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I threw out my non-stick pans today

Woodfireguy Mar 16, 2011 06:25 AM

except one. I guess I just was not strong enough to cut the apron strings completely. I have had it with the empty promises and lack of durability of non-stick pots and pans. I bought a new set of commercial grade aluminum pans from an online restaurant supply store for 100.00. I had a full set before but that got scattered to the wind in a divorce. That’s, two 10” frying pans. two 12” frying pans, one 14” frying pan, one 4-quart pot and one 8 quart pot. I already own a 10 and 15-quart stockpots and all the lids that fit everything. Yes, I wish that they where stainless steel cladded but come on 100 bucks. I have never forgot what Martin Yan said. “Hot wok, cold oil, food no stick” He’s right, and you can actually get what you’re cooking to leave carmalization for deglazing. I’m home again.

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  1. b
    BuffaloKitchen RE: Woodfireguy Mar 16, 2011 06:31 AM

    I also recently threw out my nonstick. Have migrated fully to vintage cast iron skillets and carbon steel for my wok and crepe pan. Never looking back!

    3 Replies
    1. re: BuffaloKitchen
      Woodfireguy RE: BuffaloKitchen Mar 16, 2011 06:35 AM

      Maybe we should start a support group for ex non-stick pan users. I too love and collect cast iron from garage sales and thrift stores.

      1. re: Woodfireguy
        cleobeach RE: Woodfireguy Mar 16, 2011 08:57 AM

        I hear ya. I started from scratch and did get one small non-stick soley for cooking eggs. Not once have I regretted ridding my house of non-stick. We were going through a set every other year.

        1. re: cleobeach
          Woodfireguy RE: cleobeach Mar 16, 2011 09:07 AM

          I have cooked on aluminum for 30 years and love it. I also love cast iron but that’s another conversation. First, I believe you need a couple non-stick pans in your arsenal. Like you, I can’t stand throwing them out every couple years. Here’s the trick to cooking with aluminum. SOS pads! You can even use commit with a scotch bright pad to clean them. They are bullet proof. That’s why restaurants use them. I think of it this way. Non-stick is marketing for the most part. 80% of all pots and pans sold today are non-stick. Restaurants and gourmands buy the other 20%.

    2. j
      j8715 RE: Woodfireguy Mar 16, 2011 10:05 AM

      What website is this? Seems like a good deal

      1 Reply
      1. re: j8715
        Woodfireguy RE: j8715 Mar 16, 2011 10:54 AM

        Here ya go. They had a promo for free shipping when I got mine.


      2. buttertart RE: Woodfireguy Mar 17, 2011 08:04 AM

        I'm with ck on the toxicity, I've used them for years and will continue to do so.
        I have only ever been happy with the Calphalon ones I got at BB&B for around $50 for 2 (12" and 10"). Heavy and really nonstick (it's several months now, no others have survived that long for me).

        18 Replies
        1. re: buttertart
          cheesemaestro RE: buttertart Mar 17, 2011 10:33 AM

          I'm with you and ck, although I use nonstick mostly for two things: eggs and delicate fish. I have a 9" Berndes pan and a 12" Calphalon, both purchased for a low price at Marshalls. I'm careful with these pans, but I expect they'll eventually have to be replaced, which is why I would never waste money on expensive nonstick, like All-Clad.

          1. re: cheesemaestro
            buttertart RE: cheesemaestro Mar 17, 2011 11:07 AM

            Good point, no point in getting the expensive ones at all.

            1. re: buttertart
              JeremyEG RE: buttertart Mar 18, 2011 09:16 AM

              I had a lower end Calphalon that peeled only a few months after I got it. I sent it to them and they upgraded me to their top of the line pan that retails for much more. It was great for a year or so but then that one started to lose its finish as well. It's just not worth it.

              I was recently asked by a non-foodie friend to help pick cookware for her wedding registry with one caveat. "We don't use oil or fat when we cook. You always put olive oil in the pan but we don't so food has to slide right out of the pan dry."

              I guess that limits ones options.


