Vikram Doctor, a food writer, once shared a fascinating anecdote about how stainless steel entered his home many decades ago. He recalled that women would come to his parents’ place, asking for old sarees with ‘zari’ work on them and exchange them for steel utensils. These utensils were light in weight when compared to the traditional heavy cast/wrought iron vessels that were almost universal back then. And easy to maintain as well.
So the ladies of the house would readily give away their unused sarees for stainless steel and agree that it was a superbly profitable exchange for them.
From costing as much as expensive sarees to being the most popular pot in the house, ironically (pun intended), things have changed so much that we have come to think of stainless steel as the convention and iron as an ‘alternative’.
Stainless steel utensils also fill my kitchen cabinets. I take them for granted.
But whenever I visit my grandmother’s place, I can clearly see the difference. Her set of utensils are all cast iron.
From her skillet to her Kadai, from Tawas to fry pans, every utensil she cooks in is made of heavy iron. It’s a wonder how the septuagenarian can manage to pick up the heavy cookware every single day.
But you know what they say, mum knows best. And grandmothers perhaps doubly more!
Is it good to cook in iron utensils?
Although stainless steel is not toxic to cook in, it may give out traces of nickel in our food. If you are allergic to it, cooking in stainless steel can be quite a problem.
Non-stick pans have a coating of Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene), and although it isn’t toxic when ingested in micros doses, you always want to be super safe when it comes to food, right?
But even without these issues, steel and non-stick add nothing to your food.
Iron not only gives you a good surface to cook in, but it also adds much-needed iron nutrients to your food.
Cook healthy, eat healthily! Follow this link to add a collection of cast iron utensils to your kitchen.
Unlike stainless steel or worse, non-stick pans, the traces of metal you get from iron utensils are beneficial for you.
Iron utensils are also safe if you wish to cook on high heat for long periods. They even stay hot long after you turn off the heat – so you can save fuel!
(Keep your hands at a safe distance from the pan, it gets very hot. And make sure you allow the utensil to cool before you clean it).
And for those cost-conscious among us, do keep in mind that the weight of iron utensils itself should tell you that these utensils are quite durable.
They do not break, dent or scratch easily. You can even pass them from one generation to the next!
Speaking of metals, skip the glass and go for copper.
Copper glasses, tumblers and water pots have been an integral part of Indian households for centuries now. Drinking water from a copper tumbler can help strengthen your immune system. The traces of the metal that you ingest when you drink from the tumbler or store water in a copper pot or tank are enough to help you build your immunity.
It is a tried and tested trick by your grandparents, and it’s time you learn them too. Click here to purchase copper containers now!
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)