Several months ago, Barbara and I decided to replace our non-stick cookware with stainless steel. Why? Very simply, another step in our path of holistic pain relief. Plus, there’s mounting evidence that the chemicals used in non-stick cookware, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), may contribute to the alteration of natural hormones that influence inflammation, cartilage repair, and other criteria associated with arthritis. As Barbara has rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it was a no-brainer for us to move forward with this endeavor.
Understand this…Barbara thinks I’m cheap; I think I’m frugal, thrifty, and practical—great attributes for a COO! Nonetheless, since I am the primary “chef” in the family, we decided I would be in charge of researching and selecting which cookware set to purchase. No problem. They’re all the same, right?
On our next trip to the local warehouse store, I was excited to find a 14-piece stainless steel cookware set for $99.00. It included all the pieces that I needed for preparing my culinary masterpieces. What a deal! I promptly looked up reviews on my iPhone while at the store and was chagrinned that the set was poorly rated. Hmm, I guess they aren’t all the same. Phooey.
For the next week or so, I endeavored to learn what I needed to know about buying safe cookware. I digested a dizzying number of articles that covered types, manufacturers, and cookware SKUs along with many reviews, both user and expert, from varying sources—Amazon to Consumer’s Reports.
Well folks, this is what I found out:
First, I wanted to find support for the negative health affects from PFOA and PFOS, particularly as it pertains to arthritis. I’m a very logical person and soon realized that finding non-biased information about health-related topics was like trying to get neutral political opinion from both FOX and MSNBC. This is one of the articles that I read—“Teflon component linked to arthritis” based on a study featured in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Obviously, this ruled out non-stick cookware.
Next, I wanted to find a synopsis of what’s available. I viewed this slide show on the Huffington Post about the different types of cookware. Yeah, I know. It’s a liberal site…but this is a very non-political blog post!
- Aluminum – we ruled out aluminum because of the possible correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease
- Anodized aluminum
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
- Enameled cast iron
- Carbon steel
- Enamel on steel
- Green pan (a ceramic-based non-stick material)
Wow, that’s a lot of choices. After considering the above materials, we decided upon stainless steel. But, what’s the difference from one stainless steel set to another? After reading around a hundred reviews on Amazon and other sites, I learned that it was the thickness of the steel and whether or not it’s “multiclad/tri-play” or aluminum layered in the stainless steel both on the bottom and sides of the pot/pan. This is important since stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat.
Now, what brand? There were basically three manufacturers with models that rated well, 1) All-Clad, 2) Cuisinart, and 3) Tramontina. They all have multiclad styles.
I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, but $1500.00 for a 14-piece All-Clad set was a bit too rich for our blood. The Tramontina set I considered was only available through Sam’s Club and we’re not members. Therefore, we decided upon a multiclad Cusinart set.
But wait! Where to buy it? The Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set available at Amazon was priced at $299.00. Now, this is where my cheapness, frugality, practicality comes to play.
Drum roll please. While looking at the Costco website, I noted they had a Cuisinart® 12-piece Professional Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware. It was Cusinart. Check! There were no discernible differences. Check! It was “tri-ply”. Check! It also had glass lids that the Multi-Clad Pro set did not have. Yay! The set at Costco cost $199.99 or a hundred bucks less than the set at Amazon.
P.S. Since then, we bought a stainless steel steamer set for steaming vegetables and we also determined that we needed to make one concession for using non-stick cookware—frying eggs. However, once the non-stick surface starts to show signs of wear, we’ll trash it. Oh well. Not perfect, but pretty close to it.
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