              1. re: JeremyEG
                buttertart RE: JeremyEG Mar 18, 2011 09:39 AM

                To each his own (but I am definitely NOT of the no oil brigade).

            2. re: cheesemaestro
              sueatmo RE: cheesemaestro Mar 17, 2011 01:31 PM

              Exactly. I like mine for eggs, and you are right. They work well for white fish. But I don't like them for much more than that.

              1. re: cheesemaestro
                roxlet RE: cheesemaestro Apr 17, 2011 04:57 PM

                I have some All-Clad non-stick pans that are nearing the end of their useful life. I am trying to find out if it is possible to have the coating sand blasted off somehow so that I can revive the pans as regular pans. I will never buy any non-stick that is not cheap again. I love non stick for things like eggs, as other posters have mentioned, as well as for things like crepes. Actually, we have discovered that my non-stick crepe pan is the perfect thing for frying eggs!

                1. re: roxlet
                  buttertart RE: roxlet Apr 17, 2011 04:59 PM

                  I think you can get that done at an auto body shop.

                  1. re: buttertart
                    roxlet RE: buttertart Apr 17, 2011 05:00 PM

                    Hmm, you might be right! Good idea. There is also a metal refinisher in our area where I had our antique cocktail shaker refinished, and I am going to call them to find out.

                  2. re: roxlet
                    Woodfireguy RE: roxlet Apr 18, 2011 05:56 AM

                    I bet you can buy new aluminum pans for what it would cost to remove the non-stick coating. Just a thought.

                    1. re: Woodfireguy
                      roxlet RE: Woodfireguy Apr 18, 2011 06:17 AM

                      Yes, probably, but these are heavy All-Clad pans that it would cost several hundred dollars to replace. If I could get teflon removed for a reasonable price, it would be worth it.

                      1. re: roxlet
                        buttertart RE: roxlet Apr 18, 2011 06:21 AM

                        Seriously, try your garage. My father (who was a mechanic) rescued 2 pans of my mother's that I had "cooked" in when I was little (i.e. put stuff on the stove and let everything boil away and the some thereby laminating the contents to the pan) with his power sander.

                    2. re: roxlet
                      sueatmo RE: roxlet Apr 18, 2011 05:25 PM

                      But, but, but--how do you know that the metal under your non-stick coating will work well for cooking? I mean, it surely isn't the same thing as the stainless you would get in a comparable stainless pan.

                  3. re: buttertart
                    RGC1982 RE: buttertart Apr 16, 2011 02:24 PM

                    I have those same pans, I think, because I bought them as a set a Crate and Barrel a few years ago. They do seem to work on eggs nearly as well as any T-fal non-stick I have ever owned, but I find that they warp when heated, then because of that, they move around just a little too much for my taste on my ceramic cooktop. My old T-fal never did that -- it stayed flat. I would be reluctant to recommend these for use by anyone with the same kind of cooktop that I have, Perhaps they are better suited to gas cook burners.

                    It is not just Calphalon that seems to have this problem. I also have two pieces of All-Clad LTD, which is also anodized aluminum, probably made a bit differently, but they warp too.

                    1. re: RGC1982
                      buttertart RE: RGC1982 Apr 17, 2011 08:26 AM

                      Mine haven't warped noticeably but I do have a gas stove so it wouldn't be as apparent if they had. I'm still very happy with them.

                      1. re: buttertart
                        RGC1982 RE: buttertart Apr 17, 2011 11:13 AM

                        When I say 'warp" -- I am actually referring to the pan changing shape each time it is heated. They sit perfectly flat when cooled, so it has to do with the pan's construction from the outset. For some reason, when heated, the pans do not lie as flat as they should. They both do it, so it must have to do with how the pans are made. A pan that warps over time permanently gets tossed around my house pretty quickly.

                        I would probably not even notice this if I were cooking on gas burners, which I had in my last house. Oh well.

                        1. re: RGC1982
                          buttertart RE: RGC1982 Apr 17, 2011 03:45 PM

                          Hmm, hadn't noticed that, but these are under a year old so might be a different/improved model.

