Debra Lynn Dadd

Debra's Cookware: -- Cast Iron and Porcelain

QUESTION:

I'm curious why you don't use any cast iron??? :)

Secondly, the white porcelain you have...I'm confused on porcelains and glazed stonewares. What's the difference?

Do you verify the glazes are safe? I'm curious because I'm in the process of revamping our fam's cookware...we have some Corningware French White Stoneware that looks like yours pictured...it's glazed. How does one know when to question the glaze used, or not?

The same with those Corningware Mugs that come with the "white collection"...they are glazed stoneware as well.

Confused-

POSTED BY ANGELA :: INDIANA USA :: 05/05/2008 2:56 PM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

I have nothing against cast iron, I think it's great. I've used it in the past and may use it again. This is just what I have at the moment.

The Corningware I have is a material called "pyroceramic" which is part glass and part ceramic. It does have a glaze that "meets the California requirements" according to the Customer Service representative. That's the legal thing they have to say.

I doubt there is any lead in these glazes. I haven't personally tested them, but Corning said they have been testing their products for years for lead and they have always been less than the California requirement.

Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

P.S. to the above: maybe a little ingested rust is good for you! ;)

POSTED BY BRIAN H :: BRITISH COLUMBIA CANADA :: 05/15/2008 11:33 PM


Concerning cast iron: anthropologists have made the surprising discovery that poorer cultures switching from heavier cast iron to light aluminum and steel cookware sometimes begin to suffer from iron deficiency, which can be remedied by returning partly or entirely to use of the cast iron pots, etc. Enough accessible iron apparently migrates into the food from the pot surface to satisfy at least basic requirements.

Which is (partly) why I hang onto and make a point of occasionally using my massive big iron skillet. :)

POSTED BY BRIAN H :: BRITISH COLUMBIA CANADA :: 05/15/2008 11:36 PM


I have always wanted to buy some Le Creuset, but, always saw them when they were not on sale. Recently, I saw Rachael Ray's porcelain coated cast iron pots on sale, but, when I took the lid off one of the pots and looked inside, I saw a piece of paper that said that 'due to the vapors that are emitted when heated, it should not be used in a home with animals like birds...' or, something to that effect (I am just going by memory)...WHOA!!!!!

So, do all porcelain coated cast iron cookware have the same problems??? Anyone know?

Thanks!

Aimee

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: I don't think so. Sounds like a nonstick finish.

POSTED BY AIMEE :: WASHINGTON USA :: 05/19/2008 3:06 PM


Oooh - I have one of these (I think) that I found at a free item swap. It was not cleaned properly, so was kind of sticky, but I spent a bit of time with it, and now we *love* it. It's heavy, yes, but I just see it as building muscle. :)

However, our old non-stick frying pan is dying, and I have been looking around to replace it for a while. The $225 copper plated pans are just a leeetle out of our price range, and I haven't been able to find any of the same type of porcelain cast-iron, which I thought was called enamel, (is this the same thing?) on line anywhere. Ebay has been the closest.

My pan says Levcoware and Made in Japan, and is a lovely retro sunset orange on the outside, white (scratched, unfortunately by people who don't know to use wood, not metal on enamel/porcelain surfaces). Has anyone else seen these anywhere, or know where to find them? Preferably Canadian, or at least not too far from Toronto, Ontario, so that shipping isn't crazy expensive for the heavy skillet!

POSTED BY GILLIAN :: SUSTAINABILITY AT U OF GUELPH :: WWW.PR.UOGUELPH.CA/SUSTAIN :: ONTARIO CANADA :: 06/05/2008 11:25 PM


Thanks Aimee..... A freind bought Rachel's entire set but must have "forgotten" to tell me about the warning you found in yours which, like Debra mentions, sounds like the same warning used for Teflon products which, btw, is BANNED in much of Europe for this very reason. Think about it; if the fumes can quickly kill small animals and birds, isn't it just killing us slower?

