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Egg-testing a “green” pan

The butter is a little brown not because I overheated it but because I had cooked a Trader Joe’s fake sausage before cooking the egg.

Six or seven years ago, I bought some nonstick Calphalon pans from Williams Sonoma. They were on sale, but they were still pricey. They were said to be dishwasher safe. For several years, they worked great. But now they’ve mostly lost their nonstick qualities, and using them is a lot like cooking with cast iron.

I would have guiltily written this off to putting them in the dishwasher and not taking proper care of them, but from doing some reading it appears that all nonstick pans eventually stop working. Good pots and pans should last a lifetime or longer — except, apparently, for nonstick pans. So if a pan is going to last for only five or six or seven years, then why pay Calphalon prices?

While I was on the lookout for replacements, so-called “green” pans with a white ceramic coating caught my eye. They are moderately priced, just above the level of cheap. Some Googling and reading finds that, though they greatly reduce the toxic substances in nonstick coatings, they still may not be entirely free of toxins. These pans generally get pretty good reviews. The small pan I bought is clearly marked as not safe for dishwashers. And clearly it should never be used on high heat. At least while new, it does a fine job of cooking eggs.

The egg in the photo, by the way, was picked up from the chicken house about 10 minutes before I cooked it. I did not feed the chickens yesterday, forcing them to forage in their woods lot and in the grass of the orchard. Chickens eating greens makes for really golden egg yolks. When the girls are first let out in the morning, they immediately go for chickweed and clover. Though it comes back to me indirectly, I do get some nutrition out of that delicious-looking organic grass in the orchard.

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