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Chef has questions about anodized cookware

How is cookware anodized and does the process really make it scratch and heat proof. Also, does the process not affect the food that is later cooked in the cookware.

Manuel Oleaga
chef - Miami, Florida, USA

This is a very general response....anodized cookware is made out of aluminum. To anodize aluminum you dip it in dilute sulfuric acid and run voltage through it, then you seal it with chemicals and/or heat. What this does is grow a thin ceramic layer (aluminum oxide) that helps protect the raw aluminum. It will "help" protect against scratches, I doubt it has a noticeable affect on heat loss.

The process shouldn't hurt the food later on, it may help protect it. I've heard horror stories about medical symptoms caused by cooking with aluminum pans...but after researching it for a bit I found no solid evidence that it will affect ones health. The worst foods to cook in aluminum are starchy foods that will absorb trace amounts of Al. and then you ingest it. The anodized ceramic layer will keep food from absorbing the Al. and causing possible problems/flavoring the food. Last I knew Al. cookware was not monitored by the FDA. It could be a a health risk or just a rumor, I don't know and there are many opinions leaning either way.

Jason Aube
- Flint, Michigan

To add to what Jason said, the aluminum oxide finish that is produced by anodizing is the same aluminum oxide that is used as the abrasive in sandpaper. It is hard indeed! The dark cookware like Calaphon has a very heavy layer of anodizing which is therefore more wear resistant than the thin clear anodizing you would see on pots and pans that are aluminum colored.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Grandmar cooked with the sets all through her cooking life, before that it was the good old enamel ware. Just use the old rule of thumb, don't boil the pot dry, just clean it with everyday dish-soaps and no harsh scrub or chemicals. Stainless steel can become quite trashy as well if it's not looked after well. I was told as a child, in the 1970s that english house wives, while the wars were active the army used to melt down the pots for the air planes. Or just a very happy sales persons with a new pro range. Australians never throw things out. Our dogs on the station still drink from the old cook pots and I have found they make great pot plant after they fail. Never fear I'm still here, they have said the same thing about beer cans. We all can see the side effects of that now can't we!. hey all the best from crazy J.

Joda Dion Hose
- WA, Australia
November 19, 2010

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