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The Kitchen Cabinet

Oil-Free Non-Stick Pans May Be Sticking Around

June 01, 1989|MINNIE BERNARDINO | Times Staff Writer

We may be stuck with non-stick cookware forever, now that health-conscious individuals are finding low-cholesterol, low-calorie benefits in no-oil food preparation.

However, the biggest disappointment with ordinary non-stick cookware is that the marriage of the coating to the pan is far from a long-lasting bond.

Peter Liu, marketing director for Le Cook's-Ware, Inc. in San Francisco, blames the short-lived performance to "the everyday abrasion of cooking utensils that wears out the non-stick coating."

Enter Anolon cookware from Le Cook's-Ware, introduced for the first time worldwide last week in Los Angeles. This black cookware with a tempered glass lid combines the world's toughest cookware surface, called hard-anodized (which is twice as hard as stainless steel), with Du Pont's SilverStone Supra, one of the most durable non-stick coatings.

Sauteing Without Oil

Anolon is amazing. Touch its super-smooth interior surface and you can guess what's in store for you. Testing the little 7-inch skillet ($19.99) with no oil, I toasted cheese to "death" until it was crusty and browned and cooked a whole egg until it was picture-perfect. In the 11-inch stir-fry pan ($59.99), I sauteed (remember, no oil) Oriental egg noodles and shrimp, made fried rice, and browned julienned chicken breast, beef and pork. And I didn't forget fish either, another problem food. Nothing stuck to the pan. The surface was smooth and cooked evenly all the way through with no spatters. Cleaning was a cinch, of course.

How long will this non-sticking last? Gary Wright, L.A. regional sales manager for Le Cook's-Ware said: "We've run some aging cycle tests with the skillet--50,000 cycles, which is equivalent to 35 years of use--and we ended up with just a few pan scratches. We also used a metal spatula and put the pan in the dishwasher."

To achieve good heat conduction and retention, aluminum is used in Anolon. When questioned about public concern in using aluminum, Liu explained: "The tempered anodizing process changes the molecular structure of the pan's surface into an electrochemically hardened surface that keeps the food from interacting with the aluminum core. It becomes a double protection with the SilverStone Supra (a three-coat system that is forced into the anodized cavities of the metal)."

Forthcoming in the Anolon line is a good-size oval fish pan that's perfect for whole fish. I like the stir-fry pan, which is almost as deep as a wok but offers an excellent weight. There is a seven-piece set ($219), which makes a nice starter collection and is appropriate for a bridal gift. This includes a 1 1/2-quart milk pan with lips, 10-inch open fry pan, an 8 1/2-inch open French skillet, a 2-quart covered saucepan and a 6-quart covered stockpot.

Another item that isn't showing signs of being phased out of the kitchen is the slow cooker or Crock-Pot. It's surprising how many people still swear by this seemingly old-fashioned electric cooking unit for a no-fuss meal.

In the actual sense, as Rival Manufacturing Co. says, it's "slow cooking for fast times." Working parents can start the cooker in the morning by putting in, for instance, a pot roast, and coming home to a moist and tender meat entree.

The Latest Entry

Brand new in the market, Rival Crock-Pot with Corning Ware ($58.95) is quickly gaining consumer approval not just for its pretty looks but for its versatility. This slow cooker includes a 3-quart Corning Ware casserole insert that can be used for table or buffet serving, for refrigerator or freezer storage as well as for microwave reheating or cooking.

Available are two designs, featuring the popular Shadow Iris with purplish-blue irises and green leaves, and the Country Cornflower with blue and red blossoms in beribboned yellow basket. The concept uses the same low-watt "blanket of heat" as the original crock pot to produce even cooking. If desired, the meat can be browned in the Corning Ware on the stove top or in the microwave before placing in the cooker.

Sid Korob, direct sales manager for Rival in Los Angeles, said: "It's historic. This is the first time that Corning Ware has ventured with another company." He added that "the possibilities to the consumer are unlimited, and if they already have the 3-quart Corning piece, they could use it as an extra pot for the cooker."

The Anolon Anodized Non-Stick Cookware is exclusively available at Bullock's.

The Rival Crock-Pot with Corning Ware is available at May Co., Broadway, Fedco and most stores carrying Rival products.

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