                          1. re: buttertart
                            RGC1982 RE: buttertart Apr 18, 2011 04:25 PM

                            I would think that they might have improved them by now. I think I have had mine between two and three years.

                            1. re: RGC1982
                              buttertart RE: RGC1982 Apr 18, 2011 04:32 PM

                              Several generations of this pan ago, I bet.

                  4. f
                    ferret RE: Woodfireguy Mar 17, 2011 09:41 AM

                    I don't know what people do with their non-stick that requires frequent replacement. I have a favorite (heavy) aluminum T-Fal skillet that's over a decade old and still looks new. Ditto an Analon pan and a Calphalon grill pan.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: ferret
                      Eiron RE: ferret Mar 17, 2011 11:38 AM

                      +1. The last non-stick pans we replaced (all Bialetti pans) were about 12 yrs old. We've had the new ones (one Berndes, one KA, one Cuisinart) about 18 mos & all are still "like new."

                      1. re: ferret
                        cleobeach RE: ferret Mar 17, 2011 01:01 PM

                        What do they do? Well, in my house the following crimes against non-stick have been committed by my dear husband -

                        beating scrambled eggs in the pan, with a fork
                        cutting meat, in the pan, with a steak knife
                        using a metal spatula to "chop" whatever is cooking in the pan
                        stirring soup with a metal spoon or fork
                        making mashed tatters in the stock pot, with a handheld electric mixer

                        I was replacing sets every 12-18 months.

                        1. re: cleobeach
                          Eiron RE: cleobeach Mar 17, 2011 10:03 PM

                          Yes, when he's doing everything the manufacturers tell you NOT to do with a product, it's time to move on to more, uh, "care-free" items. I take it you hide the small egg pan from him?

                          1. re: Eiron
                            cleobeach RE: Eiron Mar 18, 2011 07:05 AM

                            Ha! Well, I have a egg issue. He learned long ago that I am the only person that knows how to cook scrambled eggs. He gave up trying to make me eggs long ago so the pan is now safe from potential destruction.

                          2. re: cleobeach
                            LovinSpoonful RE: cleobeach Mar 18, 2011 06:15 AM

                            Haha now add two college age girls to your equation. It got to the point where I hide the two good nonstick pans and leave a cheapo one out in plain sight for them to use. It's like human sacrifice but given what they do to the pan it is much much more brutal. I think I replace the thing every three months. At least I have trained them not to turn the heat up past medium.

                            I hardly ever use my nonstick pans. Pretty much just for scrambled eggs and searing fish.

                            1. re: cleobeach
                              Michael549 RE: cleobeach Apr 16, 2011 01:58 PM

                              What do they do? Well, in my house the following crimes against non-stick have been committed by my dear husband -

                              beating scrambled eggs in the pan, with a fork
                              cutting meat, in the pan, with a steak knife
                              using a metal spatula to "chop" whatever is cooking in the pan
                              stirring soup with a metal spoon or fork
                              making mashed tatters in the stock pot, with a handheld electric mixer

                              I was replacing sets every 12-18 months.

                              Has this man met my mother?

                              I swear that they are made from the same cloth! I had to switch to all stainless-steel because of her! Good decent pans that lasted for years before she arrived one by one had to be thrown out because she took over the cooking and abused them. It was criminal! The woman pokes EVERYTHING with a sharp knife, always grabs the first metal object to cook with, never puts the pot on the center of the burner - flames going up the sides, she is a trip! Are you sure that they have never met?

                              1. re: Michael549
                                cleobeach RE: Michael549 Apr 19, 2011 11:15 AM

                                Met? by the "pokes EVERYTHING with a sharp knife" comment alone I think he must have been seperated from her at birth!

                          3. girloftheworld RE: Woodfireguy Mar 17, 2011 12:00 PM

                            Good for you!! I learned to cook without nonstick...if you know how to control your temperature you dont need nonstick anyway... I got a lovely vintage copper sauce pan for my eighth birthday and have picked up odds and ends at Tuesday Mornings with my allowance so I have a pretty good set started!!!

