Gifted nonstick roasting pan with rack- unsure what to do
I was recently given a nonstick roasting pan with rack from my soon-to-be MIL. She is very sweet and wanted to make sure we had a Thanksgiving here even though we cannot be with family this year. She has asked in the past if we needed things, needed cookware, etc., and we would always downplay it because 1.) we live in a small apartment and only want things we absolutely need and 2.) I am a little particular with cookware. I avoid nonstick, or at least cheap nonstick without any sort of information about what makes it nonstick or where it came from (I have food allergies so if we use a nonstick pan it has to be exclusively used with food safe for me, since the coating can harbor particles of allergens that make me sick). I am trying not to overwhelm them with information about my allergies/preferences, since food allergies already are confusing for people who have not had to deal with them.
Anyway, the roasting rack we received is by Tools of the Trade, made in Indonesia, and is nonstick with a nonstick rack with it. There is absolutely no information about what makes the surface nonstick. It says that it is oven safe up to 450 degree, which makes sense, but I am concerned about regulating that carefully since most turkey recipes are right around that temp. Also, I am concerned about the rack rubbing up against the pan and flaking off the nonstick. It says not to use metal utensils with it, but how is the nonstick-coated metal putting pressure in the same 4 tiny places any safer?
Does anyone have any thoughts about the safety of this nonstick rack inside nonstick pan situation?
I'm not a fan of nonstick items myself, so I understand your concern, especailly about the metal of the rack scratching the coating.
Tools of the Trade is a Macy's brand, so perhaps looking up the exact model you have on the website would help you find out more about it.
And if you decide to exchange it they are usually pretty good about it.
<if we use a nonstick pan it has to be exclusively used with food safe for me, since the coating can harbor particles of allergens that make me sick)>
I won't worry. It is very easy to clean nonstick cookware. Afterall, things do not stick to it -- thus nonstick. If anything, other cookware are the one who can have food lingering -- most noticeably cast iron cookware.
<There is absolutely no information about what makes the surface nonstick. It says that it is oven safe up to 450 degree, which makes sense,>
The most standard nonstick coating is the Teflon (PTFE). There are some Silicone coating cookware and ceramic cookware, but they are rare in comparison. I bet you that you have Teflon coating.
<but I am concerned about regulating that carefully since most turkey recipes are right around that temp. >
Then put small amount of water in the pan. This will keep the pan cool without exceeding 212 oF.
<Also, I am concerned about the rack rubbing up against the pan and flaking off the nonstick. It says not to use metal utensils with it>
Nonstick Teflon is a safe material. Whatever concern people have, it is about overheating the coating and possibly releasing harmful fume. Even then, the assertion are speculative, and somewhat dramatized. Teflon itself is very safe as a solid form. You can ingest pieces of Teflon and you will be perfectly fine. Teflon was a popular medical implant component too. As for not using metal, that is because metal utensils can scratch the nonstick surface, making it less nonstick. So it is a functional problem.
<how is the nonstick-coated metal putting pressure in the same 4 tiny places any safer?>
First, because it is a roasting pan, and not a frying pan, losing a bit of nonstick coating at these four corners won't affect the pan's function. Second, it is the sharp metal utensils which do the most damage. The four corners of your rack are very round and smooth, and it is coated with nonstick itself, so it is unlikely to scratch the pan.
If you are really concern, like roxlet said, just exchange it for something else.
I think you may be unduly concerned about safety. Within the proper temperature range (including 98.6F), PTFE is miraculously inert. It is the combustion products and perhaps some offgassing that would be worrysome. So even if you ingested a tiny rasping of PTFE, this too would pass.
As for wear, the rack-on-pan friction would be PTFE wearing on itself. Yes, the psi of contact might be somewhat high, but no higher than scraping the pan with a plastic spatula.
I recommend using the pan and rack with observation. If/when the lining wears through, consider replacing it. If you want to be especially careful, bake the pan empty at around 400F for a few hours to be sure the coating has offgassed. I think the 450F limit has a built-in safety margin to accommodate oven fluctuations a bit above that. Over 500 would be worrisome.
BTW, these pans are quite handy for roasting things from which you don't want fond--nuts, chex mix, garlic, granola, etc.
It should be OK, but if there is any way to exchange it for a stainless steel or aluminum pan, I would. I have a couple of non-stick All-Clad pans, and buying them was one of the worst kitchen equipment buys ever. They are difficult to clean once gunk gets cooked on, and they wind up feeling greasy even after assiduous washing. I know some people don't care about that, but it skeeves me out.