Guide to Kitchen Utensils, Pots, Pans and Accessories: Aluminum

About the uses, care and controvery surrounding aluminum kitchen utensils, pots, pans, and accessories.

A Guide to Kitchen Utensils


Properties: A good heat conductor; heavier gauges cook more evenly and are longer lasting.

Cost: Moderately priced.

Use: Aluminum can be cast into a smooth, one-piece utensil which is heavy and durable. Some of these utensils are dutch ovens, griddles, pressure cookers, and skillets with lids. Or it can be rolled into various gauges for kettles, saucepans, and saucepots which are durable and fairly resistant to denting and warping. Baking pans, molds, and flour measuring cups are made of the thinner gauges.

Care: Utensils with burned-on food should be soaked before scouring. Use a fine soapy steel-wool pad for scouring, and a good sponge or dishrag for rubbing. Rinse with warm water and dry. To remove discoloration caused by alkalies, cook acid foods such as tomatoes or apples in the utensil. Vinegar, or cream of tartar, mixed with water (2 teaspoonfuls to each quart of water) can also be used.

Warped pots can be smoothed out by heating the pan, turning it upside down on a block of wood, and hammering the surface until it is level.

Controversy: Some health-conscious people believe that an excessive use of aluminum utensils releases toxic quantities of aluminum into the body. For example, according to Best Health Articles from Prevention Magazine by J. I. Rodale and staff, acidic ingredients such as vinegar will react to aluminum by creating a metallic taste. "Aside from the taste factor, the danger of poisoning is also present." On the other hand, in Dr. Carlton Fredricks's Your Key to Good Health, a Mayo Clinic physician, Dr. Russel Wilder, says that many physicians have been giving hydrated alumina or an antacid in the treatment of ulcer of the stomach and the duodenum for years and this has never aroused any suspicion of provoking stomach cancer. The amount of aluminum given by this means exceeds by many hundred times what would be derived from the cooking of foods in aluminum vessels.

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