Friday, May 29, 2009

Teflon Pan

A while back on the post Sunny Day  I got a comment from a rep of Du Pont, the chemical company who invented Teflon.  I had discussed getting rid of my Teflon pans in order to find a different type of non-stick or just simply use my stainless steel, and they wanted me try one of their products.  

The company sent me a product called the Flip-It pan to review.  I was told in an e-mail that it isn't even publicly available.  Once I received the pan I noted that it had a plate in it with the American flag. 
It's upside down, I know.  :)

Now, yes, I am a military wife, but I should note that not only am I not the most patriotic person, but that the pattern made cooking a bit difficult, as I will further explain later.  I read the booklet that came with the pan and it said there were other plates for the pan, and the front of the booklet had a pic of a flip-it pan with a smiley face and the words Good Morning.  When I contacted the company to ask about these other plates I was told, " there aren't other "plates" available for this pan."  Okay, now I am a bit confused as to why it would say it then.
But on to the actual review.  I really, really wanted to like this pan.  I'm all about the cutesy food....I've been known to make pancakes for G with blueberries or chocolate chips for smiley faces.  And I was the one when my brothers were little making mickey mouse, snowmen, and initials with pancake batter.  So I thought, if this works, it would be a neat pan.  

It just failed to impress me completely.  I have seen other 2 sided pans that closed together, but this had a good half inch gap which when flipped, required to make a pancake, batter went everywhere, no matter how much or how little batter I used.  I've been considering getting a 2-sided pan for a while now, because I love to make things like pancakes and frittatas, and thought it might make the job easier.  Unfortunately, in this case, it simply made a mess of my kitchen.  I had pancake batter all over my stove, my burners, and my counter tops.  Because of the gap, pancakes batter (and I was using a very thick batter) slid everywhere when I went to turn it.  
The Gap.

A tiny part of the mess....

Overflowed, but the one side was done, so not much I could have done about it.

In the end, the pancake recipe I used was delicious (it was a new one, so I was thrilled when G loved them!).  But the pan kinda sucked.  As you can see in the pics, the pancakes browned quickly on one side, but were still too gooey on the other side to turn without it going everywhere.  
The company wanted me to review Teflon, however, not the pan.  Which in my opinion would have been simpler to do with a simple saute pan, but eh, it's their decision.  They wanted me to review it's "ease of use, ease of clean-up, taste of the pancakes, etc."  Well, teflon's ease of use is well known.  Things don't tend to stick and make a mess, so it's easy to cook things without them burning, and clean up is fairly simple.  And I've never noticed a difference in taste when using Teflon coated products.  

But my problem with Teflon has nothing to do with any of those things.  I am more concerned with safety, and the safety of my future family.  There have been a lot of concerns that Teflon causes cancer.  If you google "problems with teflon" you will inevitably stumble across article upon article about issues the EPA had with Teflon back in 2004.  I have been told that it's safe as long as there are no scratches on the pan, but we all know how easy it scratches.  That is why, in the original post, I was planning on getting rid of my pan.  

There are other non-stick alternatives out there.  Hard anodized aluminum is one option.  But to be honest, I've found that stainless steel works just fine for me and my family.  I use a little butter or olive oil (and a little goes a long way), and quickly saute up veggies.  Want to make scrambled eggs?  I simply heat up a pat of butter before pouring in the eggs.  And I use ORKA silicon spatulas (I will have to do a review of them another time) and even without using metal utensils things do fine.  How do I clean up stainless steel?  I constantly have a kettle on, so I just add a little bit of boiling water to the pan, let it sit and it cleans up nicely.  For those of you who don't have a kettle on constantly, add water to the cooled pan, put it on the burner and let it come to a boil.  Easy as pie.  

My biggest problem with stainless steel is when it gets starch build up from foods.  I simply take baking soda and scrub it.  Once again, not hard at all.  And all of my stainless steel is dishwasher safe and cleans up beautifully.  

