Be cautious when choosing your cookware

What’s cooking in your kitchen? Maybe nothing at the moment, but next time you’re going to whip something up – consider your cookware! Whatever it’s made from can end up in your food, so if you’re reading ingredients labels, you should also be reading cookware labels. The tough part is that cookware manufacturers aren’t required to spell out ingredients like food manufacturers. But, don’t worry, we’re here to help.

stainless steel cookware

1. Toss the Teflon. Teflon is a coating typically made from chemicals from the perfluorochemical (PFC) family. PFCs have become a regulatory priority for scientists and EPA officials due to a growing body of evidence showing them to be highly toxic, extraordinarily persistent chemicals (some NEVER break down in the environment) that pervasively contaminate human blood and wildlife all over the globe. Recent research has shown that  prenatal exposure to PFCs compromises early childhood immunity and that general exposure increases the risk of arthritis.

2. Avoid non-anodized aluminum. Most cookware today is made of anodized aluminum, but if you’re using hand-me-downs or buying used, check the label carefully and watch out for non-anodized aluminum, which can leach aluminum salts, causing a variety of unpleasant symptoms.
Non-anodized aluminum pots are usually heavy and look like they are pressed from a single piece of thick metal. The inside is the same color as the outside.

3. Look out for lead in ceramics. According to the National Institutes of Health, “any ceramic cookware bought in another country or considered to be a craft, antique, or collectable may not meet FDA specifications, and should not be used to hold food. Test kits can detect high levels of lead in ceramic cookware, but may not detect lower levels that may also be dangerous.”

4. Be careful with copper. Large amounts of copper from unlined cookware can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Again, according to the National Institutes of Health, “some copper and brass pans are coated with another metal to prevent food from coming into contact with copper. Over time, these coatings can break down and allow copper to dissolve in food. Older copper cookware may have tin or nickel coatings and should not be used for cooking.”

5. Find something safer! It may seem easier said than done, but it’s simple if you choose one of the following staples:

  • Glass. All glass is inert, nontoxic, and safe (except for lead crystal glassware, which – surprise – contains lead).
  • Porcelain or Ceramic. These enamel finishes are completely inert and safe to use, but they also chip easily so they take a gentle cook (you just have to be careful when storing or stacking). Be aware, old or imported products may contain unacceptable levels of lead or cadmium.
  • Stainless Steel. This is a really great, safe and affordable cookware option. Be careful how you clean it, though, as frequent use of abrasive materials can scratch the surface and lead to the release of small amounts of chromium and nickel. People with nickel allergies should avoid cooking with stainless steel cookware.
  • Cast Iron. Cast iron has been the mainstay cookware for generations. It’s durable, simple in materials, has even heating and good heat retention. Cast iron will tend to rust, so it needs to be “seasoned” with oil before it is used. Also, clean your cast iron pans using a cloth or nylon dish-brush and no soap. Scrub away food scraps, and then get the pan hot again for a minute to evaporate any water. (FYI – Cast iron pans that have not yet built up a patina of seasoning can leach small amounts of iron. Iron is a vital nutrient, but for some people excess iron can be a problem. If you suffer from haemochromatosis or similar conditions you may want to avoid cooking in cast iron.)

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Worth spending on a good cookware

They say too many cooks spoil the broth. The wrong pots and pans do, too. That’s why when it comes to restaurant kitchen supplies, few decisions are as important as choosing the correct cookware for the job. Most pots and pans used in commercial kitchens are aluminum or stainless steel. Some chefs also use French steel and cast iron, but these items require special care that’s inefficient for most busy kitchens.


Whether purchasing equipment for restaurants, catering businesses or even their own home kitchens, chefs opt for commercial pots and pans over what you would typically find in a housewares store. Commercial-grade cookware is tested for durability and heat consistency, so cooks know the solid construction will be reliable and durable to meet their needs.

We asked chefs and a food safety expert to share the pros and cons of stainless steel and aluminum cookware to help you choose. (More at

Before You Buy

Luptowski suggests a quick check-in with your local health department, often a county or municipal agency, before purchasing any restaurant kitchen supplies. “Make sure that cookware has the appropriate certifications required,” she says. She recommends choosing pots and pans certified compliant with NSF/ANSI 2: Food Equipment standards.

