FAQs on Cookware

Are Ceramic and Enamel Cookware Safe and Practical?

Dr. Allen:  Ceramic and enamel cookware is very versatile and heavy duty, and has increased in popularity lately.  Ceramics are coated with a glaze and fired, creating a durable glass-like surface.  Enamelware is made using a very similar glazing process, but it is applied over metal instead of pottery.  The safety concerns with these pans are fewer, but often overlooked.  When cooking with ceramic / enamel pans, take these precautions:


Is Stainless Steel Cookware a Good Choice?

Dr. Bowser: Stainless steel is the best material for cookware in terms of price and availability and for corrosion resistance and appearance. Unfortunately, it is a relatively poor conductor of heat and is more difficult to machine when compared to many other metals. Most manufacturers overcome the problem of conductivity by cladding a copper or aluminum core with a thin layer of stainless steel skin. This works especially well for the main heat transfer surface (the bottom of the pan).


What Should I Know about Selecting and Using Aluminum Cookware?

Dr. Allen: When cooking with aluminum pots and pans, take these precautions:


• Look for anodized aluminum. The inner surface of these pans has been put through a special process to harden the top layer of aluminum, so it is less likely to leach into foods.


• Do not cook acidic (tomato) or salty (pickling brine) foods for long periods of time as these foods will cause more aluminum to be released from the pan.


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