If you’ve ever wandered around Williams Sonoma (aka Williams Cost-a-load-a), you quickly realized three things:
- High-end kitchen items sure are expensive.
- But they’re so pretty!
- There are more pots and pans out there than you have the time to deal with.
Whether you get sucked into the world of kitchen tools (and be careful: it’s a powerful vortex) or you’re happy with the basics, we assume you probably own a pot. Maybe you own a pan, too. And let’s get crazy here and assume that you have some containers to store leftovers.
Cool, bro. Let’s get informed about these essentials.
Pots and pans can be made from one of the following materials:
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
- Non-stick cookware
All of these have their pros and cons, yet consider that copper, aluminum and cast iron are reactive to acidic or alkaline foods.
Aluminum tends to warp in high heat and can add 1-2mg of aluminum to your food. There have been hundreds of studies linking aluminum to health risks.
Non-stick cookware can also have some aluminum and some consider the vague “non-stick” to be a toxic material.
Copper and iron are minerals that are often deficient in the average diet. Trace amounts may leach into your food when you cook, making for an easy daily supplement.
Stainless steel may also be made from iron, chromium and manganese, yet is less prone to leaching than other materials. Any of these three can be part of your healthy cookware line, but if you were to twist our arm, we would put cast iron as boss. (Now stop it. That hurts.)
Yet cooking for one or two often yields leftovers.
We aren’t going to complain about that, but now we have some more materials to consider:
- Stainless steel
Glass and cedar get a pass. Stainless steel has already been discussed. Now, what about those plastics? In short, some are okay, some are bad and some are just ugly.
Stay away from those BPAs (which most “old” forms of Tupperware contain: prior to 2010). This is a hormone disruptor and can transfer into food as it ages. Unfortunately, BPA free doesn’t mean free of all hormone disruptors.
When in doubt, look for the triangle on the bottom or side of the package. #2, 4 and 5 are considered to be food grade safe, but you may need to do some additional homework. The most conscious companies are as transparent as the containers themselves.
As Michael Pollan wrote:
“For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”
Cook away, dear friends.