Long, long ago when Bill and I were married, Teflon cookware was the prized object of the kitchen. Non-stick and health because it required little fat for cooking, all the books and magazines recommended it. We dutifully listed the whole Calphalon Teflon series on our registry and received most of it.
Fast forward over a decade and it turns out Teflon kills small birds and poses respiratory and cancer risks to those who use it.
I know about the dangers of polytetrafluoroethylene (that's what they call it when it isn't trademarked) - I've been hearing this information via my various quirky health newsletters for years. Yet each night at dinner time, you'll find me pulling out my Teflon lined Everyday Pan with my fingers in my ears singing, "lalalalalala I can't hear you lalalalala."
It's not that I don't think the stuff is dangerous. I just don't know what else to do. There's the aluminum option, but coming from a family with history of Alzheimer's that risk is too high for me. There's stainless steel, but it turns out it leaches something like 23 other metals that have undetermined safety levels. There's straight-up cast iron, but it is heavy, hard to care for and doesn't come in the happy array of pan styles I need. There's anodized aluminum, which sounds like it might be safe but I over-cooked beets in my one anodized pot and it lost all its finish and color which seems totally freaky and compromising to me.
That leaves, as far as I can tell, two options. Ceramic lined cast iron (think Le Creuset) or a rumored line called Safe Pans (I think).
One of my friend raves about the Safe Pans, from Australia (?). They are apparently, true to name, safe. Also the seem to come in good sizes that are reasonably priced. But for the life of me I can't find them on the internet. Hey friend-who-I-happen-to-know-reads-this-blog, maybe you could post a link to them in the comments section?
Now Le Creuset defines sexy in the cookware world - amazing variety of shapes and sizes and eye-candy colors. Super high quality, it lasts forever and can be passed down from generation to generation. Nobody in on the internet registers any safety concerns. But I balk for two reasons. Mostly, the stuff is expensive. My Everyday Pan now goes for $64. The Le Creuset equivalent (the iron braiser) runs $200. The cost of replacing my entire cookware set would be phenomenal. Still a factor, though less shocking, is the weight of these pans. Cast iron is heavy and I wonder how I and the kids would manage working with such heavy pieces.
And here I am back where I started. A house full of hungry people and likely unsafe pots that are actually in my kitchen ready to use. I guess they'll have to do for another meal or 100.
How about you? Do you cook in the land of denial, too? If not, what pans do you use? Anyone think the concerns are all red-herrings raised by a jealous industry?