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What pans are in your cupboard?

I have a couple pans from my grandparent's collection of Guardian Service. Back in the day, somewhere between 1930-1940, a traveling door-to-door salesman prepared a complete meal in their home using the new cookware. It must have been a good pitch - they bought the entire set! What's the problem you ask? The cookware is Aluminum.

The idea is brilliant, the utility was so spot on for a family, "A Piece for Every Purpose * A Purpose For Every Piece".

I still have my two pieces - but only to reminisce, not to cook with. Aluminum cookware isn't safe to cook with, we know this now. It is implicated in aluminum toxicity and possibly a contributing factor to Alzheimer's, a neurologic disease. I don't cook with copper cookware (it's not bioavailable and creates health issues), teflon cookware (the toxic chemicals released when the teflon is heated to unsafe temperatures is really dangerous - think canary in the coal mine), or any synthetic variations of the above.

I cook with stainless steel and iron pans.

How can my iron be safe to cook with?

After all, I'm constantly telling you to get rid of your excess unbioavailable iron!

Cooking with an iron skillet is perfectly safe when the pan is properly seasoned and maintained. I heat the pan to my desired cook temperature. I then introduce the healthy animal fat of my choice that I am cooking with and allow that fat to heat to the skillet temperature. Only then do I add my food to be cooked. When done, I use very hot water to clean out my skillet and lightly dry the pan, adding some heat to finish drying if necessary. My iron skillet is non-stick at this point! NO SOAP! No deep scrubbing! My iron skillet is also a lovely connection to my past, my mother passed it to me when she downsized her kitchen. I think of her everyday when I prepare my meals.

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