Not sticking with non-stick (Day 61)…

frying panAlmost everyone I know uses a non-stick frying pan in the kitchen. When it comes to stuff like omelettes and stir-fries, they seem to make the most sense. But they also make for an unintentional amuse-bouche of Teflon, which isn’t so yummy, unless you’ve cultivated a taste for carcinogens — and you know if pet budgies are dying from the perfluorinated fumes, it can’t be good.

What does this have to do with the environment and making green changes, you ask? Nothing much. I just take a sick pleasure in ruining people’s frittatas.

Kidding, of course. I’ve actually decided to put away my Teflon frying pan for good not because of how toxic it may be but because I’ve noticed it takes at least twice as long to heat up as my stainless steel one does. And, the more I’ve been using the latter, the more I’ve realized that it really doesn’t require more elbow grease to clean — occasionally a long soak is needed if I’ve burnt something (which, OK, is more than occasionally), but nothing gets stuck on forever. Plus it’s lighter and easier to handle than the non-stick pan, which I often need both hands to lift (and I work out!).

I think this change will be pretty easy to make, although I might want to look into poaching my eggs.

14 Responses to Not sticking with non-stick (Day 61)…

  1. Funny.. I made the very same change today without even knowing you were making the change. Totally got my eggs stuck to it though… will have to work on that… but remember- only heat the saturated or mono unsaturated oils (that means extra virging cold pressed coconut oil, extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil or extra-virgin organic non-GMO canola oil or good old fashion butter- or get adevnturous and try ghee). Do not cook with sesame, sunflower, safflower, flax, hemp, almond etc… they are great for dressings and dipping post cook but become toxic when heated. And do not ever throw margarine into the pan… then you’re just asking for it.

  2. christal says:

    are you sure about that? I just researched a bit, and have found no evidence that safflower, almond, flax or hemp turn toxic.

    I generally cook with all of them and have never had a problem, can you tell me where you got this info from?

  3. Greenpa says:

    Vanessa- interesting; this isn’t one of the more common green changes mentioned out there; good for you. We got rid of our teflon cookware more than 2 years ago- it had always kind of worried the biologist in me, and the dying bird stories were the clincher. It’s really not that hard to do without.

    AND- turns out there’s another environmental “question” – water table contamination from the chemicals used in manufacture. Minneapolis/St.Paul has recently been finding 3M chemicals in a bunch of city aquifers. The company says “they’re harmless” (astonishing, no?) – but lots of folks are not so sure. One thing for sure- fluorinated hydrocarbons stick around in the environment for a long long time.

  4. Sarah Pretty says:

    Good riddance! I also think this makes good economic sense those teflon pans are a big old scam. I felt like I was always replacing them. My wrough iron one is going to last me forever.

  5. Lori V. says:

    Alas, Vanessa, I have to confess that just a year or so ago, before my eco-transformation began, we bought a full set of Calphalon non-stick stuff. I am totally regretting it (although it is so much more convenient). And, since it is relatively new, I won’t be chunking it for new. I know, I know. I deserve an eco-flogging… (and, btw, I’m back up and running over at “my place” if you’ve missed me this week, and I even have a reference to you in today’s post!)

  6. – thoughy my info comes from the books “Fats that Heal, Fats that kills”, and “Staying Healthy with Nutrition”

  7. Lori V. says:

    I’m confused. Why, if it shouldn’t be heated, do chips that are made with sunflower oil have better nutrition facts than regular? Don’t even start on the “Well, you shouldn’t be eating chips in the first place.” I know. We rarely do. But WHEN we do, I’ve been buying the sunflower oil ones.

  8. Greenpa says:

    Healthy- I looked at the link you provided- it’s not too impressive to me. WHAT toxic substances, please?? I’m moderately knowledgeable here-not truly expert, but pretty well informed. To a considerable extent, the article has the hallmarks of the “urban legend” kind of info- some references; but no details; statements presented as “fact”. It is VERY easy for such things to develop. My guess (and it is a guess) – some university found a “toxic” substance or two, in some hot oils, under some circumstances; and that got translated into “they’re toxic”; which is not likely to be really accurate. Somebody should dig deeper (I’m outta time, though..)

  9. Nice work! We got rid of our non-stick pan years ago after reading about Teflon’s “features”. And the bird death thing just was the clincher for us too. If you can spring for it, I highly recommend the All-Clad stainless steel pans. Sure, you may get a little sticking, but they are so nice to cook with, you just don’t care about a little extra scrubbing.

  10. I gave up teflon after reading about the chemicals in teflon being found in water and in dolphins (who, I’m sure, never used cookware). I *adore* my cast iron pans! Even if they *are* heavy, doesn’t matter to me… I’m a farm girl and very strong. The cast iron is versatile, non-stick when properly seasoned, adds a small amount of iron to foods, and can be used on the stovetop, in the oven, over an open fire, etc.

  11. sue says:

    in case you’re still working out the whole egg-frying issue, my favorite pan for eggs is a cast iron crepe pan. Perfect for omellettes and fried eggs. Actually, any well-seasoned cast iron is less sticky than the ss pans. Check out your local sally ann or freecycle, i bet there’s a set with your name on it. don’t be afraid of nasty rusty ones – they clean up easily with a little salt and steel wool elbow grease.

    a bonus is that cooking acidic things in them leaches out the iron into your food. Always a plusfor us pale anemic types!

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