                            1. s
                              Shann RE: Woodfireguy Mar 17, 2011 12:53 PM

                              I've got no problem with anyone cooking on anything they want to. But nonstick works fine for most things. You just can't cook at too high a temp.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Shann
                                sueatmo RE: Shann Mar 17, 2011 01:33 PM

                                But when you can't use high or medium-high heat, you lose versatility of the pan. That's the point. A non-stick pan for eggs is one thing, but not to be able to sear before braising, is another.

                                1. re: sueatmo
                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: sueatmo Mar 17, 2011 02:06 PM


                                  Even if you can bring a nonstick pan to higher tempertaure, it may still have problems with searing because one of the reasons for searing is to create that crusty caramelized surface. Yet, in my experience, the nonstick surface lessen this effect.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                    sueatmo RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 18, 2011 06:41 PM

                                    Of course. You aren't supposed to use high heat with a non-stick, and you wouldn't like the final product if you did--if you were trying to sear.

                                    There do appear to be some exceptions though. I have successfully seared a roast in my Berndes Signocast Dutch oven which has a "3-layer nonstick interior." And I have a German wok with a similar nonstick interior that handles high heat well. But I actually prefer to sear in cast iron.

                              2. Passadumkeg RE: Woodfireguy Mar 17, 2011 01:04 PM

                                Aluminium is for makeing beer cans, not cooking.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Passadumkeg
                                  ToothTooth RE: Passadumkeg Mar 17, 2011 02:25 PM

                                  The timing of this post is ironic for me. I just sold off my only two non-stick pans this past weekend. My cookware collection now consists exclusively of some variety of stainless clad, cast iron, or carbon steel.

                                  Good riddance to PTFE cookware, I'll never miss it.

                                  1. re: ToothTooth
                                    BuffaloKitchen RE: ToothTooth Mar 18, 2011 05:39 PM

                                    I'm in the same boat. Won't miss it. In my opinion, why risk it? Cast iron and seasoned carbon steel are wonderful for eggs and other "sticky" items.

                                2. breadchick RE: Woodfireguy Mar 17, 2011 07:00 PM


                                  You probably aren't aware of it, but if you read again the title of your comment, and the first couple sentences of your comment, the only thing missing is a little twang.... ;-)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: breadchick
                                    I used to know how to cook... RE: breadchick Mar 17, 2011 07:32 PM

                                    Makes me think of that Roy Clark song, Thank God and Greyhound You're Gone...


                                    1. re: breadchick
                                      Woodfireguy RE: breadchick Mar 18, 2011 05:00 AM

                                      That’s funny. Maybe Chef Billy Bob and the Pot Scrubbers will record it.

                                      1. re: Woodfireguy
                                        breadchick RE: Woodfireguy Mar 18, 2011 05:20 PM

                                        Only if you do a video too!

                                    2. Chemicalkinetics RE: Woodfireguy Mar 18, 2011 06:30 AM

                                      Looks like my post got removed, possibly collateral damage. Here I write again.

                                      Nonstick cookware offer a very specialized property and they can be very useful in certain circumstances. They are great with delicate foods. They are also great for a person who need to limit his oil consumption. However, they can be limiting for many cases.

                                      I agree with Woodfireguy. Aluminum cookware are excellent. They are inexpensive and provide good heat response and temperature evenness. They are no worse than stainless steel cladded cookware.

                                      1. j
                                        josy erne RE: Woodfireguy Apr 16, 2011 09:18 PM

                                        Bottom-line: even the government says that non-stick coatings of ALL kinds are carcinogenic...so, as far as I'm concerned, they HAVE TO GO. I do still have a couple of Calphalon saucepans that I use to heat milk for cafe con leche--I must say, I have had them for ten years and the finish is still perfectly intact. So far everything else I've tried for hot milk is very hard to clean. I'm wondering if Corning's glass saucepans would be a good replacement--anyone have experience with those?

