Hard Anodized Nonstick Pans
I just bought my very first hard anodized nonstick pan. It’s almost too heavy for my left hand to carry, but the salespeople have been ranting about it. Of course, before I bought the hard anodized nonstick Teflon pan, I had to do a little sleuthing.
As I went around the store to look for a nonstick Teflon pan, I noticed one thing: all nonstick pans seemed to be made of aluminum. Apparently, Teflon adheres better to aluminum than to other metals, so cookware manufacturers usually make their nonstick pans out of aluminum.
Of course, there has always been the link between aluminum in food and Alzheimer’s disease, which is why I discourage my friends to use aluminum pots and pans. But most Teflon nonstick pans are made of aluminum, which made me stay away from nonstick pans for quite a while.
Recently, I found out that hard anodized nonstick Teflon pans, despite being made of aluminum, may be much safer than regular aluminum nonstick pans. Hard anodization is a process that hardens aluminum, to the point that it becomes even harder than stainless steel. The hardened aluminum becomes resistant to chipping, even after years of abuse in the kitchen. Unlike regular aluminum pots, they are supposedly much safer in terms of aluminum contamination of cooked food.
Aluminum, in addition to being an ideal metal for Teflon products, actually heats up evenly. Have you ever noticed how steel pans have hotter areas and tend to burn at certain spots, producing unevenly cooked food? Aluminum pots don’t have that problem as aluminum heats up evenly. Hard anodized nonstick pans, even when they have been processed to be harder, are still made of aluminum and also heat up very evenly.
So, it seems that hard anodized nonstick pans retain the good features of aluminum (even heating, easy binding with Teflon) while solving the problems associated with aluminum cookware (aluminum contamination, lack of durability). In addition, since the aluminum doesn’t break apart easily, the Teflon doesn’t peel off or get damaged as easily. This means that the hard anodization has actually increased the shelf-life of the Teflon.
Looking at the bottom of the pan. It’s a pretty dark color that supposedly darkens even more beautifully the more you use it. (My cat, ever curious, takes a tentative sniff.)
A few more things I like about hard anodized nonstick pans: since they are nonstick, I tend to use less oil, which bodes well for my health. The food I cook no longer gets burned (I use an electric stove so the heat can’t be adjusted quickly), and even the thinnest crepes look so evenly cooked.
I am no chef, but I’m glad I bought a hard anodized nonstick pan. I spent almost $50 on it, so it better be worth it!