Friday, July 13, 2012

Making the Switch to Cast Iron

Longer than I would like to admit to ago, I started hearing the ill effects of non stick cookware. About all of the health problems like birth defects from the children of the workers in the plant where its is manufactured and causing testicular, pancreatic, mammary and liver tumors in rats that the chemicals used to make the nonstick cookware can create. I mostly ignored it for a long time because lets face it, non stick is easy. You just simply stick it in the dishwasher and forget about it. 

Heres the thing though, did you know though that non-stick cookware can actually cause some deadly risks to your health? PFOA is a synthetic chemical that is used in the manufacturing of traditional nonstick cookware coatings. The coating itself is called polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) is commonly known by its trademark name Teflon manufactured by DuPont. Although PFOA isn’t found in the finished Teflon product, it is released as a gas when the coating is heated and begins to break down. Even hot tap water can break down teflon so the odds that the vapors are released when you actually cook on it are inevitable. The associated health risks are so even so undeniable that DuPont has voluntarily committed to eliminate the sources of exposure to PFOA from their manufacturing operations and products by 2015. Three years from now.

So, I made the switch. I pulled out my grandmother's cast iron, re-seasoned it and tossed the old nonstick stuff. Do the cast iron pans take a little more work than the non- stick? Yes, yes they do. At least at first. Once they are properly seasoned though, they perform even better than the non- stick pans. They heat more evenly and are way more durable. It didn't take long before I had replaced all of the cheap non- stick cookware in my house with cast iron and I have not looked back.

(Picture via
Another benefit of switching to cast iron is that it can help ensure that eaters in your house get enough iron which the body needs to produce red blood cells as it seeps off the cookware into food in small amounts. Neat, no? As rarely as we eat iron rich foods, I know this is something we will benefit from. 

Best part though: cast iron carries no known health risks as long as they are properly seasoned and cared for. 


It may seem weird to say but I can honestly say I can tell a difference in our health since we started using the cast iron. Maybe its because of the health factor, maybe its because cooking in the cast iron requires less oil and therefore less calories. I do know that things taste better. They taste more like I imagine they are supposed to taste. Bacon for one tastes so much better cooked in the iron skillets than it ever has before. To the point I can't eat it out anymore because it just doesn't taste "right". 

At any rate, there is no going back now. I have officially been bitten and I can honestly say I will never go back. How could I? No health risks, better tasting food, healthier cooking? Why would anyone?

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