                                        I'm extremely pleased with non-stick alternatives; in fact, they are much better. I've got a mix. Cast-iron pans in three sizes, which I LOVE for high-heat cooking, and a couple of large and hefty cast aluminum pans that I inherited from my grandmother--they are at least seventy years old, they're in perfect condition, and are a pleasure to cook with. For eggs, I use an All-Clad mc2 stainless steel pan, which I really recommend. If you keep the heat moderated, you need very little oil or butter, and I find the heat distribution on this pan is excellent for this purpose. I also have another 18/10 stainless steel saute pan with a reinforced bottom for heat distribution--I bought it for $12 from the now-defunct Lechner's, expecting nothing, and it is great! Stainless stock pots do the job, and my cast-iron Dutch Oven is good too. The only additions I'd like to make are an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, and perhaps a pan as well for dishes with wine or tomato sauce that react with the uncovered iron. Also, my mother passed on a copper-coated crepe pan which I still have to try...

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: josy erne
                                          Woodfireguy RE: josy erne Apr 17, 2011 05:09 AM

                                          I saw an enameled cast iron DO at Costco. I think it was 8 quarts.

                                          1. re: josy erne
                                            Chowrin RE: josy erne Apr 17, 2011 06:11 AM

                                            avoid smoked foods, if you want to avoid carcinogens. Yeah, if you eat the coating, it's probably carcinogenic. So, don't eat the coating!

                                            1. re: josy erne
                                              paulj RE: josy erne Apr 17, 2011 11:09 AM

                                              ": even the government says that non-stick coatings of ALL kinds are carcinogenic.." is your spin on the topic. The government would be more specific, identifying specific chemicals. I suspect you have in mind the government findings on PFOA, a chemical used by some manufacturers in the production of PTFE. In the USA the government has mainly been concerned about the concentrations of PFOA in water around DuPont plants.


                                              1. re: josy erne
                                                The Drama Queen RE: josy erne Apr 17, 2011 11:18 AM

                                                I use both LeCreuset and Lodge black cast iron for almost all of my cooking. I have 2 stainless steel Farberware pans that go back about 30 years. I haven't used non-stick since 1991 and don't intend to go back. Food tastes so much better in cast iron or stainless and you get that great fond on the bottom of the skillet. If you do it right, your food will not stick. Stop moving food around and let it carmelize the way it should in it's own sweet time and you'll find that everything will release itself when it's good and ready.

                                                1. re: The Drama Queen
                                                  Rella RE: The Drama Queen Apr 17, 2011 03:07 PM

                                                  It was hard getting rid of ALL the non-stick pots and pans I had. There were a lot of them. The only thing I hung onto was a Cuisinart electric skillet. It's gotta go soon and it just taking up space.

                                                  About the same time - perhaps 5 years ago - we stopped using the microwave. Whereas we thought life would end without it, it is not missed at all.

                                              2. Will Owen RE: Woodfireguy Apr 18, 2011 04:39 PM

                                                I've got one nonstick and one only, a five-quart round-bottomed sauté pot in heavy aluminum with a domed glass lid. BB&B had these for several years priced at $24, and my FIL (who was The Cook) liked his so much he gave one to all the other cooks in the family for Christmas. It's just the thing for stovetop braising of vegetables; I use it for almost nothing else, though I do a lot of that. The only other cooking vessel of approximately that size and shape that I have is an All-Clad that Mrs. O gave me shortly after we married, for which she paid about ten times what the nonstick cost, and that was on sale and almost thirty years ago besides. It is not only not non-stick, it is AGGRESSIVELY not non-stick, latching on instantly to any food item dropped into it regardless of temperature or whatever kind of fat is used. So I don't use it at all, though for obvious reasons I'm not going to stick it in a yard sale, either …

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: Will Owen
                                                  breadchick RE: Will Owen Apr 18, 2011 06:06 PM

                                                  Will O,

                                                  Hmm, your A/C is sticking for what food you're cooking? I use my A/C when I plan on searing, oven finish, and de-glazing and I've never had a problem for basic proteins. It's sad to hear you're giving up on what sounds like a great pan.

