't THAT melodramatic (yes yes... emphasis added by me). So I got into a research frenzy mood on cookware materials. What are the safe pots and pans to buy in this vast sea of kitchenware? What material should my pots and pans be made of? What I found was this very attractive infographic that talked about the pros and cons of the various cookware material from http://www.visualistan.com/2015/04/from-cast-iron-to-stainless-steel-infographic.html (infographic below).
The only drawback? I found it very difficult to compare the cookware materials from a shopper's point of view. I wanted to have a summary of all the properties of the various materials at a glance. So I did what every kiasu Singaporean would do. I tabulated the properties, pros and cons of the cookware material into a table. Thank you Singapore for instilling into me the never-say-die attitude when comparing "value-for-money". Have a look at my table and let me know what you think of my ranking of the cookware materials (hint: If you did read my previous post, you would notice that I am obviously biased towards cast iron).
Here's my Singaporean research for you. To summarise if you weren't aware already, teflon coated pans have cancer risks, aluminium pans might result in a risk of getting Alzheimer's, Stainless Steel might result in Nickel allergies when scratched, and Copper will lead to copper toxicity similarly if the lining on top of your copper pans are scratched. If this news weren't bleak enough as it is, you might want to spend another ten min of your time reading this link http://www.care2.com/greenliving/dangers-of-cookware-safe-alternatives.html just to add to your anxiety. HELP!
After weighing the pros and cons, here are our recommended cookware materials in order of ranking (factoring costs, heat conductivity, health, neutrality, weight and durability). Sidenote: I never knew there were so many points to note just for purchasing pots and pans for the kitchen until now.
Well, I guess it's little surprise that Cast Iron would be so popular in today's day and age. After all, it's been a popular material for hundreds of years. It's cheap, non-toxic and makes a terrific steak. If it weren't for its weight and high maintenance, I'm sure it would be much more popular than today's Teflon-coated pans!
I cannot recommend enough for you guys to start looking at getting a cast iron pan. My life has been changed! Here's 2 recommendations you can look at (we love Amazon! Free shipping to Singapore for orders above USD$125!)- Steal vs Splurge!
Splurge: USD $190 Le Creuset Skillet
So after my incessant gushing over the cast iron pan, of course you must learn how to care for it like your $300,000 BMW Car a heirloom that can be passed down to your next generation. Here's a nice infographic on maintaining it from http://thesouthernlivingyear.blogspot.sg/2014/09/cooking-like-nanny.html
I personally don't follow all the commandments (AHEM) but it's because in the cast iron pan world, there's so many debates on whether to wash or not to wash (I do wash!), to season with lard or vegetable oil or coconut oil (I season with linseed oil) etc. Just remember to dry your cast iron always so it won't rust and in time to come you will have a naturally non-stick, non-toxic pan!
And how can I leave you hanging like this? Here's a step by step guide to cooking your first steak in your new cast-iron pan (after seasoning of course!). You'll notice there's no need for oil because the fats of the meat will provide enough oil! Enjoy and let me know how this steak turns out!