Personally, I prefer NON seasoned/coated purchases. I'd rather season them myself rather than blindly trust some government agency's Seal Of Approval.

It's interesting, ever since I moved to strictly Cast Iron last year, I see more and more of it on the food channel and cooking shows with the hosts citing the same reasons of Teflon toxicity! Recently, I saw a cooking show which devoted the entire episode on choosing and seasoning Ironware!

The CDC, in recent years has noticed a sharp increase in formerly rare primary liver cancer with no explanation for the cause.... now, think of ALL the things in our homes and lives which weren't there 100 years ago when this same disease was almost non-existant..... plastic, teflon, transfats, artificial preservatives, polyester, etc, etc, etc, etc.....

Like Joni Mitchell said, Let's "Get back to the garden"!

POSTED BY BILL :: INDIANA USA :: 06/16/2008 11:50 PM


I have found a kitchen store that sells the Lodge seasoned cast iron skillets. Would this be a healthy choice for me to buy or do you suggest buying one that isn't seasoned from the same company? Thanks.

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: Lodge preseasoned skillets are preseasoned with vegetable oil, baked on as you would at home. I'm fine with either the seasoned or unseasoned.


POSTED BY LT :: NEBRASKA USA :: 07/29/2008 7:20 AM


We use cast iron (I buy the unseasoned ones, and season them myself-- that way I KNOW what's on there!) for foods with no acid in them, and Corning "Vision" glass ware for everything else. You can find them on the net-- but I think Corning has stopped making them. I believe they are close to 100% silicon dioxide. You have to be careful with them (they will break if shocked or dropped)-- but they are definitely a lot better than Teflon!

POSTED BY LIZ :: VA USA :: 08/01/2008 12:36 PM


Since I am allergic to hydrogenated oils, I season all my cast iron with PALM OIL SHORTENING by SPECTRUM. I often use olive oil lightly to leave a quick wipe to shine between usings, but I do know any veggie oil can go rancid, so it is recommended to use the shortening, and place the pan in the oven at 300 degrees coated all over in the shortening, and let it bake for an hour. I always put it on a cookie pan to catch any sticky mess that wants to drip. Then I wipe it down and put it away. If I am going to use the pan within three days I lightly coat it with olive oil after washing it gently, and put in on the range for about 5 minutes, and wipe it dry an put in away. I am cautious to check them if I do this. (Many years ago I rusted an entire set of cookware!)

If it does go a little rancid, I wash it well with a light dishsoap, and a light scrubbie and simply re-season it. Once the pan is deeply seasoned and nicely dark in color, it will last a long time without needing re-seasoning.

The food is just better with cast iron.

I also use the enamel covered Descoware, and Le Creuset, and treat the non-coated parts with shortening the same way.

I have many, but have only gone as big as a 6 quart. I am sure I could not lift them if they were heavier and filled with food.

I think the reason older folks finally give them away as they age, as they can no longer lift them!

POSTED BY SUGARX2 :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 12/16/2008 12:43 PM


Do eggs stick to cast iron frying pans or do they come off easily? I'm trying to find a good pan for my morning eggs...and want to avoid spending days scrubbing the stuck eggs off as I've been doing for years.
thanks!

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: Cuisinart Green Gourmet pans at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Yes, eggs do stick to cast iron, unless you use butter or oil.


POSTED BY JILL :: COLORADO USA :: 12/17/2008 1:45 PM


Eggs don't stick to my cast iron but that's because they are well seasoned and I wait till the EVOO is well heated before I crack the egg into the pan. On the rare occasion thaT some sticks to the side, a quick wash easily wipes it out simply because its been seasoned.

POSTED BY BILL :: INDIANA USA :: 12/19/2008 3:41 PM


The Cuisinart Green Gourmet pans are terrific for cooking eggs; they don't stick at all, even better than Teflon (which is toxic). The only problem is the metal rivets in the pans--I have to use my fingernail to scrape off the egg around the rivets. I am personally not comfortable using cast iron as I am now in menopause and don't want to get excessive iron, plus don't know if the form of iron in cast iron pans is safe to eat.

