I am long overdue getting appropriate bird-safe cookware to use around my African Grey.
I’ve wanted the Calphalon set for years. Do you know anything about it being safe? I get a little confused. I know “Teflon” is not good, but just what is meant by non-stick?
Is all “non-stick” unsafe around birds?
Thank you for your time. KATHY
Calphalon nonstick surfaces do use a PTFE (non-stick) coating.
Calphalon is Teflon free but that’s because they don’t use the Teflon brand for their coating so it’s really semantics.
Both are similar in that they use PTFE in their non-stick surfaces which is harmful to animals and humans alike to various degrees.
Your bird can die from “Teflon toxicity” or “PTFE poisoning/toxicosis.”
The poisoning is triggered by “No Stick” cookware treated with “Teflon” aka polytetrafluoroethylene.
The fumes of an overheated PTFE pan can kill a bird in minutes 3 rooms away.
That leaves 3 ways to achieve a kitchen full of bird-safe cookware, the first being “ceramic” coated cookware.
Manufacturers and marketers of ceramic coated cookware claim they are ultra-safe, with no chemicals or heavy metals and are very durable….. BUT ARE THEY?
We drilled down to find out.
Consider this your ultimate guide to the safety, ease of use and durability of non-stick ceramic coated cookware.
What is Ceramic coated cookware?
Ceramic technically means ‘clay that has been fire-hardened’.
So when we talk of ceramic coated cookware, we are talking about some sort of metal (usually hard-anodized aluminum) that has been coated with a layer of ceramic.
Ceramic non-stick coatings are typically made from inorganic minerals, primarily silicon and oxygen.
Inorganic means not containing any carbon.
So does that mean it Is it PTFE and/or PFOA free?
Yes, none of these chemicals are used in the manufacture of Ceramic coated cookware. Read more
The article is quite long so here’s the skinny:
Ceramic cookware is bird safe.
We have some ourselves.
The problem is it’s “useful life” Ceramic cookware pans last about 15% as long as Teflon cookware.
In other words for every 6 years, you have a Teflon pan, your ceramic coated pan lasts 1 year.
Leaving your second choice, the path we took – (retro) stainless (below).
A bit of a learning curve is required when cooking but stainless is bird-safe (as long as your bird is not in the kitchen when you are cooking) and lasts forever.
The big issue with stainless steel is that food can stick.
This is usually due to overheating the pans, learning to cook at lower temperatures makes all the difference.
You can season a stainless pan to make it non stick by seasoning it properly as seen in the video below.
They also can be seasoned for cooking eggs, etc. Read up on the care of stainless steel cookware online and learn to enjoy cooking again. Ideally, you want 18/0 Stainless.
We’ve seen new stainless cookware sets from $300 – $800 on the web
The image above is a sample of our collection bought at resale shops and yards sales over 2 years.
We think we now have every piece (and accessory) plus some duplicates.
We think we invested no more than $150 for everything you see below.
Still working through a storage strategy at our new space
Don’t rule out number 3 – cast iron.
A well-seasoned cast-iron pan is a no-stick pan that is bird safe.
Food can get low levels of inorganic iron if the pan is not well seasoned but that has nothing to do with the issue of “fumes” that are toxic to birds.
Cast iron pans emit no toxic fumes.
Cast iron pans will last a millennium.
They require your due diligence but cook quite nicely when dealt with properly as explained in the video below.
written by Mitch Rezman
approved by Catherine Tobsing
your zygodactyl footnote