                                                  Here's what I do, just saying, and it works well with A/C: patience. I heat the pan - not on high, but medium to medium-ish high for at least a minute or more; then.... add some oil. Let the oil heat for a couple seconds and swirl the pan to coat. Now - add the food. It's been written here many times, and I'll add my two cents: the food should work just fine if you give it some time. Chops and chx should lift with no problem if you give it time to cook on the "presentation" side - which is the first side down in the pan.

                                                  This is stuff you may already know, so I might be preaching to the choir - but I'm taking a chance you may be a newbie to some techniques.

                                                  Good luck!!!

                                                  1. re: breadchick
                                                    Rella RE: breadchick Apr 18, 2011 06:30 PM


                                                    Here another helpful hint:

                                                    Infrared temperture sensor gun is a great way to learn certain temperatures for certain foods in a hot/warm/cold pan.

                                                    For instance, I've learned never to put eggs in a pan until it's a certain temperature. Actually I have in the back of my mind, different temperatures of a pan for scrambled, over easy, or whatever.

                                                    If I want meat browned, I know from experience using this temperature gun what a good temperature for the pan to come to before place the meat in for searing.

                                                    Sounds like a pain, but it's not if you are detail minded.

                                                    P.S. I have a few All-Clad, but a few other nice pans as well.
                                                    PPS, I am not recommending the particular gun that I listed, but just putting it as a source for anyone not knowing of what I speak.

                                                    1. re: Rella
                                                      Eiron RE: Rella Apr 19, 2011 11:09 AM

                                                      "Sounds like a pain, but it's not if you are detail minded."

                                                      Please! I prefer the term, "Linear"

                                                      At least, compared to what my wife chooses to call it.... :-D

                                                      1. re: Rella
                                                        breadchick RE: Rella Apr 19, 2011 05:21 PM

                                                        Ooooh, looks like another toy for bc. Love your idea - thanks!

                                                        I work in (legislative) logistics, so I'm detail-minded to the extreme... ;-)

                                                        1. re: breadchick
                                                          Rella RE: breadchick Apr 19, 2011 06:57 PM

                                                          DH bought it for himself, but it was mine before we walked in the door.
                                                          It's been in the kitchen drawer by the stove ever since.

                                                          Now that I'm thinking about it, I do use it for pointing it toward the a/c and heat vents to test the temperature coming out of the vents when I don't think the output is not high/low enough.

                                                      2. re: breadchick
                                                        Will Owen RE: breadchick Apr 20, 2011 02:46 PM

                                                        I've just never had good results with any shiny stainless; it might even simply be that my basic hatred for that look is predisposing me to have a hard time with it. Funny thing - back when "Simple Cooking" was a printed quarterly (well, SORTA quarterly!), its writer John Thorne and I corresponded quite a bit via snail mail, because that's all there was … anyway, he'd gotten some Calphalon pans that he hated because he couldn't get anything NOT to stick to those!

                                                        Anyway, I've had that All-Clad for almost thirty years; I was kind of a newbie then, and no, I didn't know about hot pan first, then heat oil, then add food. And now that I think of it I did use it for one family of dishes, pasta sauces based on cream reduction. I even demonstrated one of those on TV one time, during the Nashville PBS station's fundraiser. But now I have a bunch of tin-lined copper, that heats more quickly and evenly, and NOTHING sticks to it! So Mr. All-Clad will probably have to wait for the estate sale …

                                                        1. re: Will Owen
                                                          buttertart RE: Will Owen Apr 21, 2011 07:14 AM

                                                          For what it's worth, Mr. Owen (not much, actually), I dreamt about you last night. You were very critical of some food item in the dream. !!!

                                                          1. re: Will Owen
                                                            kaleokahu RE: Will Owen Apr 21, 2011 09:13 PM

                                                            E, Will Owen, Aloha:

                                                            30 *more* years of good cooking to you.


                                                      3. CCSPRINGS RE: Woodfireguy Apr 21, 2011 03:24 AM

                                                        Good for you. Yes they have their place, meaning non stick, but to delicate. I love my cast iron.

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