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Old 03-20-2011
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Stainless -vs- Aluminum Cookware

I've seen some references to aluminum cookware not being recommended on a boat due to corrosion issues... yet we've got aluminum all over the boat... including the mast. Why would quality aluminum cookware (pots, pans, pressure cooker, stovetop percolator) kept in the cabin be so susceptible?

I know most galley sets are stainless but (my opinion) it is a hi-stick, hard-to-clean cooking surface. And I'm not into Teflon.

Last, the aluminum - Alzheimers theories have been disproven, so that is no longer a concern.

So... do you use aluminum and has it held up? Or can you provide rationale (beyond simple opinion) why I should shun aluminum (other than not using it for acidic foods)?

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Old 03-20-2011
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how about cast iron? yes its heavy but it has so many uses that you cant use normal pans for
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Old 03-20-2011
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Ditto on the cast iron. A well seasoned cast Dutch Oven is handy thing to have, and a rolled steel Wok is the best frying pan. I use stainless pots with "sandwiched" bases for boiling things, a small cast iron Dutch Oven, and a small rolled steel Wok.
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Old 03-20-2011
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The claims of stainless being hi-stick and hard to clean are not universally true. I have stainless cookware at home. Butter seems to be a better lubricant than vegetable oil. It's only slightly more effort to clean than our teflon stuff was before we swore off teflon. I clean stainless by soaking it in soapy water until it's easy to clean. Done and done. Never takes more than an hour, usually a lot less.

On the boat I have a stainless saucepan and a cast iron frying pan. They are sufficient for my needs. I bought my wife a stainless percolator, but she never comes to the boat, grumble grumble.

Cast iron is the best. After seasoning with lots of bacon fat and butter (took several weeks), it's now just as non-stick as my old teflon pans were. I wipe it down with a bit of stale bread after every use. Water has never touched it, though I hear people use hot water (no soap) sometimes, but I disapprove.
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Old 03-20-2011
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Interesting... I too am a cast iron fan for frypans and griddles... I just assumed that even if well-seasoned they can runst onboard (since one hears so much about aluminum corroding in a galley.
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Old 03-20-2011
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Different alloys and treatments. Your mast is either anodized or painted, your cookware usually isn't. There's some heavily anodized aluminum cookware (i.e. Calphalon) but that's not the same as the plain aluminum pots in the corner store. And even then, there are alloy differences. Some aluminum cookware can pinhole and perforate through if you just leave a pot of salted water in it over the weekend.

By all means use aluminum, but if it isn't heavily anodized or isn't the right alloy (sure, call the maker to check) it may have a corrosion problem in salt air.
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Old 03-21-2011
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As a former gourmet housewares buyer for a department store, the general consensus is that the best overall cookware is stainless steel with an aluminum clad bottom for eliminating hot spots. Seasoned cast iron is ideal for frying and natural non-stick applications, but the need to use a few pots & pans for many different tasks brings you back to the stainless steel as being best overall.

Mike
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Old 03-21-2011
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Aluminum is also reactive, meaning it will impart a metallic flavor to foods, particularly acidic foods. Corrosion or not, I don't like aluminum cookware as my only option. It's fine if you know what you can use it for and have another option. If choosing only one pan, I would use stainless with a bonded aluminum or copper base. I would also pass on non-stick, as I find boat pans to take much more abuse for some reason. Could be the alcohol in the cook.
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Old 03-21-2011
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Quote:
how about cast iron? yes its heavy but it has so many uses that you cant use normal pans for
Gave a cast iron pan to a buddy who lives aboard. It just rusts too quickly. Didn't last a week on his boat. I suppose it would work if he kept it properly seasoned and not sitting around.
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Old 03-21-2011
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Professionally speaking I know of very few restaurant kitchen who use alluminum for their cooking pots and pans. Stainless distrubtes heat more evenly and like Minnewaska said is reactive. Make a tomatoe sauce product...store it in aluminum...sometimes it turns florescent green. The alluminiumj camn be like copper and leach into the food.

Stainless pans can be seasoned so they are non stick. It is a simple procedure of heating them red hot till they smoke on and open flame/ element with hard salt in them and then splashing it with some white vinegar. Be careful as you can get easily splattered. Let the pan cool and do not put into water. Just wipe it out. As long as the pan doesnt get a lot of soupsuds washing it will retain its seasoned properties for a while, in fact if you can wipe it out the better.

Since the invention of Caphalon/ Analon it is the pot and pans we have both at home and on the boat. The are wonderfull, distribute heat evenly, and clean marvelously. They are worth the cost and you can get them indivigually pieced as they go on sale. Caphalon has a lifetime warrenty.

Dave
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