I am not against teflon products, but until they get the all clear safety wise, I'm not willing to place my bets on a product that I don't think in the end is any easier to use than the old fashioned stainless steel and cast iron that I grew up with my grandmama using (and she still uses to this day!).  I want to thank Du Pont for sending the flip it pan, but unfortunately it turned out to be a bust.  
*EDIT*  G told me I should add that I don't have any problems per se with Teflon, because as mentioned, as far as I know, it's fine if it's not scratched.  But they sent me what he calls "a poorly designed novelty item" that really didn't do much for me.  A simple saute pan would have been best, since I would have been able to talk about cooking chicken with vegetables or whatnot without using oils, which non-stick is good for.  We tend to eat fairly healthy though, so an item that was for pancakes and omelets (we tend to do simple scrambled or poached) didn't really do much for us.


  1. Hi there, thanks for the interesting review. I too am a bit worried about Teflon coatings, although we do still have a couple of pans. That pancake pan looks more trouble than it's worth though! I would love to have some cast iron pans, specifically the French Le Creuset - but they are so expensive. Having said that, I imagine you would literally have them for a lifetime, so that's good. If I may be so bold as to make a comment about comments :0) - I noticed on your last post that you asked for lurkers et al to comment, but you didn't reply or acknowledge them. I read quite a lot of blogs and I find it really cool when the blogger replies back (only if my comment is worthy of a reply though, I don't expect one every time!). One blogger always acknowledges comments and I find that over time you build up a real rapport. Anyhoo, I still enjoy reading your blog as you are a young military wife and I am a somewhat older one, so I can relate to a lot of what you say. Keep up the good work and sorry for such a long comment!

  2. Thanks for the comment Patricia! I do try to comment back sometimes, but I am a bit long winded, so sometimes I respond with a whole other post (when discussing things like how we watch t.v. shows). Another commenter and I have become friends and send long, long e-mails back and forth and I respond to her there. But thank you for the suggestion, I really need to put that into practice!

    I am really hoping you make a blog too! It would be interesting to read about other military wives' lives. Sometimes I get so frustrated with this life, so if you start one or know of any others, let me know!

  3. ahh...this is the greatest thing in the world! i need to pick me up one!

  4. Hi Kalee, I'm sorry, but I don't see myself setting up a blog anytime soon - I so admire the people that I read because they seem to put so much time and effort into it, but I am very lazy by nature! :0) Yes, it is sometimes not an easy life - especially not having family nearby. And when you have kids, if you move a lot, it can be difficult for them. That's what happened with this current posting - we moved from Canada to Hungary and my 13-year old took a whole year to get over it! However, it does mean that you and your husband will turn into a very tight unit, and you also have to be prepared to get out there and make friends and contribute to the community. (sorry, you're not the only one who can be long-winded!) I'm glad to see that you are enjoying life in England - I'm Scottish born and bred and we had a posting in England for about 16 months, which was nice. Anyway, I'll keep reading you and now perhaps I'll comment a bit more!

  5. Oops! I'm sorry - I messed up with the last comment, I'm drinking a glass of Hungarian champagne right now and it's gone to my head! I meant to write my name, but my hands slipped!

  6. Patricia~ Blogging can take a bit of work. Some days I am like, what on earth am I going to write about? Other days I feel like I have things to blog about but have to think them over, and then I end up blogging a whole bunch about not a lot!

    Military life has made G and I even closer than we were before (and we were bad about paying attention to others before!). In fact, it's gotten bad enough that I've said, wow, we might depend on each other's company a wee bit too much!

    And I love the champagne drinking.....I'm having a glass of champagne as I type this!

  7. I bought a new one in the Good Will and I thought it would be fine for making heat it sandwiches.
    It didn't have any instructions, so I thought I would see if any literature. It seems as it isn't big hit, but I found you first, and I didn't thinking of using for pancakes. I like eating paninis out, but I didn't want another appliance.
    I didn't find instructions online, so I brush a little olive oil and heat it on medium, and put a sandwich for about 2 - 3 minutes then flip it for same and Presto! It is so easy and delicious!

    I read more or your new writing...
    I enjoyed, thank you!