The evolution of kitchenware has seen the invention of many new materials that are exceptionally durable and convenient to use. But like a bargain with the devil, somewhere along the way we heavily compromised on health in exchange.
From Teflon cookware to plastic containers, kitchenware nowadays contains toxic substances like nickel, chromium and forever chemicals like PTFE, PFAS and PFOS. When exposed to high heat, acid or prolonged storage, they leach into food. Ultimately, they accumulate in the body and cause cancer, neurological disorders and cardiovascular diseases.
That’s why there is a rise in the trend of ‘going back to our roots’. Kitchens are now seeing a shift to utensils made of cast iron, copper and clay.
A well-seasoned cast iron cookware is a wonderful chemical-free alternative to non-stick ones. It doesn’t require the use of excess oil and doesn’t contain any dangerous chemicals that will leach into food. In fact, it fortifies your food with iron. It is sturdy and retains heat perfectly. The food prepared in cast iron utensils is incomparable to that prepared in non-stick utensils. Its taste and texture is simply superior. And it’s oven safe too!
Storing water in copper vessels kills diarrhoea causing bacteria and even antibiotic resistant microbes. Copper kills the microbes by disrupting their cell membrane and DNA. The trace amount of copper that leaches into water is in safe levels. As it happens, copper is a trace element our body requires for biological processes such as protein metabolism and red blood cell synthesis.
Clay vessels are great for storing water. They not only help keep water cool but also infuse the water with minerals like magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. Clay vessels can also be used to cook. Its porosity and natural insulation causes heat and moisture to circulate evenly while cooking. This ensures that the food retains its nutritive value and aroma.
Stone mortars and pestles are pretty popular. But did you know we used to use cooking utensils made of stone too? Traditional South Indian households still possess stone cookware like the Kalchatti, a vessel made of soapstone. While cooking, moisture and heat circulate uniformly throughout the pot, enhancing flavour and aroma. Since it is made of stone, it is inert and can handle high heat cooking without getting damaged. Gravies, soups and stews prepared in soapstone vessels taste absolutely delectable.