Cooking utensils are an important part of the kitchen essentials and not often people realize the importance of owning and using good quality ones that not only enhance the quality of the food cooked in it but also avoid unnecessary health complications that arise out of a bad choice or wrong usage of utensils. In general, it’s best to choose those that have smooth finishes without any cracks, joints or grooves and more importantly those that are devoid of any deleterious substances. The materials that are usually used to make cooking utensils are Iron and Steel (Enameled or Tinned), Copper, Aluminum, Nickel, silver, Tin, Clay (Stone ware or Earthenware).
Each of these materials influence the quality of the food prepared in it. Iron and steel utensils are made with smooth finishes but the weight of the metal and its tendency to discolour and impart a taste to food makes it unhealthy and is not widely used. However for higher temperatures like fry pan, this is ideal and generally polished iron or steel pans are used. Another most widely used utensil is enamelware. Most kitchens have some of them and the good quality ones are indefinitely usable owing to their smooth finish and durability. However, today, cheaper versions of enamelware are flooded and these usually crack or chip very soon causing health hazards when used for cooking.
If there’s one material or metal that could be highly satisfactory with no ill effects, then it could only be aluminum ware. It is one of the lightest metals available and can withstand great heat. The finish is smooth and once cleaned they resemble silver with their brightness and sparkle. Though there are some chemical reactions when the metal is attacked by nitric acid, hydrochloric acid or alkalis while cooking, it doesn’t affect the health in general. These are also easy to maintain due to their perfect finish. However, when compared to the original aluminium ware, those that are available today are of cheaper quality and thus the food prepared in it is also compromised in quality.
Nickel ware is expensive and this is one reason why people don’t opt for it. But considering their finish, durability and easy maintenance, it’s worth the cost. Copper coated silver ware is ideal for fine cookery. Silver is devoid of any delirious substances and the copper maintains the heat. This is a recent invention and they last a life long. They are heavier and are much more difficult to clean and maintain comparatively but their capacity to evenly distribute the temperature while cooking makes it more desirable. For this same reason, though they are expensive, users buy it for their worth.
Lastly, we have the Earthenware. They date back to prehistoric times and even today they are most widely sought. Different communities have their own version of earthenware that suits their kind of cooking and they are termed differently as well – from casserole to terrain or simply fire proof china. They can stand great heat and can be used for all kinds of cooking from slow cooking to beating up mixtures and they do not discolour. The finish is smooth and can be easily cleaned and maintained. They are less expensive as well. Based on the cooking utensils used, food can be made healthier and safer!