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Posted by on Jun 25, 2010 in Product Reviews, Reviews | 1 comment

Cast iron skillet vs. non-stick frying pan

Cast iron skillet vs. non-stick frying pan

My all-time favorite skillet is my cast-iron skillet. Made by Lodge, it’s an All-American skillet with over 100 years of history. A friend of mine told me emphatically that her daughters will fight over her cast iron skillet more than any of her other earthly possessions.

I use it all the time for any recipes that require frying or sauteeing including tteokbokki (all 13 versions), dakkalbi (shown here), and creamy linguine with Leeks, Corn and Sesame leaves.

However, my experiences has shown me one notatble exception to this rule: eggs. No matter how well seasoned my cast iron skillet is, eggs always stick to the skillet in a very unattractive way. That’s the time you want to have a non-stick frying pan in your arsenal. There’s a dilemma for me, though.  I threw out all my non-stick skillets and my non-stick wok after I made my Turkey Kimchi Fried Rice video on YouTube because of my reasonable concerns about the dangers of Teflon (PTFE) offgasing. I had to borrow my father in law’s non-stick pan when I made the egg ribbons for my gungjung tteokbokki recipe.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2005, “The Environmental Working Group has collected data from several industry, government and academic studies that have been done on off-gassing of PTFE- coated pans heated to various temperatures. The tests revealed that more than a dozen types of potentially toxic particulates — including hexafluoropropene, hydrogen fluoride and difluoroacetic acid — are released. But whether the fumes occur in enough quantity to harm humans has not been determined.”

Most experts recommend using non-stick skillets for low heat cooking only. Heating them to 400 Fahrenheit can degrade the Teflon and off gas it into your kitchen. I erred on the side of caution and tossed all mine out the door and never looked back. 

I discovered a product that might change my mind about non-stick frying pans. Cuisinart, the kings of the food processor, have produced a line of non-stick cookware called Green Gourmet.

Exclusive Cuisinart Ceramica™ nonstick technology is ceramic based instead of petroleum based, helping to conserve existing oil supplies and the coating is applied at a temperature one half that of conventional nonsticks. And it’s completely free of PTFE and PFOA.

The cookware is “Oven and broiler safe”, which means it can stand up to temperatures over 400 Fahrenheit. I need some “idiot proof” cookware badly so I put in an order for an 8″ skillet. If the relationship works out, you may see it in a future blog post or cooking video.

For more ideas and recipes for your non-stick pans, check out Foodbuzz.

Cast Iron Skillet
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1 Comment

  1. We got rid of our nonstick in favor of cast iron 5 years ago. And discovered the same thing about eggs. But I have found that if I use a dedicated egg pan, and keep it carefully seasoned and clean, I can do fried eggs okay (better as the pan gets more seasoning). Scrambled are harder but I think they will be okay with time. Do let us know how the ceramic works out though.

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