Stainless steel waterless cookware is rapidly attracting a wide and informed audience-the choice of most celebrity chefs on major network programs-seen in TV infomercials, covered by newspapers and cooking journals, found at state fair and in-home demonstrations. The internet provides a cornucopia of informative articles, user ratings and testimonials (browse search terms like Waterless Cookware principles, fundamentals, characteristics, performance, nonstick, non-toxic for example).
Reasons for today’s waterless cooking revival are numerous and important to know. But recognize that waterless cooking is actually old news, a simpler, easier, old-fashioned way of cooking healthy, nutrient-rich, wholesome meals. Flavors that once billowed in the savory air of Grandma’s kitchen are being reborn and revisited in kitchens throughout America. For those old enough to remember, baking was once a stove top practice.
What’s new today is the way we cook-micro-waved highly processed foods or excessive oils, fats and high heat for frying and broiling-cooking practices requiring nonstick coatings like Teflon® or ceramics that harmfully crack, peel, flake, erode and fume into meals. Today, fresh vegetables are often boiled–70% of nutrient value is then poured down the drain with the waste water.
Waterless cooking retains 98% of vegetable nutrients. We know nature’s minerals are the catalysts of health-without a consistent variety of minerals in the diet, vitamins can’t be readily absorbed. In Grandma’s kitchen, healthful minerals, vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants were plentiful and retained.
Yet even in Grandma’s day, there were concerns about nutrition. Dr. Northern and colleagues detailed findings of mineral and vitamin deficiencies in vegetables grown on emerging ‘factory farms’ in the 1930’s (search Document 264 of June 1936 presented on the floor of the United States Senate). Mineral deficient diets are a major contributing factor to ‘modern’ diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and depression. Today, childhood diabetes affects one in four children in the USA-one in 50 in 1980, rare in 1930.
If nutritional values were of concern in 1930, imagine what’s happened since. USDA findings (see USDA Nutritional Values of Fruits and Vegetables published October 2001) compared 1975 nutrient values of various fresh produce to those of sample 2000 crops (a few comparisons):
- Apples-vitamin A down 50%
- Sweet Peppers-vitamin C down 31%
- Watercress-iron down 88%
- Broccoli-calcium and vitamin A down 50%
- Cauliflower-vitamin C down 45%, B1 down 48%, B2 down 47%
- Collard Greens-vitamin A down 45%, potassium down 60%, magnesium down 85%
A recent update to the FDA pyramid of a balanced diet now recommends five servings of fruit and vegetable daily-for good reason. Value these precious nutrients by retaining them in meal preparation (search cooking vegetables with waterless cookware for easy, efficient tips).
Critical to a healthy body and mind is a revival of healthy cooking and farming methods. Support local fruit and vegetable growers practicing soil ecology, replenishment and sustainability, choose fruits and veggies in season, scout organic and free range outlets and be informed about the value of waterless cooking and the waterless cookware that makes it possible. We are, after all, only as healthy as what we eat.