Sticking it to non-stick pans

The problems with most non-stick pans is that they really don’t keep non-stick. You acquire them hoping for a miracle remedy for caught-on omelettes and scorched chicken, but sooner or later on – normally sooner – you discover by yourself, after a lot more, madly scraping sticky egg with a spatula. So I locate it a mystery that non-stick pans outsell other ones (what ought to we contact them? Stick pans?) by this kind of a margin.

As of 2009, 90 per cent of all aluminium cookware in America had a non-stick coating, and the indications are that the British figures are similar. Lakeland lists no fewer than 130 non-stick pots and pans.

I do see that brand-new non-stick is the easiest way to cook with minimal fat. Non-stick pans had been very first designed in 1954, when a French engineer, Mark Gregoire, realised he could bond a slippery substance used in fishing tackle – PTFE – on to aluminium. When you buy a Teflon pan, it would seem nearly magical how the surface repels small droplets of oil.

But it never ever lasts. One particular reason I desire standard metal pans – such as cast iron and aluminium – is that they get far better the much more you cook. With each meal, some of the oil will “polymerise”, leaving a organic non-stick surface. I have one aluminium omelette pan, blackened and warped right after 14 years of weekend pancakes. The crêpes it helps make – lacey and golden – flip much more effortlessly than ever.

I also like the fact that it doesn’t depart me with individuals niggling, if unfounded, anxieties. The American Cancer Society says that PFOA, a carcinogen utilized in creating Teflon, is not really current in “significant amounts” in Teflon pans. Another fear – groundless if you really do not use also higher a flame – is of toxic gases getting released when the pans overheat.

But non-stick has changed. A new generation of pans – created from enamelled or anodised metal or ceramic Thermolon – is supposed to have solved several of the niggles. These are, in concept, safer (no PFOA), tougher (withstanding higher temperatures) and longer-lasting. Friends with induction hobs swear by ceramic non-stick induction pans.

So – in an admittedly not really exhaustive trial – I attempt to cure my non-stick prejudice. Very first I consider a single of Tefal’s Ingenio pans with a hardened enamel interior. As the name suggests, it has ingenious functions. The take care of clips on and off. You can move the pan – minus the manage – straight from the hob to the oven. Nifty. It’s just a shame that nothing at all I cooked in the Ingenio tasted very good to me. An omelette was rubbery and pallid. Sautéed courgettes have been boring. Pancakes came out a uniform leathery brown.

A ceramic Thermolon Kyoto pan by GreenPan was more promising. It produced an uncannily neat and properly formed omelette. Pancakes have been properly lacey and so non-stick you could flip them virtually to the ceiling.

No matter whether this pan will remain non-stick permanently I can’t say. Last year Cook’s Illustrated magazine examined a range of “innovative” non-stick pans and discovered that even the prime-executing ceramic began to dress in off soon after 77 fried eggs. No matter what, there is anything about non-stick that I cannot warm to. They by some means feel inhuman. A good pan must gladden you as you hold it, recalling all the dinners you’ve cooked, even the ones that stuck.

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