It’s also important to size your pots and pans properly for the burners on your stove. “I wanted to use small sauce pans to heat up individual orders of sauce, and the pans were too small for the professional burners we were using,” Dolich says. “The only part of the pan that would get hot was the handle!”

Price and functionality are key considerations when choosing pots, pans and other cookware. Use this information to outfit your kitchen with the most cost-effective and functional items for your menu and your budget.

What cookware should you use


I often get asked “what cookware should I use?” It’s a great question because apart from being aware of the pesticides on produce, the mercury in fish and the chemicals generally in our food, it is important to realize that the choice of kitchenware can make a difference too, because they can contain chemicals which can leach into your food, Teflon in particular but also aluminum and lead and even PVC Plastic. (Reference: Dr Frank Lipman)


Here are my guidelines 

  1. Avoid non stick pans, pots, bakeware and utensils because they contain Teflon. Although non stick kitchenware is very convenient, Teflon is made from perfluorinated compounds which have been linked to cancer and reproductive problems.
  2. If you use non stick kitchenware and the coating is coming off, you should not use it. Get new ones.
  3. If you use non stick kitchenware and the coating is intact, avoid heating them above 450F because above this temperature, they release toxic gases.
  4. Avoid aluminum pots and pans as it may cause aluminum to leach into food. Although the dangers of ingesting aluminum are disputed by some, I think it is silly to use them as we don’t know they are safe.
  5. Avoid ceramic dishware that is cracked or chipping because the glazes used in ceramic dishware often contain lead and cracked or chipping glazes may be more likely to leach lead into foods and liquids.
  6. Avoid dish racks made of plastic-coated wire, substituting instead stainless steel dish racks

So I suggest using glass bakeware and stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans. Stainless steel and glass mixing bowls are great too. –

Find some good stainless steel cookware in this post.

Calphalon offers home cooks easy-to-use cookware

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Calphalon, the leader in premium cookware and kitchenware, announces the launch of its Classic Hard-Anodized Nonstick and Ceramic Nonstick cookware lines. Calphalon Classic cookware is designed for durability and ease-of-use: perfect for everyday cooking.  The Classic Hard-Anodized Nonstick and Ceramic Nonstick lines join the re-designed Classic Stainless Steel cookware.

“Designed for everyday cooking, Calphalon Classic offers home cooks easy-to-use cookware with exceptional value and several innovative features, such as fill lines for easy measuring and pour spouts for convenient cooking preparation,” said Kerry Strzelecki, Director of Brand Marketing, Calphalon. “This product line allows you to choose between hard-anodized nonstick, ceramic nonstick, or stainless steel cookware, making it easy for home cooks by offering the same great features across all cooking types.”

Calphalon Classic Nonstick Cookware is made from durable, hard-anodized aluminum with an interior dual-layer nonstick coating for easy food release, and quick cleanup. Home cooks will save time in the kitchen with fill lines that make measuring easy, pour spouts, and with lids that have straining holes to drain liquids. Pans also feature stay-cool stainless steel handles, tempered glass lids and oven-safe durability. Calphalon Classic Nonstick Cookware also comes with a full lifetime warranty.

Calphalon Classic Ceramic Nonstick Cookware also features fill lines for easy measuring and specially-designed lids that have straining holes that line up with pour spouts eliminating the need for a separate colander. In addition, the pans feature stay-cool stainless steel handles, tempered glass lids and oven-safe durability. Calphalon Classic Ceramic Nonstick is made with eco-friendly, PFOA-free ceramic nonstick for extra-easy food release and cleanup. Calphalon Classic Ceramic Nonstick Cookware comes with a full 10 year warranty.

Calphalon Classic Nonstick and Ceramic Nonstick cookware is available at, Bed Beth & Beyond, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Belk , Bloomingdales and Dillards. The Calphalon Classic Nonstick is currently available in 10-piece sets for $199.99, and Ceramic Nonstick Cookware as an 11-piece set for $249.99.

For more information on Calphalon Classic Cookware or other Calphalon products, visit