Friday, September 21, 2007

A Healthier Home Part IV - Cookware & Bakeware

When DH and I were choosing items for our wedding registry, we didn't give a thought to which things were safer and better for cooking. We picked whatever looked the coolest and nicest. The first time we ever questioned our cookware was when we were given a George Foreman indoor grill. We loved using it and used it often. Then we started hearing about how Teflon products were carcinogenic. We learned that while the nonstick Teflon coating is reportedly safe, if it chips at all it can get into the food and be ingested (and from my own experience I've found that Teflon seems to chip pretty easily). The FDA stated that these ingested chips wouldn't cause harm, but when have I ever fully trusted the FDA anyway, considering that they allow saccharin and aspartame on the market? We felt convinced that we should avoid Teflon just to be safe, so we got rid of our indoor grill (and missed it for a while...but got over it!).

I found several lists on the internet determining the pros and cons for different kinds of cookware and concluded that the best options are hard-anodized aluminum, cast iron, glass (Pyrex), and stoneware. I certainly was relieved to find out that, quite unknowingly, DH and I had chosen hard-anodized aluminum pots and pans by Calphalon for our wedding registry years before. It was nice to know these expensive items wouldn't have to be replaced.

But what about bakeware? I still had nonstick cookie sheets and a cheap, rusted cooling rack. There had to be something better for baking. I discussed this with my cousin and she mentioned that Pampered Chef has a line of stoneware products. A visit to their website confirmed this. I was giddy with excitement as I browsed all the options! My cousin then suggested I have a Pampered Chef party so that I could get discounts on the products I wanted. Genius! I did just that, and before long I was the happy owner of some lovely stoneware pieces, which have proven to be some of our favorite kitchen items.

We use our round mini bakers practically everyday. The round pizza stone gets used at least once a week, if not more. Any time I bake muffins I use the stone muffin pan. The fluted mini bundt pan is an item I especially love. I don't use it incredibly often, but when I do use it I have so much fun! I was a little intimidated at first, thinking stoneware would take a lot of maintenance, but I've found that it is easy to clean and the more you use it, the more it naturally become nonstick.

If you are interested in purchasing stoneware, I suggest making sure you are getting it from a reputable place, where they can state in writing that no lead is used. I know there are sometimes cute and inexpensive pans and dishes at discount stores. Unfortunately, these are more than likely laden with lead (the same goes for tableware, cups and mugs).

I don't own any cast iron items yet, but I plan to get a large cast iron griddle that can cover the length of two burners on my stove. With my family growing as it is, I'm going to need something big for when I cook multiple burgers, pancakes, french toast, grilled sandwiches, quesadillas and more!

7 comments:

CB said...

I love my muffin stone too! I use it once a week.

When you find a large cast iron skillet, post where you found it!

Kid Feed Mommy said...

Go to Amazon and do a search for "World Cuisine Large Oval Cast-Iron Grill." That's the one I have on my Amazon wishlist.

But I'm wondering if there's one out there that is pre-seasoned.

The Dykstra Family said...

I have 4 cast iron peices that I use all the time. Pratically every day! (One belonged to my grandma!) They are great. Mine were'nt pre-seasoned so it took a bit of work but it wasn't too bad. Lodge Cast Iron (http://www.lodgemfg.com/) has pre-seasoned peices. We opted to buy some peices from Oxman's Surplus that were'nt pre-seasoned because they were way less expensive, but I would love to get some Lodge peices. I even saw some at Costco this summer with all their camping stuff, and they were reasonably priced too. One of our most favorite recipes is a cornbread cooked in our large cast iron skillet. It's the best ever! (and no sugar whatsoever either!)

Kid Feed Mommy said...

Thanks for posting the link to Lodge cast iron. They have a two burner griddle that is $20 cheaper than the one I was looking at on Amazon!

It's so great to hear that you love your cast iron and use it everyday. AND, to think your grandma owned one of the pieces! I guess cast iron is worth the cost if it lasts three generations!

CB said...

Isn't it neat to think of some items being an investment?! So much of our stuff is "throwaway," but sounds like the cast iron is truly a keeper.

chewymama said...

I have a cast iron griddle like you described - that goes over my two burners. the only thing is that is smokes a lot and sets off my fire alarm LOL! another good choice is a high-quality enameled bakeware like what is offered on mercola.com I think thats my next purchase!

oh and i got my cast iron griddle (its reversible) at Cabelas :)

Kid Feed Mommy said...

I ordered my cast iron griddle from Lodge early this week. I think we should receive it next week some time. I can't wait to try it!

The enameled bakeware on Mercola looks really nice, Chewymama!