POSTED BY MARGARET :: OPTIMUM CHOICES :: WWW.OPTIMUMCHOICES.COM :: COLORADO USA :: 12/24/2008 10:43 AM


I bought a fairly large (2 or 2-1/2 quart, I guess) enamel on steel saucepan very inexpensively at a supermarket decades ago. I'm still using it - pretty nonstick since it's enamel inside as well as out, but it's gotten worn (enamel inside seems to be getting thin) and stained. I'd like to have more than one such saucepan, and ideally a larger size as well.

But the only enamel saucepans I've been able to find now are non-stick inside, which totally defeat the purpose, and enamel/iron which are not only very expensive but user feedback says are extremely heavy. (I can imagine!)

Enamel on steel used to be so readily available. I've scoured the internet, but if anyone knows of any sources that are fairly affordable, please let me know!

POSTED BY L.A. :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 12/26/2008 10:38 AM


They sell the enamel on steel pans at Ross stores. I have one that I use for my oatmeal. I remove the cooked oats with a wooden spoon and then fill the pot with soapy water and let it soak. The residue comes right off.
I am also a fan of the Cuisinart green pan. I have the large square grill pan with the ridges. It's great for sauteing meats and veggies.

POSTED BY CH :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 01/06/2009 8:09 AM


Dealing with Metal mouth! Here is my dilemma in trying to get rid of those teflon coated fry pans and switching to cast iron. I taste the metal. When handling cast iron or steel pans (not stainless steel - I have those - they don't bother me), or also when holding coins I immediately get a strong metal taste. But jewelery does not effect me. I have dealt with candida in the past, but that is usually an ongoing metal taste. My dentist thot I might be hypersensitive and have some kind of galvanic reaction. He did not feel my amalgam fillings are THEE problem...but I'm not sure. Any thots?

POSTED BY JULES :: OREGON USA :: 01/13/2009 2:37 AM


Hey Jules, I'm assuming that by "galvanic reaction" you mean a sensitivity to Zinc. I have no suggestion except that maybe your tastebuds might adjust on their own? I didn't think cast iron was galvanized..... but what do I know?(lol). I can say that when I've experienced that metallic taste in the past, it was usually due to the soapy residue on my dishes and such which prompted me to rinse them more. I hope this helps... if not, I wonder if soapstone might be an alternative for you?

POSTED BY BILL :: INDIANA USA :: 01/16/2009 4:38 PM


About the oatmeal (doesn't apply to eggs): soak/rinse in cool water;, even without soap, it dissolves the starch. Applies to pasta, rice, potatoes, etc., as well. Makes lifting the residue really easy. Hot water just cooks and gums in on tighter.

POSTED BY BRIAN H. :: NORTH DAKOTA USA :: 01/20/2009 7:45 AM


Thanx, Bill, for your thots on my metal mouth. I am finding, that as I handle the cast iron and work with it, I'm not quite as badly affected at this point. Maybe I was just going through something funky. But it has been an occasional problem for many years...particularly when I hold coins. Odd. It's not a "big" deal, but maybe someday I'll consult a naturopath on it and have my "levels" tested. Since this isn't a medical website, I'll end this now and go make an egg in my little cast iron skillet!

POSTED BY JULES :: OREGON USA :: 01/21/2009 10:38 AM


:: POST YOUR COMMENT

Return to Q&A Blog

Debra's List ~ 100s of links to 1000s of nontoxic, natural & earthwise products
Debra's Free Newsletters ~ website update, natural sweetener recipes, words of wisdom
Debra's Bookstore ~ recommended reading on health and the environment
MCS Recovery ~ resources for recovery from multiple chemical sensitivities
Sweet Savvy ~ how to choose and use natural sweetners (lots of recipes)
Talk With Debra ~ call for a personal consultation (fee)

Copyright ©2004-2007 Debra Lynn Dadd - all rights reserved.