Friday, January 28, 2011


I'm hearing a lot about the harmful effects of Teflon lately (the slippery, not-stick coating on your pans). Usually, I take these scare tactics with a grain of salt and use my own instincts on what the media and government tell me is harmful.

But after looking at all the numbers, I have decided to switch to Cast Iron.

Dupont (the manufacturer) states that with Teflon, "significant decomposition of the coating will occur only when temperatures exceed about 660 degrees F (340 degrees C)".

But studies conducted by a university food safety professor revealed that the same non-stick pans reached 736°F in three minutes and 20 seconds.

I don't know about you, but when it comes to my health, I have a tendency to not put my faith in the manufacturer of the product. Call me crazy.

Why is Teflon hazardous? Dupont themselves have discovered that at least six toxic gases that include two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA (a chemical lethal to humans at low doses) are released from their Teflon material. (Okay, I'll believe them on that one...)

This synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene releases toxic particles and gases which contribute to a number of human illnesses each year, according to tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). (I'm not even going to get into the fact that our every-day cookware kills hundreds of household birds each year who are very sensitive to the fumes - weird.)

Also, the FDA has NO restrictions relating to this matter when it comes to cookware. Not good.

For now, I'm switching to Cast Iron which, if anything, may add more iron to your diet. If you have high iron levels, perhaps you'll want to switch to Stainless Steel.

Bought one yesterday for $30 and had our first meal with it last night. I loved it! Reminded me of my Auntie Alice and all of the cottage breakfasts she'd serve up with her heavy-duty cast iron pan. Not to mention the workout you get lifting one of these babies, wow!

Other pluses with cast iron:

  • Retains heat. Awesome for searing.
  • Heats evenly.
  • Nonstick if seasoned properly (I bought mine pre-seasoned)
  • You can pop it right in the oven
  • Awesome for pancakes (thanks, Auntie Alice!)
  • Inexpensive and lasts forever
cast iron photo by Trader Joe Omelette photo by sweater muffin on flickr


  1. Love my cast iron pan. I think it's about as old as I am. Gets lots of use in the summer on the BBQ too. Heat it up super hot, and it's fantastic for blackened fish and shrimp - and keeps all the smoke outta the kitchen.

    Wouldn't mind trying the hard anodized aluminum pans. Supposedly safe and non-stick too.

  2. We got a bunch of cast iron pans from my wife's grandmother (too heavy for to lift anymore). Love them! I need to find a really large one to replace our big Teflon pan...

  3. On the BBQ? Awesome! Spanky, I always try to stay away from Aluminum (very strong links to Alzheimer's). I'm a huge non-aluminum gal.

    Steve, I guess when I'm too old to lift my cast irons, I may switch to something else. :)

  4. Ya, I'm aware of the so called link. That's why I wanted to try the hard anodized aluminum. Supposedly harder than stainless, and not supposed to leach.

    (I say 'so-called', because even the Alzheimer Society has dispelled that myth...
    ...but I know, better safe than ...umm what was I talking about? Who are you!!??

  5. We used to use cast iron cookware years ago - remember to oil them before storing as they will rust.

  6. I'm so glad you wrote this. Very helpful information. But where is the recipe for that dish that's in the skillet?!

  7. Haha! Rightfully so, Dina! Try this one:

    Chicken with Chipotle Cheese Sauce
    The chipotle chile pepper makes this recipe. It's a common spice found in most grocery stores. I picked mine up at Loblaws.

    Olive Oil
    5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 onion; diced
    1 can Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
    2 tblsp milk
    1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
    1/2 can diced tomatoes

    Heat a little olive oil in skillet. Place chicken breasts in hot oil and fry until brown on both sides but not cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

    Add a little more olive oil and fry onion until lightly browned. Add soup, milk, chile pepper and tomatoes. Stir until blended.

    Place chicken breasts back in skillet and simmer until chicken is heated through.

    I served this up with butternut squash and fresh buns on the side.


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